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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
07:36 28th March 2011

SOUTHPORT 2-1 HATTERS

Southport staged a remarkable late comeback to stun the Town and end their six-match unbeaten run. The relegation threatened hosts enjoyed the lions' share of the first period as the Hatters struggled to get to grips with the Sandgrounders' diamond formation. John-Paul Kissock, a constant menace throughout the game, was at the heart of most of the hosts' attacking play and fine play from the former Everton trainee in the sixth minute saw Karl Ledsham strike the post inside the six yard box. The Sandgrounders continued to boss possession but without troubling Mark Tyler whilst the Town were restricted to half chances at best in an forgettable first half that saw Richard Money haul off Luke Graham and Claude Gnakpa in favour of Danny Crow and Amari Morgan-Smith. Southport continued from where they left off as they started the second 45 minutes but despite dominating could not force Tyler into a meaningful save. Money made his third change of the afternoon on 66 minutes when Lloyd Owusu made way for Dan Walker and within nine minutes the substitute helped put the Town in front. The striker, playing out on the right wing sped down the flank and crossed low for Morgan-Smith whose instant lay-off found Matthew Barnes-Homer who rifled a fine low finish past Tony McMillan in the home goal. The Hatters thought they should have had a penalty on 79 minutes when Earl Davis sent both Morgan-Smith and Barnes-Homer tumbling in the box but three minutes after their appeals were waved away Southport equalised. Shaun Whalley whipped in a right-wing cross and captain Alan Moogan was on hand, unmarked in the Hatters penalty area, to head past Tyler. As the game finally sprung into life the Town should have retaken the lead two minutes later when a Morgan-Smith shot from an acute angle was spilled by McMillan but Crow, with the goal gaping, failed to convert. That miss ultimately proved costly four minutes later and two minutes from time when more slack defending from the Hatters from a set-piece saw right-back Kevin Lee to steal in unmarked at the back-post to send a header past Tyler to complete the turnaround and leave the visitors pointless. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Haig Avenue Southport 2 (Moogan 82, Lee 88) Luton Town 1 (Barnes-Homer 75) FULL-TIME It's all over here. A quite remarkable comeback from the Sandgrounders leaves the Town pointless. Reaction, photos and more to come. 90 mins + 3 - We're inside the last minute of injury time. 90 mins - Three added minutes here for an equaliser. Incredible turn around here. 88 mins  GOAL SOUTHPORT 2-1 Town - Oh disaster for Town. A left-wing cross is flicked on by McNeil and there's right-back KEVIN LEE stealing in unmarked at the back-post unnoticed to nod past Tyler. Incredible. 87 mins - Time ticking down here now and Tyler makes a great reaction save to deny a towering Davis header but it wouldn't have counted anyway, the man in the middle had blown for a foul. 84 mins - Should be 2-1 Town. Morgan-Smith drives a shot from a ridiculous narrow angle that McMillan can only parry. The ball runs free to Crow but his follow-up his blocked by the keeper from close range. Unbelievable. 82 mins  GOAL SOUTHPORT 1-1 Town - Uh, oh the lead has lasted seven minutes as a right-wing cross finds Southport captain ALAN MOOGAN who unmarked steers a head past an exposed Tyler. 79 mins - Penalty appeals for the Town as Davis bundles over both MBH and AMS but the ref's not interested. Meanwhile double change for the hosts with their star man Kissock and Ledsham withdrawn for Tony Gray and Paul Barratt. 78 mins - Shot for Tyler to deal with as he gets down to catch a shot from the edge of the area from Aaron Turner. 75 mins  GOOOOOOAL! Southport 0-1 TOWN - Well there's no doubt Walker has made a difference. He races down the right and sends a low cross to Morgan-Smith whose lay-off his met first time by MATTHEW BARNES-HOMER who fires a super low shot beyond McMillan from 14 yards. Get in! 73 mins - Sustained period of pressure from the hosts but after the ball is knocked back and forth it eventually falls to centre-back Earl Davis who whacks a first time volley out of the ground. 70 mins - 20 left now for either side to break the deadlock. 68 mins - Good right wing raid from Walker but it's easy pickings for McMillan in the Southport goal. 67 mins - Looks as though Walker is on the right flank with Barnes-Homer in a more central role. Crow is in behind the strikers whilst Morgan-Smith is on the left. 66 mins  Now he can come on after a stoppage in play and indeed it's Walker for Owusu. 63 mins - Half a chance for Southport, but nothing to worry about as Whalley crashes a shot wide of the target from the right-hand side of the penalty area. Walker still waiting to come on, we think it's going to be for Owusu. 62 mins - The attendance here at Haig Avenue is 1,659. No official figure yet on the away support. 60 mins - Almost a chance for the hosts as MBH is dispossessed. With Kroca upfield after he'd joined the attack captain Moogan drives forward and lets fly with a shot from 20 yards that is blocked by Pilkington. Meanwhile, looks as though Dan Walker is going to join the fray. 57 mins - Change on the field for the Town as Morgan-Smith and Barnes-Homer swap flanks. MBH on the right, AMS is down the left. 53 mins - Again, not much to report here. By the way, Robbie Willmott is missing today because he has a groin injury. He is he at Haig Avenue sitting with Jason Walker, Graham and Gnakpa in the stands. 49 mins - More decent stuff and again it's from that livewire Kissock who slaloms his way into the box after combining well with Ledsham down the left to fire into the side netting from four yards. 47 mins - Almost a chance for Southport at the start of this second half as Whalley finds himself in space but his cross-cum-shot from the left edge of the penalty area cannot be reached by McNeil or anyone else in yellow. 46 mins Annnnd we're away for the second half as Southport resume the action with the Town now kicking to their 500 or so fans away to our left. No changes for either side at the break, by the way. HALF-TIME Referee Clark calls time on the first half and it's goalless here at Haig Avenue in a first 45 minutes that the hosts have dominated. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. 45 mins - We've got one minute added time at the end of the first 45 minutes. 42 mins - As the Town press for a goal before the break MBH shoots on the turn from the edge of the area but his effort is blocked. 41 mins Morgan-Smith is on in the place of Gnakpa, who heads straight down the tunnel. 40 mins - Iffy play at the back for the hosts but it's nothing to get excited about as the two centre halfs get in a pickle. 39 mins - Looks like Morgan-Smith is coming on... 37 mins - The Town have upped it since Crow's introduction. He does well to set-up Gnakpa down the right but after the Frenchman is dispossessed Southport break but after patient build-up play Shaun Whalley shots well, well wide turning in the box. 33 mins  Early change here for the Hatters and Graham's afternoon is over and he's replaced by Danny Crow. He joins Owusu in attack, Barnes-Homer drops to left wing and Newton scuttles back to right back. 32 mins - Better from the Town as Gnakpa dances past two Port players before laying the ball off to Owusu who runs into the channel but can't force across from the right across goal. 28 mins - Almost half a sniff for the Town as Gnakpa plays a defence-splitting pass that Owusu thinks about latching onto but doesn't thinking he's half a yard offside. 24 mins - Not much more to tell you about, but then Kissock receives the ball 20 yards out and volleys an ambitious effort way over Tyler's crossbar causing a few Town fans to duck for cover. 20 mins - Yet more pressure from the Sandgrounders and Kroca has to do very well to get one of his long legs in the way of a goalbound cross by Ledsham to concede a corner with McNeil lurking. 18 mins - More pressure from the hosts, all stemming from clever play from Kissock. McNeil does well down the left to set-up Kissock to cross. The ball comes back to him after it's half-cleared before McGinn's shot is cleared for a corner that the Town eventually get rid of. 15 mins - Luke Graham now has cotton wool stuffed up his nostrils following that earlier knock. 13 mins - Work for Tyler to do as he tips away a dangerous Ledsham corner from the right. Southport on top here at the minute. 11 mins - Richard Money's just had a word with Keith Keane on the touchline. My hearing's not great so I can't tell you what was said. 9 mins - A bit of possession from the Town as they respond down the left as Newton, Howells and MBH link-up well. It results in a long throw from Newton causing confusion with Kroca making a nuisance of himself before it's that man Kissock who can clear acrobatically. 6 mins - CHANCE. And the hosts are a lick of paint away from taking the lead. Kissock, who looks a nifty customer, opens up the Town defence with a super pass that finds Karl Ledsham free in the penalty box. 10 yards out, Tyler is out to meet him but the home man rolls his shot wide of the goalkeeper and sees it rebound off the outside of the post and away to safety. Phew. 5 mins - Half-hearted appeal from Matty McNeil for handball against Pilkington - nowt given. 3 mins - Graham's okay now and after receiving treatment from Simon Parsell, is back on the field. 2 mins - Almost a scare for the Town as Graham concedes a foul but comes off worse for wear with what looks like a bloody nose. John-Paul Kissock floats in a free-kick from the left that Owusu heads clear. The ball eventually finds Kissock once more but after a fancy bit of footwork his cross is poor. 2 mins - So the Town are lining-up as you'd probably expect: Tyler in goal, Graham at right back, Howells at left back, Pilkington and Kroca centre backs, Newton left wing, Gnakpa right wing, Keane and Carden in the middle with Owusu and MBH up top. 1 min  Annnnnd we're off here at Haig Avenue and it's the Town who kick-off shooting away from their supports, to our right as we look. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 14:55 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the Haig Avenue pitch (which is looking in good nick). The Town are in their navy blue shirts, Southport in their yellow and blackk halves. 14:52 BIG FLAG A huge flag is currently being unveiled in the away end. Town support in good spirits and have travelled in big numbers again. 14:45 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 3-1 Luton, Ian Pearce: 3-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 3-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton, Ian Ryan: 1-0 Luton, Bill Cole 2-0 Luton. 14:40 ON THIS DAY On 26th March the Town have won eight, drawn five and lost seven in the 20 games played. You have to go back to 1995 until the last game on this date: a 1-1 draw with Watford at Kenilworth Road. The last victory was back in 1977 when Carlisle United were beaten 5-0 at Kenilworth Road. 14:30 SAFETY IN NUMBERS The stats pages show Histon brought no supporters here for match on Tuesday 1st March. 14:20 THE TEAMS Southport: McMillan, Lee, McGinn, Davis, Marsh, Marsh-Davis, Moogan, Turner, Ledsham, McNeil, Whalley, Kissock. Subs: Williams, Gray, Barratt, Blakeman, Dickinson. Luton Town: Tyler, Graham, G. Pilkington, Kroca, Howells, Newton, Keane, Carden, Gnakpa, Barnes-Homer, Owusu. Subs: K. Pilkington, Morgan-Smith, Crow, D. Walker, Poku. Ref: R. Clark. 14:15 THREE CHANGES Luke Graham, Lloyd Owusu and Claude Gnakpa in for Danny Crow, Amari Morgan-Smith and Robbie Willmott. Teams to follow. 14:10 WATCH OUT An unaware supporter is almost knocked out by a rogue flying football as it heads towards the Main Stand. Goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington shouts "heads" but they go unnoticed and the ball bounces a seat away from impact. 13:30 WEATHER WATCH Overcast, grey but mild here in Southport. You get the feeling the sun wants to show itself but it seems it's just not interested. 12:00 NEVER GIVE UP Blue Square Bet, the Conference sponsors, may have paid out on Crawley Town winning the title but while the Town couldn't give two losing betting slips, the fact remains that with 11 games to go Richard Money's side are 14 points behind the Red Devils with a game in hand. Never give up. This afternoon both sides are on the road making long trips north. For the Red Devils it's Gateshead at the International Stadium while the Town set foot in Southport for the first time since a 3-0 victory back in September 1969. Unbeaten in six league games (three wins and three draws) since the defeat to Fleetwood Town at Kenilworth Road, the Hatters have slowly but surely resurrected their title chances while cementing their place in the Play-Offs. Bizarrely the Town will be meeting the Sandgrounders for the first time this season. Promoted as Blue Square North champions last season, the hosts will be looking for three points to ease their relegation fears - as it stands they lie just a point above the dropzone. Anyone thinking that it will be easy at Haig Avenue this afternoon should think again. Most, if not all clubs, in the division have points to play for making it one of the most competitive seasons at this level in years. But as the boss said a week ago - nothing is impossible, you've just got to keep believing. Well once more, as ever, win, lose or draw this evening lutontown.co.uk will be following every step of the way. As usual we'll have all the goals and incidents as it happens live with the usual news in the run-up to kick-off with team line-ups and plenty of chat as your official website has, as ever, the usual updates keeping you bang up-to-date with all the action - and in a number of ways. There's none of those boring ball-by-ball "defensive thrown-in taken by Luton left-back" updates as we continue to and bring you an updated and detailed text commentary. This is a great way to keep in touch and has been popular to those supporters not able to get to a computer or a radio as the service is also available and is updated live on our fantastic mobile site. Check it out if you're on the move @ http://mobile.lutontown.co.uk On Hatters Player you all have access to our live commentary. Remember, Player is available as ever which means you all have access to our live commentary. If you haven't heard it yet then where you have been? It's still brought to you by Simon "Statto" Pitts but he's got company this time! The DiverseFM team have collaborated with BBC Three Counties radio and the Club to bring you the Luton Town Show. Following the final whistle we'll have all the reaction from the men that matter this after, bringing you exclusive video content from Richard Money and from the dressing room. We'll have plenty of content to keep you interested as we'll have all of the post-match reaction from Richard as well as match action from Gareth Owen to follow after the final whistle. Be sure to check out www.hatterspics.co.uk - our online image library. Like a picture you see and fancy having that on a mug? Well, fancy no more - with Hatters Pics it's a reality. Remember, we want you to get in touch. Join the updates and get in touch. Email andrew.barringer@lutontown.co.uk and we'll pick the best comments to go live on the site during our live updates. Don't forget we're also on twitter and Facebook so feel free to interact with your fellow fans online. Enjoy the game. COYH!
 
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