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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:05 17th April 2011

MANSFIELD TOWN 0-0 HATTERS

The Hatters were thwarted by another heroic goalkeeping display from Mansfield goalkeeper David Grof as they had to settle for a point in a goalless draw. The stopper - who frustrated the Town in the first leg of their FA Trophy tie last month - pulled off a string of stops to keep the Town out. Mansfield rarely threatened Mark Tyler's goal and it took the hosts until the 77th minute to register a shot at goal but it ended goalless. The Town dominated the first half and should have led at the break. Amari Morgan-Smith almost profited from a mix-up in the Mansfield defence on 11 minutes and another mistake at the back from the Stags nearly allowed the same player to score four minutes later. Claude Gnakpa was a main source of promising attacks from the Town and the Frenchman orchestrated a fine move on 23 minutes when he launched a ball out to the left that saw Jake Howells cross for Alex Lawless but the midfielder could only side-foot straight at Grof. Jason Walker forced Grof into a save four minutes later when in an offside position after another fine flowing move from the visitors involving Dan Gleeson and Gnakpa. Gnakpa and Lawless saw shots blocked and saved respectively in a 30-second spell on 36 minutes as the Town continued to press before Walker headed wide from close range at the back post following Lawless' cross. Gary Brabin introduced Matthew Barnes-Homer for Morgan-Smith at half-time and the Town's top scorer almost put them ahead three minutes after the restart when his powerful shot from outside the box was beaten away by Grof. Grof then saved a low shot from Gnakpa two minutes later but the Town winger was injured in the lead up to that effort and had to be replaced by Robbie Willmott. The Mansfield goalkeeper then saved another shot from Barnes-Homer on 72 minutes from 12 yards before the doing the same to keep out a long-range daisycutter from Willmott four minutes later. Conor Higginson registered the Stags' first shot that Mark Tyler dealt with comfortably but after Lawless was again denied by Grof with a low shot with just four minutes left on the clock the hosts held out and the Hatters had to settle for a point. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Field Mill Mansfield Town 0 Luton Town 0 FULL-TIME It's all over here at Field Mill and a goalless draw it is. Reports, anaylsis, reaction, interviews and pictures to come. 90 mins + 5 - We're still playing, time is almost up. 90 mins + 2 - Half a chance for the Hatters. Mansfield gift MBH the ball who feeds Howells. His cross from the left is good and finds Walker but the striker's header just clears the crossbar. 90 mins - We've got four added minutes for someone, anyone to find a winning goal. This game is the only one which is goalless in the division. 90 mins - We're into the last minute here. 89 mins - Late pressure from the Town as they win a corner but as Mansfield half clear, Howells slices a shot high, wide and handsome. 88 mins - Two minutes left here to find a winner now. 86 mins - A sight of goal for the Town as MBH threads a ball through to Lawless who sees his toe poke saved by the body of a sprawling Grof. Then Mansfield break and Keane becomes the second visiting man in the book. 85 mins - Home stopper Grof named sponsors' man of the match. No surprises there. 83 mins - The attendance here at Field Mill is 2,203 which includes 424 shouting for Town - that's just two more than we brought here in the FA Trophy tie in March. 80 mins - Willmott becomes the first Town man in the book following an altercation with Smith down the left flank. 10 minutes left... 77 mins - First shot on goal for the Stags by Higginson on the half volley from 25 yards that Tyler catches comfortably. It was off target anyway. 76 mins - Another shot for Grof to deal with as Willmott tries his luck from 20 yards that the home stopper again parries, diving to his left. 75 mins - Confusion from the officials as Walker hunts down a throughball after he'd originally been in an offside position. After he tackles Grof the linesman then puts his flag up again. Confused? Yes we all are, including Gary Brabin. 72 mins - A chance for the Town as Barnes-Homer arrows a shot from 12 yards goalwards that Grof saves with his legs. 71 mins - Second Mansfield man in the book - Conor Higginson for a trip on Walker. 68 mins - Worth noting at this point that after 68 minutes Mark Tyler has yet to make a save. Mansfield haven't had a shot on or off target as yet. 66 mins - Mansfield have upped it since the last update - substitute Smith does well down the left to beat Gleeson but his cut-back is cleared by Murray with Mitchley lurking for a tap-in. 60 mins - Hour gone and not much to report in truth - this second half has not been particularly inspiring. Plenty of time left for that to change, though. 58 mins - Half a sniff of goal for the Hatters as Walker beats Grof to the ball before crossing to Kroca at the back post who heads over. Meanwhile Mansfield make their second change bringing on Adam Smith for Mitchley. 57 mins - First man in the book is Nix for hauling down Walker. Free-kick to the Town...which is hoofed clear by the Stags. Still goalless. 53 mins Actually it doesn't look like Claude's okay as he's been withdrawn for Robbie Willmott. Maybe a precautionary change that. 50 mins - Poor work for Grof to keep out Gnakpa's shot from the edge of the area. The Frenchman and Foster's legs collide and both require treatment. They're both okay though. 48 mins - Chance. The Hatters are continuing from where they left off in the first half. Lawless seizes on a poor Mansfield clearance and finds MBH in space 20 yards out. The substitute only has one thing in his mind - and blasts a powerful drive that Grof parries away, diving to his right. From the rebound Howells crosses low for Walker but the Stags clear. 46 mins There's one change at the break and it's for the Town. Matthew Barnes-Homer has replaced Morgan-Smith. 46 mins  Annnnnnnd we're off for the second half and it's the Town that get us underway shooting towards the 400 or so supporters from Bedfordshire. HALF-TIME The Town have been totally dominant here but, just like it was in the FA Trophy semi-final first leg here last month, they have failed to find the target. They've played some top football but it remains goalless at the break. Check back in 15 minutes for all the updates. 45 mins - Half a sniff for the Town as Lawless takes a pass from Howells and battles his way through three Mansfield players but is eventually crowded out. One minute added, by the way. 42 mins - I keep typing the word "another" I've noticed and will have to again as the Hatters have another chance. Gleeson plays in Lawless inside the right-hand channel. The midfielder then stands up a deep, deep cross to the back stick that Walker heads wide. Chance that. 37 mins - Almost another sight of goal for the Hatters as Morgan-Smith turns into the area, 16 yards out. He twists to shoot but his effort is blocked by Foster at close range. 36 mins - More chances for the Town's way. Firstly Gnakpa fires a shot goalwards that is blocked before Lawless, picking up the loose ball, tries a first time shot from 25 yards that Grof keeps out, diving to his left. 33 mins - First substitution of the afternoon is an enforced one for the Stags as Mark Preece replaces Tom Naylor who it looked as though he'd pulled a hamstring. 31 mins - Getting bored of saying this but it's another very nice move from the Town, this time down the left as Morgan-Smith keeps the ball in, cuts inside a sends a cross-cum-shot looking for Walker in the box but he's flagged offside again with Grof clattering into him in an attempt to gather. 27 mins - The ball is almost in the Mansfield net but it wouldn't have counted anyway. It's another fine move from the Town again: Gleeson and Gnakpa combine down the right. The defender arches in a wonderful cross but Walker - offside - sees a header palmed away by Grof. 23 mins - Chance. In another fine move, Gnakpa pings the ball out to Walker who feeds Howells. He hangs up a cross to the back stick where unmarked, Lawless brings the ball down, and sidefoots a shot from six yards straight at Grof. From the rebound Lawless sends a teasing cross looking for a Town man but Mansfield clear again. Reminds me of the first FA Trophy semi-final at the minute. 21 mins - End-to-end in a 30 second spell as firstly Kroca gets in the way of a goalbound shot by Stonehouse after the ball had been kept in by the corner flag before the Town break and Walker is almost in but Mansfield clear. 19 mins - Still all the Hatters and not only are they place some decent stuff they're showing some classy touches. Some are coming off, others aren't but it shows there's a confidence flowing through their veins at the minute. Gnakpa and Howells combine well but the former's cross from the right is overcooked and Mansfield are let off the hook. 15 mins - More threat from the Town and it again stems from a mix-up at the back and the pace of Morgan-Smith. Gleeson's pass down the line is missed by Steve Foster. It allows, MS to bare down on goal. However, his second touch is a tad too hot but although he toes it past Naylor, Grof is quick off his line to smother the danger. 11 mins - And then there's almost a chance as Tom Naylor, the Mansfield centre-back, directs a poor header back to goalkeeper David Grof. Morgan-Smith robs them off the ball, picking up the pieces. However, he's forced wide, takes a touch before firing a shot goalwards that is blocked with Walker screaming for a cut-back. 10 mins - 10 minutes in and neither goalkeeper has been called into action... 6 mins - Still very early here but the signs are very encouraging for the Hatters. Neat passing in the centre of midfield a particular highlight so far. 4 mins - By the way, the Hatters are lining up with Tyler in goal, Gleeson at right back, Murray at left back, Kroca and Pilkington at centre-half, Lawless and Keane in the centre of midfield, Gnakpa on the right flank, Howells on the left with Morgan-Smith and Walker in attack. 3 mins - Town on top in these early stages. Lawless and Walker combine well down the left which sees the latter send a low cross into the six yard box but before Morgan-Smith can get a toe to it, Mansfield clear the danger. 1 min - Action in the first 30 seconds as Gnakpa is hacked down, he's receiving treatment from Simon Parsell. It' a free-kick to the Hatters that Howells swings in but the hosts clear. Claude looks like he's going to be okay. 1 min Annnnnnnnnnd we're off here at Field Mill and it's Mansfield that get us underway, shooting towards the Town fans away to our left. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 14:57 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the Field Mill pitch - Mansfield in their yellow and blue shirts, the Town in their navy away colours. 14:54 WEMBLEY BOUND The hosts have revealed their ticket sales to May's FA Trophy final at Wembley have surpassed 10,000. Cue a rendition of Que Cera over the PA system... 14:51 WHAT A STRIKE! Goalkeeping coach Dmitri Kharine has just scored a sensational goal in the the warm up. Outside the area he takes it on the volley and it loops into the top corner, earning applause from the Hatters fans behind the goal and from us in the press box. 14:50 WEATHER WATCH It's a bit cloudy here in Nottinghanshire after a sunny start to the day. 14:40 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton,  Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Justin Dealey: 2-0 Luton, Ian Ryan: 2-0, Mike Simmonds: 3-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 3-1 Luton. So apparently it's going to be either a 2-0 or 3-1 win for the Town today. But what do we know? 14:31 DAMBUSTER Spelling mistake on the teamsheet and we've found ourselves a new player. At right-back for the Town this afternoon is Dam Gleeson. 14:30 TODAY'S TEAMS Mansfield Town: Grof, Silk, Foster, Nix, Briscoe, Naylor, Stonehouse, Istead, Higginson, Cain, Mitchley. Subs: Collett, Thompson, Smith, Preece, Spence. Luton Town: Tyler, Gleeson, Murray, G. Pilkington, Keane, Morgan-Smith, Kroca, Lawless, Howells, Gnakpa, Walker. Subs: K. Pilkington, Newton, Barnes-Homer, Willmott, Carden. 14:25 THREE CHANGES Dan Gleeson, Amari Morgan-Smith and Keith Keane are in for Adam Newton, Robbie Willmott and Paul Carden. 14:20 MATCHDAY MUSIC Don't Stop Believing by Journey currently being played over the PA system. Team news not with us yet, by the way. 14:10 SUCCESS TO START WITH The Hatters' Under-18s have won again. Jon Desouza's side have beaten Barnet in the Youth Alliance 4-1. With two goals from Ryan Dasilva and one from Alasan Ann and Jean-Phillippe Yamfam. 14:00 DIFFERENT PRIORITIES The last time the Town met Mansfield it all ended in tears. In cruel fashion the Stags secured a trip to Wembley in the two's semi-final second leg meeting in the FA Trophy. Today the Hatters take on Mansfield with a different, more important priority: league points. Not that that's going to be easy given their record at Field Mill in recent years - they've not won here since 1989. Victory for the Town could see them confirm their play-off place should other results go there way. Well once more, as ever, win, lose or draw this afternoon, 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 Gary Brabin 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 Gary 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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