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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
13:10 4th May 2011

TOWN 1-1 WREXHAM

Jason Walker's penalty two minutes from time earned the Town a deserved point in the dress rehearsal of this play-off meeting with Wrexham. Gary Brabin made five changes to the side that beat Histon whilst opposite number Dean Saunders made 11 and named a substitutes bench made up completely of first year scholars. After Marc Williams had gone close on 10 minutes the Dragons took the lead three minutes later when Williams poked a pass across goal and Louis Moss tapped home from a yard out. Despite being a goal down the Town were bossing possession and creating plenty of chances and Dan Walker's low shot whistling past the post on 15 minutes as they looked for a instant response. Walker had a glorious chance to equalise on 31 minutes but he skied a difficult opportunity when the ball dropped to him 25 yards out with the goalkeeper off his line. Jamie Tolley came close to making it 2-0 three minutes later when blasting a strike from distance that flew wide. Three minutes later Walker and Robbie Willmott combined well that saw the former twice go close to making it one apiece. Declan Walker - the Wrexham defender - had to be alert to head away the danger as the Hatters hunted an equaliser before the break with Willmott's cross almost finding Lloyd Owusu for a tap-in. The Town started the second half well and Matthew Barnes-Homer forced Joslain Mayebi into a smart stop on 50 minutes before the striker volleyed over eight minutes later after Zdenek Kroca had chested down a Willmott cross into his path. Substitute Adam Watkins saw a sweetly hit low shot tipped around the post by Mayebi on 62 minutes but the Hatters had Mark Tyler to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 when he made a crucial save with his legs to deny Williams. Another substitute - defender Alex Lacey - came close to making it 1-1 when he headed straight at Mayebi when left unmarked at the back-post on 69 minutes before the visiting goalkeeper kept out a stinging effort from Adam Newton a minute later. But as time ticked down, and as it looked as though the Town would fall to a defeat, Dan Walker was hauled down by Anthony Stephens in the box and Jason Walker converted the penalty to earn the hosts a point. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Luton Town 1 (J. Walker 88 (pen)) Wrexham 1 (Moss 13) Result FULL-TIME It's all over here and a point has been earned in the final game of the regular season. Stay tuned for reaction, interviews, pictures. COYH! 90 mins + 3 - Almost a second for Jason Walker, a high cross hung up by Asafu-Adjaye, nodded straight at Mayebi by the little striker. A minute left... 90 mins - Fancy a winner? There's four minutes added to find one. 89 mins - Oh what a chance for the Dragons to restore their lead, youngster Rob Salathiel heading over with the goal gaping from six yards. 88 mins  GOOOOOOOAL! TOWN 1-1 Wrexham - After Dan Walker had been felled by Anthony Stephens JASON WALKER steps up and rifles the resultant penalty straight down the middle. No more than the Hatters have deserved. 87 mins - PENALTY TO LUTON - Dan Walker fouled 85 mins - Five minutes left to play now. 83 mins - Seven minutes left and still the Town press in the early evening sunshine. They deserve a point given their efforts in this second half. 80 mins - Almost a sniff for 1-1. MBH plays Dan Walker in down the right. Walker gives it back to Barnes-Homer who in turn lays the ball off to Watkins who strikes the ball well but he sees his effort blocked by a Wrexham defender. 10 to go now. 75 mins - 15 minutes left. Still the Town press and still the Hatters faithful sing their hearts out. Been a good effort from all in this second half. 73 mins Third and final change for the Hatters as Jason Walker replaces Owusu. 70 mins - More work for the visiting stopper as Newton lets fly from 20 yards with a snap-shot that Mayebi parries up into the sky before claiming at the second attempt under pressure a clutch of Town men. 69 mins - Oh almost a dream start for the youngster. Watkins curls in a cross from the left and unmarked and unnoticed by the visiting defence at the back post Lacey steals in but heads straight Mayebi who tips over. 67 mins Second change of the evening for the Town as Pilkington is withdrawn for Alex Lacey, on for his league debut. 63 mins - The loud and party atmosphere from the Hatters faithful is almost silenced and it takes a great safe by the legs of Tyler to keep it 1-0 as he bravely sticks out a leg to stop Williams' shot from five yards. 62 mins - Atmosphere inside Kenilworth Road is bouncing and the players are responding. MBH finds Watkins down the left and he drills a low shot that Mayebi must get a glove on to divert it away as the referee signals for a corner. Whipped in from Walker from the right, Newton sees his near-post header tipped over by the Wrexham stopper. 58 mins First chance of the evening for the Town as Adam Watkins replaces Willmott. 58 mins - Almost a chance for 1-1 as Willmott pings in a cross from the right which is chested down by Kroca but MBH fires over on the volley. 56 mins - The attendance here at Kenilworth Road this evening is 6,443 which includes 232 in the away end shouting for the visitors. 52 mins - Another shot at goal for the Hatters - this time a sliced drive from 25 yards from Poku that drifts five yards wide of the target. 50 mins - A slow start to this second period but then all of a sudden there's a chance for the Town. MBH flicks on a long pass from Graham that Willmott takes on his chest. The winger advances into the box before letting rip with a low shot that Mayebi holds on to at the second attempt. 46 mins Annnnd we're off again for the second half as Wrexham kick-off. The Town are attacking the Kenilworth Road end. No changes for either side at the break. HALF-TIME And that's the break here at a sunny Kenilworth Road. In a game low on quality the Hatters find themselves a goal behind - a goal scored by the visitors' chairman's son. Check back 15 minutes for the second half, won't you? 45 mins + 3 - Decent chance for the Town to go in level at the break as after patient build-up play Willmott gets the ball at his feet 20 yards from goal and lets fly with a low shot that Mayebi has to keep out, diving to his right. 45 mins - Crucial header from Wrexham's Walker - Declan - as he heads away underneath his own crossbar with Owusu almost certain to head home a terrific cross from Willmott from the left. Pressure is rising again. We've got four added minutes to play. 44 mins - A minute to the break but despite seeing plenty of the ball the Town haven't really done much with it. Brabs might read the riot act the break. 41 mins - Walker and Asafu-Adjaye have done well linking up down the left and they do so again this time - the defender robbing Williams of the ball before racing forward and finding the Town number 29. However Walker's cross, looking for Owusu and MBH isn't great and the ball eventually drifts harmessly out of play. 39 mins - More good stuff from Walker down the left beating two men before picking out Barnes-Homer well with a square pass but the striker's first touch isn't the best which allows the Dragons to clear. 37 mins - Almost an equaliser to celebrate as MBH sends Willmott flying down the left. The winger looks up and spots Owusu and Walker in the box and picks out the latter with a fine ball that the man playing left midfield can't quite guide home. Wrexham half-clear back to Willmott who bends in a lovely left-footed cross again to Walker but he heads two yards wide of the target. Better. 34 mins - Tolley certainly fancies his chances from distances and he goes close to making it 2-0 with a free-kick from the left-hand edge of the penalty that arrowed goalwards and drifted only a yard wide of Tyler's left-hand post. Good hit. 31 mins - Ooh, I know those are tough, touch chances to take but it is a decent opportunity for Walker to bring the scores level as he gets the ball at his feet 25 yards out with the goal gaping after keeper Mayebi had committed himself out of the penalty to head clear under pressure from Barnes-Homer. However, Walker skies his effort over the crossbar. 30 mins - Asafu-Adjaye's having a fine game at left back at the minute and after coming out of a 50/50 challenge hobbling he gets up to send in a right-footed cross that MBH heads straight at Mayebi but it wouldn't have counted anyway, the striker was offside. 27 mins - Half a chance for the visitors double their lead as Jamie Tolley blasts a free-kick from 25 yards against the Hatters' wall after Poku had fouled the Dragons' captain. 26 mins - Lengthily stoppage in play here as visiting defender Lee Fowler receives treatment. He's stretchered off and has been replaced by rookie Steve Tomassen. 22 mins - The Hatters are enjoying plenty of the ball but just not quite doing a lot with it at the minute. Walker wins a corner down the left that he takes. The ball is half-cleared by the visitors to Poku 20 yards out but the midfielder slices a shot wide. 20 mins - Twenty on the clock gone and the Town find themselves a goal down with the only real chance the visitors' have created. It's not the most entertaining spectacle so far if I'm totally honest. 16 mins - Another half-chance for the Hatters. Kroca picks out Owusu with a slick long pass. The striker's touch finds Barnes-Homer down the right but the Town's top goalscorer's first-time effort is only threatening the Kenilworth Road scoreboard. 15 mins - As the Town try to respond Walker sends a daisycutter skimming off the turf just wide of Mayebi's right hand post. 13 mins  GOAL! Town 0-1 WREXHAM - They might have made 11 changes and have their youth team on the bench but that makes no difference here as the visitors lead. Williams wriggles past Pilkington and pokes a shot goalwards. It looks as though it's going to head wide but there's the Wrexham chairman's son LOUIS MOSS to tap home from a yard out. 0-1. 10 mins - Half a sight of goal for the visitors as they make a break down the left. The ball finds its way to Marc Williams who guides an effort towards goal with the outside of his boot. For a second it looks dangerous before it drops easily for Tyler who can collect. 7 mins - Dan Walker - on his first ever league start - is keen to get on the ball and then he has a chance to use his lightening pace down the left after taking a pass from Owusu. He's got plenty of grass ahead of him and bursts into the penalty area but Wrexham manage to get a foot in and clear the danger. 4 mins - I'll be honest with you I'm not quite sure how formation the Hatters are playing at the minute but Willmott is on the right, Walker on the left with Owusu and Barnes-Homer in attack. Newton and Poku are in central midfield. I've just answered by own question there. Make it 442 with Graham at right-back, Pilkington and Kroca centre halves and Asafu-Adjaye at left-back. 3 mins - Almost half a sniff for the Town early doors as Joslain Mayebi gathers a goalbound header from Owusu following Asafu-Adjaye's left-wing cross. 1 mins - Great colour and noise inside Kenilworth Road tonight. Wrexham have brought around 250 with them from North Wales. There's still not a cloud in the sky but there's a gusty wind. 1 min Annnnnnd we're off ladies and gentleman, boys and girls as the final game of the regular season kick-offs with the Town starting this game shooting towards the Oak Road End. 17:16 RIP ALLAN BROWN Superb minute's applause observed by both sets of supporters and players for the late Allan Brown. 17:13 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides on the superb Kenilworth Road surface, the Town in orange, Wrexham in all royal blue. 17:10 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-1 Luton, Justin Dealey: 2-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 1-1 draw, Bill Cole: 3-0 Luton. 17:00 AWARDS FOR DUO Mark Tyler has been presented with the Loyal Luton Town Supporters' Club player of the year award whilst George Pilkington has collected the Bobbers Travel Club's away player of the season gong. Well done to both. 16:50 LONG QUEUES There are big queues outside the ticket office as the Town faithful snap up their home and away Play-Off tickets. Some could miss kick-off. 16:45 ON THIS DAY The Town's record on 30th April reads eight wins, seven defeats and five draws from the 20 games played. The Hatters are unbeaten in their last three on this date - the last a 1-1 draw at Burnley in the Championship in 2006 in front of 12,473 at Turf Moor. Back in 1969 the Town saw off local rivals Watford 2-1 with goals from Ian Buxton and Keith Allan before 25,253 at Kenilworth Road. 16:35 VICIOUS RUMOUR There's a rumour about town that the Wrexham first team have gone to St. Lucia on holiday. I've been told this is not the case, even though the visitors have made 11 changes. 16:28 THE TEAMS Luton Town: Tyler, Graham, G. Pilkington, Kroca, Asafu-Adjaye, Newton, Willmott, Poku, D. Walker, Owusu, Barnes-Homer. Subs: J. Walker, Lacey, O'Donnell, Watkins, K. Pilkington. Wrexham: Mayebi, Andrews, Brown, Williams, Hunt, Ciezlewicz, Tolley, McMillan, Walker, Fowler, Moss. Subs: Tomassen, Owen, Colbeck, Salathiel, Stephens. All five Wrexham subs are scholars. 16:25 FIVE CHANGES Mark Tyler, George Pilkington, Godfrey Poku, Dan Walker and Lloyd Owusu all start against Wrexham. Full teams to followl. Wrexham have made 11 changes. 15:45 DRIVING OFF One player who surely can't be playing tonight is Alex Lawless. I've just waved goodbye to him in the car park. Unless he's forgotten his shinpads. 15:30 WEATHER WATCH Not a cloud in the sky, the sun is shining in LU4. 14:40 HIGH FIVE! The Town's Under-18s ended their season today with a 5-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge. A hat-trick from Ryan Dasilva and a brace from Jean-Philippe Yamfam did the business. 14:30 DRESS REHEARSAL William and Kate are now married, the Royal Wedding is over. Friday's much-talked about news story has been and gone and attention in the minds of the supporters of the Town and Wrexham turns to the Play-Offs. But before that, like the newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Hatters and the Dragons will meet this evening at Kenilworth Road ahead of their semi-final double header that kicks-off next Thursday at the Racecourse. Just like William and Kate's dress rehearsal, the Town and Wrexham's meeting today will be nothing like the main event yet just as important. Admittedly there will be no romance. Far from it. Instead of kisses on the balcony and smiling faces the three games between the two clubs will be full of blood, sweat, and - for one - tears. Both Gary Brabin and Dean Saunders face the unenviable task of trying to pick a team for the evening's dress rehearsal. Here is where any similarity - if there ever was anyway - of a royal wedding ends. As Brabin told the press on Thursday his options are open. The decision of juggling the need to keep his senior stars wrapped in cotton wool away from injury ahead of the two games that matter needs to be balanced with the need to please the fans and to keep a winning mentality. You can also throw in getting one over the team you're due to play twice in the space of a week. Football's a funny old game and that's why we love it. Unpredictable, you just never know what's going to unfold before your eyes. Win, lose or draw tonight, you could say whatever happens will have no bearing on what happens in the two-legged semi-final clash. Then again, it might. You just don't know... 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 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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