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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
11:16 24th September 2010

HATTERS 3-0 AFC WIMBLEDON

The Hatters notched their second successive win to go second in the table after an impressive victory over league leaders AFC Wimbledon.

In front of the live television cameras the Dons were the brightest to start, testing Mark Tyler as early as the first minute but the Town gradually settled and they came within a whisker of taking the lead in the eighth minute when Matthew Barnes-Homer's bicycle kick came back off the post.

Still Richard Money's men pushed forward and their fine football was eventually rewarded on 23 minutes when captain George Pilkington shrugged off his marker to head home Andy Drury's left wing corner for his second goal of the season.

Buoyed by that chance Drury, Jake Howells and Taiwo Atieno all had chances before the Town doubled their lead seven minutes before the break.

Freddie Murray hurled in a huge throw-in from the left-flank and Czech centre-half Zdenek Kroca guided a near post header past Wombles goalkeeper Seb Brown.

Wimbledon woke-up towards the end of the first half though and twice came agonisingly close to pulling a goal back.

Firstly Steven Gregory cracked an effort off top of the crossbar while on 41 minutes Tyler made a terrific stop to thwart Danny Kedwell in a contender for save of the season.

However, the Hatters started the second half well and found their third goal of the night four minutes after the interval.

Claude Gnakpa did well to reach the ball, playing it into the bath of Atieno who immediately squared to strike-partner Barnes-Homer fired home from the edge of the area for his sixth goal of the season to give the Town breathing space.

Chances continued to fall for both sides, mostly notably for the visitors with Tyler again coming to the rescue.

In front of a season's best crowd of 7,283 the Hatters goalkeeper pulled off an excellent diving save to prevent Sam Hattons' ferocious free-kick from making it 3-1 but in the end the Town held onto record a comfortable victory.

For minute-by-minute analysis see below.


Result from Kenilworth Road

Luton Town 3 (G. Pilkington 23, Kroca 38, Barnes-Homer 49)
AFC Wimbledon 0
Full-time

FULL-TIME whistleLUTON TOWN 3-0 AFC WIMBLEDON - Three goals, three points, second place. All the reaction and photos to come. Get in!
90 mins - Half a chance for the Town as Kroca blasts over from close range.
90 mins - Three additional minutes to play here at Kenilworth Road.
88 mins - Two minutes left - time for fourth? Hope not, I've gone for 3-0 in the pre-match predictions!
85 mins SubstituteOff comes MBH for Dan Walker (the fourth official had originally indicated the Atieno was going off - Richard Money wasn't happy!).
84 mins - More easy pickings for Tyler as he catches a Yakubu header. Can the Hatters find a fourth? Meanwhile, activity in on the home bench...
81 mins - Almost 4-0 as the Town push for another one to top off this excellent display. Great link-up play between Drury and Gnakpa sees MBH see a shot deflected with the rebound falling to Drury but the ball doesn't drop kindly and the the winger can't get enough purchase o the ball to guide a shot past Brown. Unlucky.
78 mins - If the Hatters go onto record another clean sheet it will be down to Tyler as he pulls of a third top save of the night. This time Hatton is the Dons player cursing his luck after the goalkeeper paws away his arrowing free-kick from 25 yards.
76 mins - Good wing play from Claude down the right but the cross, whipped in low, is gathered by Brown. By the way, there are 633 shouting for the Dons.
73 mins - Huge shouts for a penalty at the Kenilworth Road as Gnakpa goes through on goal. It looks like Harris was the offender but neither the ref or assistant haven't seen anything and nowt's given.
71 mins - Blackman's in the book for the Dons as he takes down Newton after the Town right-back went on a rampaging run forward. The attendance is 7,283. The biggest of the season so far this season therefore the largest in the BSBP.
68 mins - More work for Tyler but it's a simple catch this time as he's in the right place to gather Yakubu's header from close range.
64 mins - The visitors have upped it and force Tyler into action as Wellard's volley following Kedwell's intelligent chest past is parried by the Town stopper.
59 mins - The Dons need to do something and fast and Terry Brown makes his second change in three minutes introducing the wonderfully named Ricky Wellard on for Jolley.
58 mins - Cries of handball from the Dons' contingent in the Oak as Jolley plays the ball off Newton but the ref's not seen it and therefore no pen.
56 mins - Activity on the visitors' bench as Minshull makes well for Yussuff.
53 mins - Half a sniff for the Hatters' fourth of the night but Pilks' header loops well wide following Newton's right-wing cross.
51 mins - Yep, Kenilworth Road is loud. Very loud at the minute. And so it should be.
49 mins GOAL! GOAL! HATTERS 3-0 Dons - Well that's the third just four minutes into the second half and what a goal. Gnakpa does well to poke the ball to Atieno who plays a first time pass square to MBH 18 yards from goal. He turns and fires a low shot that bounces beyond Brown for his sixth goal of the season to bring the house down. Fantastic.
47 mins - Even start to - even if we're just two minutes in - but Atieno puts pressure on centre-half Harris inside his own penalty area. The Hatters' striker almost gets it but Harris eventually, much to his relieve, clears.
46 mins whistleAnnnnnnnd we're off for the second period as the Dons kick-off. The Hatters are now attacking a packed Kenilworth Road end. No changes for either side at the interval. COYH!
HALF-TIME whistleHATTERS 2-0 DONS - What a great first 45 minutes of football and it's two defenders (well, we still count Pilks as a defender!) that have the goals that have the Town ahead. Two headers have done the damage and it's all looking rosy right now. Let's hope the second half is just as good. See you 15. COYH!
45 mins - Two added minutes left from this fantastic first half to play. Then Drury becomes the first man to go in the book for kicking the ball away.
44 mins - A minute to the break and television audience are really being treated to an excellent game of football. Then Gregory, annoyed his fine strike didn't find the net, has another effort from range, but sees this one sky into the Kenny end.
41 mins - The Dons have responded well with two unbelievable efforts in the space of two minutes. Firstly Gregory whacks one against the crossbar from 25 yards (it's probably still rattling now) before Tyler pulls off an absolutely INCREDIBLE save to deny Kedwell from close range. Wait for the highlights for that save. Wow. What a game this is.
38 mins GOAL! HATTERS 2-0 Dons - Simple one this as the Town double the lead. Fred Murray hurls in a long throw down the left and Kroca is there to head past Brown at the near post. Simples. That's the big Czech's third of the season. Get in!
37 mins - Almost a fantastic opportunity for the Hatters as Blackman gifts Claude the ball on the halfway line with no Dons men back. Claude eventually gets the better of him as visiting defenders scurry back but Claude eventually opts to pass to MBH but he's offside.
33 mins - And then, typically after I say that there isn't one there is, as Atieno seizes on Gnakpa's square pass and, with no man around him, let's fly from 22 yards but his effort his easy for Brown, diving down to his left.
32 mins - It's calmed down a bit on the pitch but the Town are still well on top. A second goal before the break would be nice, wouldn't it?
28 mins - Back come the Wombles but it's nothing to worry about as BSBP joint-top goal getter Kedwell glances a header well wide following a right-wing cross from Jackson.
27 mins - That two in two for Pilks now. He loves playing in the centre of midfield!
25 mins - The ground is bouncing now and the Town are buoyant as a confident Howells blasts a shot wide of the target from 25 yards. That looked good.
23 mins GOAL! GOAL! HATTERS 1-0 Dons - After a Howells cross-cum-shot is turned over the bar by Brown, Drury whips in the corner from the left and who is there? Yep, the skipper, George Pilkington to head past the visiting keeper to send Kenilworth Road into raptures. Pilks got the better of his marker and guided his effort home - top stuff...get in!
19 mins - Half a sniff for the Hatters as they continue to press. Howells intercepts well and slaloms through the Dons midfield before finding Drury. He brings the ball forward before unleashing a shot that whistles over the crossbar.
16 mins - Still all the Town out there and still plenty of noise in the stands. A few long throws from either flank from Fred Murray and Newton have caused the visitors problems but they've dealt with them. Still goalless.
13 mins - Half a shout for a penalty for the Hatters not given by referee Whitton as Barnes-Homer has a drive from 20 yards blocked by Harris.
11 mins - Good stuff this and the burgeoning partnership between Atieno and MBH is evident again as the former heads square for his partner to try another ambitious shot on the volley from 20 yards. The less said about the end product the better but still, it's encouraging.
9 mins - It's all the Hatters now and the crowd are upping their noise as a result. Fine play fro Gnakpa down the right wins a corner from which, taken by Drury, the Frenchman gets up to head wide. This is good already.
8 mins - Chance for the Town. Drury clips in the deep free-kick to the back stick which Atieno heads across goal. Barnes-Homer is first to it and tries and ambitious bicycle kick...but it comes off brilliantly and as everyone watches on, the ball pings back of the post. My word that was close. Top effort.
6 mins - Still all the visitors but the Hatters have them at arms length. On the weather front, I thought I might have needed a coat but it's not the case. Still pretty mild for a evening in the middle of September.
4 mins - Finally can catch-up and tell you how the Hatters are lining up: Tyler in goal, back four of Newton, Kroca, Blackett and Fred Murray. In midfield it's George Pilks alongside Howells in the middle with Gnakpa on the right and Drury on the left. Atieno and MBH up top.
2 mins - All the visitors so far and Kroca has to head behind a dangerous inswinging set-piece by Hatton, who's delivery has been pretty good.
1 min - Almost a great start for the visitors as a Jolley cross-cum-shot from the left almost dips under the crossbar and Tyler has to tip over. From the following corner Newton has to chest the ball off the line following Minshull's header.
1 min whistleA roar goes up around the ground as the Town kick-off shooting towards the Oak Road end where around 700 Dons fans are standing.
19:41 HERE THEY COME
Out come the two sides, Hatters in their orange, the Dons in all royal blue.
19:40 BUZZ
Atmosphere is building here, the floodlights are on and we're almost set.
19:37 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS:
Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton. Simon Pitts: 2-1 Luton. Ian Pearce: 2-1 Luton. Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton. Mike Simmonds: 1-1. Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton.
19:30 AT HOME ON THIS DAY
The Town have played 14 times at home on the 17th November - 13 of which have come at Kenilworth Road. Of the 14 the Hatters have won seven, lost five and drawn two scoring 26 and conceded 21.
19:20 TV TIME
Richard Money talks to Premier Sports TV

Richard Money gives his pre-match thoughts to Premier Sports TV

19:10 YOUR THE BOSS

Okay, you've seen the line-up. Now who is playing where? Over to you...

19:00 TWO CHANGES

Town boss Richard Money makes two changes to his side that beat Cambridge United last Saturday.

In come Adam Newton and Jake Howells for Dan Gleeson and Adam Murray.

There are also places on the bench for Ed Asafu-Adjaye and Dan Walker.

Meanwhile Dons boss Terry Brown includes former Luton loanee Mark Nwokeji on the bench.

Hatters: Tyler, F.Murray, G. Pilkington, Newton, Barnes-Homer, Atieno, Drury, Blackett, Kroca, Howells, Gnakpa.

Subs: A.Murray, Asafu-Adjaye, Crow, Walker, K.Pilkington.

AFC Wimbledon: Brown, Jackson, Blackman, Gregory, Yakubu, Hatton, Kedwell, Jolley, Minshull, Moore, Harris.

Subs: Wellard, Main, Nwokeji, Turner, Yussuff.

18:40 PITCH PERFECT

Those of you who are reading this before setting off for the ground tonight will see when you get here that picture looks absolutely fantastic. With both teams renowed for playing good football it makes this match even more of a good spectacle.

17:10 BUSY

Kenilworth Road is a hive of activity as the Premier Sports TV cameras and staff set about getting ready for tonight's big live game. Oh and the other club staff are busy, as usual too.

16:10 BACK ON TRACK

Six days after ending a four-match winless run with victory over Cambridge United, it's good to be a Town fan again.

And, should - dare we predict - the Hatters pick up three points this evening they'll be two points off the top.

How times changes - especially this early on in the season.

Mind you earning maximum points tonight won't be a walk in the park given the opposition that Richard Money's men face at Kenilworth Road.

AFC Wimbledon are top of the table having won six of their eight matches. Who wouldn't want to be in their shoes? Terry Brown's side hold the position all the other 23 clubs in the Blue Square Bet Premier want to be in.

It's the berth of course the Town want to hold come 30th April and after a 46-game marathon of a campaign which is already eight games old.

Back on track following that win over Cambridge the Hatters now aim to topple the league leaders under the floodlights and watching television audience.

Throw in a thousand-odd Wombles fans making a racket in the Oak with the home areas packed to the rafters and only then do you get a picture why this game is being so highly anticipated.

A Kenilworth Road floodlight - always makes for a good atmosphere

Well, whatever happens at the Kenilworth Road this afternoon, and indeed throughout the season, your official website will have everything covered: every step of the way.

If you can't make the match then 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 WAP site.

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!

    Data provided by Press Association

    QUICK FACTS

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