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14:55 2th February 2011


The Town stylishly moved up to second place in the table with a 4-0 hammering of Darlington to extend their unbeaten run to 10 games. After a goalless first-half Richard Money's side smashed four goals in the final 21 minutes to seal an emphatic victory. The Town contrived to miss a number of opportunities in a first half that they dominated with Lloyd Owusu heading over the first chance on four minutes before Dan Gleeson, Zdenek Kroca and Owusu all had chances in the space of 60 seconds on nine minutes. With the Hatters firmly in control Darlington had barely crossed the half-way line and as the hosts continued to press playing some fine flowing football Matthew Barnes-Homer shot wide on 18 minutes before Claude Gnakpa headed straight at the visiting goalkeeper two minutes later when well-placed. Chances continued to fall the Town's way as Gnakpa saw another header bounce agonisingly wide of the target on 28 minutes before Barnes-Homer headed a chance wide two minutes as later. With the game still goalless the Quakers missed a great chance to take the lead against the run of play five minutes before the break when Mark Bridge-Wilkinson sent a shot wide when reacting first to Liam Hatch's unorthodox knock-down. The visitors were buoyed by that and started the second half well but Mark Tyler remained untroubled. However it seemed Mark Cooper's side had run out of puff and eventually the Town took control resulting in the opening goal on 69 minutes. With the nothing on, Gnakpa strode forward through the middle of the pitch and from 25 yards sent a low left-foot shot skimming goalwards that snaked past Sam Russell in the Quakers goal into the corner of the net for his 10th goal of the campaign. A goal to the good and with the tension lifted the Town's tails were up and six minutes later Owusu doubled the lead when taking Jake Howells' pass to turn and place a left-foot shot beyond Russell for his second goal in Luton colours. Darlington's threat had diminished completely and the Owusu grabbed a second with eight minutes left on the clock when guiding an accurate header past Russell following Gnakpa's right-wing cross. With the clock ticking down there was time for one more and a glorious team goal capped a wonderful display when Alex Lawless took Jason Walker's pass to touch home from 15 yards to make it four in injury time. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Live from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 4 (Gnakpa 69, Owusu 75, 82, Lawless 90) Darlington 0 Latest score FULL-TIME All over here at Kenilworth Road and what a fantastic night's work for the Town. Complete dominance and four superb second half goals. Stay tuned for reaction, anaylsis, photographs and more on your official website. 90 mins  GOAL! TOWN 4-0 Darlington - Oh, another to watch the highlights for...a super team goal is rounded off by ALEX LAWLESS, touching the ball with the outside of his boot past Russell. Get in! 88 mins - Two left plus stoppages at the end of this game now...can the Hatters nab a fourth? 86 mins Third and final change for the Town and it's new boy Luke Graham on for two-goal hero Owusu. And the man bought as a defender goes...straight up front. 82 mins  GOAL! TOWN 3-0 Darlington - In answer to my statement below, there's the third and it's the two goalscorers that combine: Gnakpa's cross headed accurately into the corner of the net by LLOYD OWUSU for his second of the night. Get in! 80 mins - 10 on the clock now and the tension around the ground now has completely diminshed and all the talk is can they get a third before the ref calls time. 78 mins - Sorry, I must apologise to Claude, that goal of course was the Frenchman's 10th goal of the campaign. For Owusu that's his second. All the Town now and Lawless almost makes it three but is shot from the edge of the area is wayward to end a decent move. Unlucky. 75 mins  GOOOOAL! TOWN 2-0 Darlington - Oh, lovely, lovely. Willmott whizzs down the left and finds Howells overlapping. The youngster then sends an accurate pass to the feet of LLOYD OWUSU who turns and sends a left shot back past the dive of Russell into the corner of the net. Get in! 73 mins - Back come Darlo though and the Town have an excellent block from Kroca to thank for denying Campbell a debut goal for the visitors. Phew. 71 mins - Oh, the Town are flying now and it should be two as a lovely move involving Walker and Owusu sees Gleeson fire a shot from three yards straight at the legs of Russell. 69 mins  GOOOOOOAL! TOWN 1-0 Darlington - Relief at last and what a goal this is - check the highlights for this one as CLAUDE GNAKPA picks the up 35 yards out, advances 10 yards and lets fly with a low left-foot effort that scuttles past the despairing dive of Brown for his ninth goal of the season. Get in! 67 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Hatters and there's no doubt Darlo fancy this as new signing Campbell does well to fashion a chance but after winning a corner, Tyler takes it superbly to relieve the pressure. 65 mins - 25 left on the clock here, is there a sign of the winner for the Town? The attendance is 5,770 including 77 supporting the visitors. 62 mins - Hardly worth a mention but I will anyway as Bridge-Wilkinson tries his luck from 25 yards with a low shot that goes well, well wide. 60 mins - First touches for Willmott - he dribbles down the left and wins a corner from which Lawless' flag-kick is headed clear by Arnison at the near post. Good start from the debutant. 59 mins - Shot at goal from the Hatters - now finding their feet in this half - as Gnakpa does well to bring the ball down and set-up Lawless who sees a shot from 20 yards fizz straight down the neck of Russell. 58 mins Second change of the night for the Hatters then and it's new boy Robbie Willmott on for Morgan-Smith. 55 mins - Handball! Shout the Kenilworth Road end as an Owusu header looks like it hits the arm of a Darlo defender. Nowt given. Activity on the Town bench, meanwhile. 54 mins - Almost a chance for the Quakers - they're a different team this half now - as Pilkington, trying to shephard the ball out of play, has his pocket picked by Bridge-Wilkinson but his flick looking for Campbell is cleared by Kroca. 52 mins - Darlo putting the Hatters under pressure now, a sustained period of possession from the Quakers but plenty of high balls into the Town box later, the hosts survive. 49 mins - First man in the book on the night is a Darlington player as Arnison gets a yellow for cynically hauling down Morgan-Smith on the half-way line as he looked to run through on goal. 47 mins - Almost a sniff for an early goal in this second half as a Lawless free-kick eludes everyone in the box and after a melee and a half-hearted penalty shout later, Darlo clear. 46 mins  And we're off for the second half as Darlington restart. And there's a change at the break for the Town: Jason Walker is on for Barnes-Homer. HALF-TIME And that's the end of the first half and despite absolutely dominating this first 45 minutes with a deluge of off-target efforts the Town haven't converted them and somehow at the break it's goalless. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. 45 mins + 1 - Almost a sniff for the Hatters and yes, it's another header. This time it's a left-wing corner from Lawless, flicked on by Kroca, that is met by Gnakpa who's header down into the ground needs tipping over by Russell. Darlington clear the resulting corner. 45 mins - Two added minutes, at least, at the end of this first half. 44 mins - A minute to the break and still the Hatters are encamped into the Quakers' half but they just can't break them down. Darlo's away record reads one win, eight draws and three defeats. I can see why. 40 mins - Oh my, well it wouldn't have surprised me, "that's football" I would have said, as against the run of play, Darlington should score. A cross from the right is flicked into the path of Bridge-Wilkinson by Hatch but the visiting midfielder can only a guide a right-foot shot wide of the target from 10 yards. Phew. 38 mins - Still here, don't worry and yes, the Town are still on top. Somehow still goalless. Tyler hasn't had a save to make so far (insert kiss of death). 31 mins - Half a chance again from another right-wing corner from Lawless but Pilkington's flick-in is helped on by Owusu but Darlo clear once more. Still goalless. 30 mins - Almost a chance for Morgan-Smith who dashes into the left-hand edge of the penalty area but it's another last-ditch challenge for the visitors, this time from right-back Arnison, that keeps the Town out. 30 mins - Still the Town continue to press and MBH will feel he should to better when heading wide when left unmarked in the Darlo penalty area, meeting Keane's lovely cross from the right. Not sure how many off-target headed efforts we've had now. 28 mins - Another chance for the Hatters from a set-piece and it's a whisker away from 1-0 as Gnakpa rises above everyone to plant a header inches the wrong side of the left-hand post following Lawless' right-wing corner. Edging closer. 24 mins - Still the problems persist in the press box, but thankfully you've not missed much...The Town are still on top. 20 mins - More good stuff from the Hatters again coming from the left flank as Howells moves forward and spots Gnakpa 15 yards out who booms a header over the crossbar. The Frenchman is disappointed but he was almost taken by surprise by the cross, presumably aimed at Barnes-Homer and Owusu. 18 mins - Another minute, another chance as AMS picks the ball up, beats one man, finds MBH in space who cuts inside a fires a curling shot the wrong side of the post as he looked to bend it into the top right-hand corner. 16 mins - Still the Hatters press and again it's last ditch defending from the visitors to keep them at bay with Howells, Morgan-Smith and Barnes-Homer linking up well down the left once more. Some good football being played by the Town so far. A goal would be nice. 13 mins - I'm putting all the money in my pocket on Gleeson to score tonight. He's desperate now. He picks it up 25 yards out, looks up and whacks a shot at goal that isn't - shall we say - testing Russell. 12 mins - The Town are looking bright here and a break down the left with Howells and Morgan-Smith almosts creates an opening but the Quakers clear. 9 mins - Now there's chances...three in quick succession. First, Dan Gleeson a man on a mission: yet to score since his arrival in the summer he races upfield, takes a pass from Gnakpa and sees a poked effort blocked by a Darlo defender. From the resultant corner Zdenek Kroca heads goalwards that Russell has to tip over before another Lawless corner is met dangerously at the near post by Owusu who flashes a header inches past the past. Still goalless. 8 mins - Once again, another home game and more internet connection issues. Not sure if these updates are getting through but in truth you haven't missed much, if anything so far. The Town are in control early doors but are yet to test Sam Russell in the visitors' goal. 4 mins - First chance of the night falls to the Hatters. Gnakpa wins a corner down the right which is whipped in by Lawless. It's to the near post that Owusu attacks but the big striker's header just goes a yard over the crossbar. 2 mins - So as the Hatters enjoy the ball in the very, very opening stages they're lining up Tyler in goal, a back four of Gleeson, Kroca, Pilkington and Howells with a midfield of Lawless and Keane in the middle, Morgan-Smith on the left, Gnakpa on the right with Barnes-Homer and Owusu on top. Liam Hatch is in attack for the Quakers. 1 min  And we're off as the Town get us underway kicking towards the Oak Road stand. Enjoy the updates. COYH! 19:43 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the Kenilworth Road pitch, the Town in orange, Darlington in orange - bit of colour clash? We're almost set. 19:42 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 1-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 1-1, Ian Pearce: 3-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 1-1, Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton, James Cunliffe: 1-0 Darlington. 19:30 ON THIS DAY We've already mentioned the Town's 2-1 defeat at Highbury earlier, on this day 25 years ago. That is one of five defeats suffered by the Hatters on 1st February. Five have been won and three have been drawn. The last time the Town played on this day was back in 2003 when Steve Howard scored the goal in a 1-1 draw against Peterborough at London Road. 19:07 THE TEAMS Hatters: Tyler, Gleeson, G. Pilkington, Kroca, Howells, Morgan-Smith, Keane, Lawless, Gnakpa, Barnes-Homer, Owusu. Subs: Graham, Willmott, J. Walker, Poku, K. Pilkington. Darlington: Russell, Arnison, Chandler, Miller, Hatch, Taylor, Brown, Quinn, Verma, Bridge-Wilkinson, Campbell. Subs: Moore, Main, Smith, Modest, Hamilton. 19:04 BREAKING NEWS: ONE CHANGE Amari Morgan-Smith replaces out-going Andy Drury whilst new signings Robbie Willmott and Luke Graham line-up on the bench. Full team to follow. 18:15 HOW TIMES CHANGES 25 years ago to the day: Arsenal 2-1 Luton Town. First Division. Saturday 1st February 1986. The team that day: Sealey, Breacker, Thomas, Nicholas, Foster, Donaghy, Hill, Stein, Harford, Newell Parker. Sub: North. 17:41 LIFE'S A PITCH Tonight will be the fifth successive game played on the Kenilworth Road turf and in truth it's looking very good considering. It cut up pretty badly when Grimsby were the visitors last week but the groundsman have done a terrific job. It's look nice and flat. 17:37 WEATHER WATCH Mild and still in LU4 16:15 CONTENDERS READY! "End of the Silly Season...the start of the business end. We're now set. Ins and outs done and dusted. Squad complete and in place, motivated, focused and committed. "Nineteen games and 57 points up for grabs. "Some challenging opposition for us to catch. I can't remember a time, as a passionate Luton Town fan, when promotion has meant so much to our Club with such a narrow target to aim for." - writes Hatters managing director Gary Sweet in tonight's programme. The whirlwind of transfer deadline yesterday has been and gone with the Town having completed their business 30 minutes before the deadline. Defender Luke Graham joins Robbie Willmott in the squad this evening as the Hatters entertain Darlington looking to continue their rich vein of form. Victory tonight would put them in second place in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Yesterday saw influential midfielder Andy Drury leave to fulfil his potential at Championship level with Ipswich Town but LAD - or Life After Drury - begins at Kenilworth Road against a Quakers side who are unbeaten in five matches. But as Richard Money said yesterday: "If you look at the quality of player that we've brought in over the last 12 months, I'd be very surprised if anyone is too concerned about Drury leaving the football club. "It will be a challenge to the rest of the group and they will want to make it clear to everybody, as quickly as they can, that Andy is not going to be missed. "I have to say, for anyone to suggest that we are where we are in the league because of Andy Drury is very disrespectful to the rest of the group." With or without Drury, this period has always promised to be an exciting end-of-season run-in. Remember last season? That sequence of nine straight wins almost saw the Town overhaul Stevenage. It's tighter this time round - the Town have Crawley, AFC Wimbledon and resurgent Wrexham for company. Every dropped point is frowned upon. Nervous glances at the league table. Calculators at the ready. Crawley have games in hand. What's two times three, plus two? The Reds Devils don't play until Thursday. That'll be three games in hand. A win is a must against Darlo more the pressure increases... Deep breath. Relax. This is Luton Town, remember. Things are never done the easy way. As Gary says, there are 19 games to go. Keep believing and get along tonight. Exciting times are back. Be a part of it. COYH! Well once more, as ever, win, lose or draw this evening 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 @ 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 - 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 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


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.