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21:37 6th March 2011


Lloyd Owusu's fifth goal in seven games earned the Hatters a valuable three points to lift them back onto the third place in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Against an in-form Forest Green the Town striker poked home from 10 yards seven minutes before the break with the ball bobbling past home stopper James Bittner. It was Rovers who pressed in the early stages as they peppered the Hatters' goal with a number of efforts from range. It was an effort just two minutes in that caused the Town most alarm when Reece Sytche's 25-yarder had Mark Tyler diving down to his right to prevent the hosts taking the lead. It took the Hatters some time to get going but when they did they showed their class. On 21 minutes a Keith Keane cross saw Claude Gnakpa head wide. Back came Rovers, though and the home crowd thought they had taken the lead on 29 minutes when a mix-up between Tyler and George Pilkington on the edge of the box invited Yann Klukowski to loft the ball goalwards but the midfielder's shot just cleared the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten. That close shave woke the Hatters up and they were inches away from taking the lead four minutes later when Freddie Murray's low shot from the edge of the penalty area cannoned off the inside of the post before bouncing to safety. Owusu headed wide on 36 minutes following good work from Gnakpa before the striker grabbed the all-important goal two minutes later. Matthew Barnes-Homer and Gnakpa combined well down the right with the Frenchman laying the ball off in the box for Owusu to poke home a shot that bounced awkwardly past Bittner and over the line. Jake Howells almost played in Barnes-Homer four minutes after the interval but the Hatters thought the hosts should have been reduced to 10 men on 50 minutes when Owusu strode clear only to be brought down by Luke Jones. Rovers upped the ante in search of an equaliser with Sytche again the Town's tormentor but Klukowski spurned a decent chance to make it one apiece on 53 minutes when he headed a Ross Dyer cross wide. The long legs of Zdenek Kroca denied a Dyer shot on 55 minutes but as both sides contrived to give away possession it wasn't until three minutes before full-time that another worthwhile chance was created when Bittner stuck out an arm to brilliantly deny substitute Danny Crow from making it 2-0. Time continued to tick down and the Hatters had to thank Tyler for stopping a Styche shot in stoppage time to ensure the points headed for Bedfordshire. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result Forest Green Rovers 0 Luton Town 1 (Owusu 38) FULL-TIME It's all over here at the New Lawn and Lloyd Owusu's first half goal have given the Town the an important three points. Reaction, photographs and interviews to come. COYH! 90 mins + 4 - Dying embers but Crow, Gnakpa and Carden all have shots blocked. 90 mins + 2 - Blimey, hearts in mouths time as a scramble in the Town box sees Stchye turn and hit a low shot that is saved by Tyler. Phew. 90 mins - We've got at least three added minutes here as Crow sees a free-kick deflected over the bar for a corner. 90 mins - We're into the 90th minute. 87 mins - Almost 2-0 to the Town and Bittner does well to redeem his earlier error as he pulls out a glove to prevent Crow's diving header from a Keane cross squirming over the line. Crow can't believe it and neither can I, great save. 85 mins - Five minutes left here. Second change for the hosts as Liam Enver-Marum replaces Wayne Turk. That's a striker for a midfielder. And a big striker at that. 83 mins - Time ticking here as the Town search for a second that would put the game beyond the hosts and a Howells' cross with his right-foot almost finds Owusu lurking at the back post. Carden's looked tidy since his introduction. 79 mins - Almost half a sniff of a chance for the Town as Owusu turns in the box but his pass can't reach an unmarked Crow and Rovers clear. 77 mins - Someone behind me in the pressbox has just said "this hasn't been the best game of football I've seen". Understatement of the year. 74 mins - Almost 15 minutes left to play and, like I said in the first half, I'm sorry I can't tell you more than I have so far. Still 1-0. 68 mins - It's been a bit stop-start this half. Rovers have shaded it but the Town still look dangerous on the break but are continually frustrated by the offiside flag. 65 mins - Another penalty shout for the Hatters as a Howells free-kick is headed goalwards by Graham at the back stick which comes off the arm of Stokes but the ref isn't interested. Meanwhile, change for the hosts as Steve Guinan replaces Klukowski. 64 mins - So those changes see Crow join Owusu up top whilst Carden goes into the centre of midfield with Keane which sees Howells shift to the left wing. 63 mins  Double change then as Willmott is replaced by Carden and Crow comes on for Barnes-Homer. 61 mins - Activity on the Town bench with Crow and Carden being briefed by the coaching staff. Then, the Hatters break with Owusu, the goalscorer, beating his man down the right brilliantly but the less said about the cross the better... 59 mins - The attendance here tonight is 1,015 which includes 359 shouting for the Hatters. 57 mins - Still the hosts press and after Gnakpa is booked for a foul on the far side, captain Jones rises highest in the box to head straight at Tyler. 55 mins - It's all happening here but sadly for Town fans it's all for the hosts as Dyer again makes a nuisance of himself and is denied a shot at goal by the long legs of Kroca. Pilkington has also made his way into the referee's notebook. 53 mins - All Rovers now and somehow they spurn a chance to make it 1-1 as Klukowski's cross from the left his flicked wide by Ross Dyer from six yards. The Town holding on. 52 mins - Back come Rovers as they search for a leveller twice in a couple of minutes as the lively Styche firstly sends a shot a yard past the post from just outside the box before he goes close to knocking the ball past Tyler but can't race onto the loose ball. 50 mins - Controversy here as Owusu races clear of the Rovers defence but before he pulls the trigger he's bundled over by home skipper Luke Jones. 49 mins - Almost a sniff for the Hatters' second as Howells curls in a dangerous high cross from the left that Barnes-Homer is inches away from connecting past Bittner. 48 mins - Town on the front foot early doors in the early stages of this second half. 46 mins Annnnnnnnd we're off for the second half as the Hatters get us underway. No changes for either side at the interval. HALF-TIME Referee Martin calls time on this first half and the Town find themselves a goal to good thanks to Lloyd Owusu's fifth goal of the season. In truth it could be more, with Keith Keane unlucky not find the net with a super curling shot that came back off the inside of the post. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. COYH! 45 mins - One added minute, at least, at the end of this first half. 43 mins - Two minutes to the break and the Hatters are getting better as this half goes on. They won't want this half to end. 38 mins  GOAL! Forest Green 0-1 TOWN - Well it had been coming...Gnakpa and Barnes-Homer combine superbly that bamboozles the home defence. Gnakpa then lays the ball off to LLOYD OWUSU who pokes a shot a goalwards that inexplicably goes through Rovers stopper Bittner. That's the striker's fifth goal in seven starts. Not bad going, get in! 36 mins - All the Hatters now as the up the ante as Gnakpa does well to turn his man and cross down the right onto the head of Owusu but the big striker can only guide a header from eight yards high and wide. 33 mins - CHANCE. And this time it's for the Hatters as they come within a lick of paint away from taking the lead as Owusu lays the ball off to Murray who, on the edge of the area, curls a left-foot shot beyond James Bittner that comes off the inside of the post and away to the relief of the hosts. As the Town continue to press, Gnakpa goes down in the box but the ref's not interested. 29 mins - Chance as the hosts come close to breaking the deadlock and Tyler and Pilkington get in a pickle with the ball running free to Yan Klukowski who lofts the ball back goalwards that just clears the crossbar. That was close. Phew. Uncharacteristic from the Town duo. 25 mins - Both sides guilty of giving the ball away but the final pass is the missing component to the Town's game so far. 22 mins - Back come the hosts as they press the Hatters back pumping the ball into the box but twice two players can't quite get their shots aways. 21 mins - Decent chance, and the first real one for the Hatters as Keane takes a throw from Murray to cross from the left but Gnakpa, the first one to meet it, can't get his header on target. That's better. 19 mins - Just a quick update really just to tell you that I'm still here, it's just not a lot has happened to report. My apologies. 14 mins - Rovers' Stokes is certaintly trying to get his eye in as he tries a shot from even further out, almost 40 yards from goal, that isn't troubling Tyler as it rolls harmlessly wide. 10 mins - Rovers are looking quite enterprising on the break, looking to cut the Hatters defence with slick passing but the Town are looking good on the break, like they were at Guiseley, with MBH and Gnakpa looking lively. 7 mins - Half a sniff of a decent Town break as Owusu surges through the Rovers midfield but can't pick out strike partner Barnes-Homer. 6 mins - Another shot at goal and it's from Rovers again but don't worry: Chris Stokes' ambitious effort is only troubling the advertising hoarding about Tyler's goal. 4 mins - Pretty sparse crowd here and the Town support are here in good numbers as I say. They are watching their side line up with Tyler in goal, Graham at right-back, Murray at left-back, Pilks and Kroca at centre-half, Gnakpa on the right wing, Willmott on the left, Howells and Keane in central midfield and MBH and Owusu up top. 2 mins - Confusion in the press box as Forest Green fire their first effort on goal as number 8 Reece Styche takes a Wayne Turk pass and drive a shot goalwards that Mark Tyler dives to his right to keep out. Confusion? Because on teamsheet there is no number 8 and Styche is number 9 on that. 1 mins - Plenty of Town supporters here tonight, strangely seperated from those sitting down behind the goal and those standing up on the far side. 1 min Annnd we're off here at the New Lawn as Forest Green get this Blue Square Bet Premier match underway. Enjoy the updates, COYH! 19:42 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the New Lawn pitch, FGR in black and white stripes and the Hatters in orange. 19:37 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Ian Pearce: 3-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, Ian Ryan: 2-1 Luton. 19:22 PRESS FACTOR Matchday music with a twist, Ronan Keating's When You Saying Nothing At All currently being sung by Mark Wood, of the Luton News, to my right, and Ian Ryan, of the Luton on Sunday, to my left. 19:20 TODAY'S TEAMS So the Hatters make four changes to the side that won 1-0 at Guiseley on Saturday. Out-going are Kevin Pilkington, Jason Walker, Amari Morgan-Smith and Alex Lawless. Town: Tyler, Murray, G. Pilkington, Kroca, Graham, Willmott, Keane, Howells, Gnakpa, Barnes-Homer, Owusu. Subs: Morgan-Smith, Carden, Crow, Poku, K. Pilkington. Forest Green: Bittner, Jones, Sytche, Dyer, Hall, Forbes, Stokes, Klukowski, Caines, Turk, Forbes, Somner. Subs: Armstrong, Gray, Imudia, Guinan, Enver-Marum. 19:10 FOUR CHANGES Breaking news: Mark Tyler, Robbie Willmott, Claude Gnakpa and Lloyd Owusu all return to the Town starting line-up. Full teams to follow. 19:05 LIVE AND ONLINE We're here inside the Lawn after a bit of delay waiting for the turnstiles to open. The Town players are out on the pitch which is covered in some big patches of sand. However, the surface looks pretty good despite that. 17:30 IT STARTS NOW This time last year the Hatters came home from a goalless draw with Mansfield Town and went onto embark on a fantastic end-of-season run that saw them come within a whisker of pipping Champions Stevenage to the title. Seemingly out of the title race at that juncture 12 months ago, the Town are again coming under scrutinty in some quarters doubting their title chances this time round with AFC Wimbledon and Crawley streaking ahead of them in the Blue Square Bet Premier. But as Richard Money said yesterday "it's all to play for" and indeed it is with 16 games remaining and 48 points available the Hatters' final two months of the campaign is jam-packed with crucial fixtures to ensure the run-in is as exciting as it was last season. Saturday's FA Trophy victory at Guiseley has meant the Town's dream of a league and cup double is still acheiveable but tonight it's back to the bread and butter, so to speak, as they take to the road, heading west to Forest Green Rovers. Far from the league's whipping boys this term as the bookmakers predicted in the summer, Dave Hockaday's side are currently enjoying their best form of the campaign and have only lost four times at their New Lawn home all season. With league fixtures coming thick and fast now as rearrangements and rescheduling kick in, the opportunity for that much-talked about momentum has now presented itself to the Town starting tonight. 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


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