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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:55 11th January 2011

HAYES & YEADING 0-1 HATTERS

A goal from Claude Gnakpa 15 minutes from time earned the Town their fourth successive victory to go within three points off top spot in the Blue Square Bet Premier. The Frenchman picked up the loose ball in the penalty area, ran past the challenge of two home defenders before planting a deflected shot beyond home goalkeeper Lee Harrison for his sixth and probably most important goal of the campaign so far. Prior to that strike it looked as though Richard Money's men were going to be held by struggling United who had already earned a draw against the Hatters at Kenilworth Road back in August. In fact if it wasn't for the agility and awareness of goalkeeper Mark Tyler they could have found themselves behind as the hosts took the game to the Town in the opening 45 minutes. In the opening 45 minutes in what chance-a-minute stuff in an end-to-end beginning with Tyler first coming to the Hatters' rescue on 13 minutes when he clawed away a Charlie Wassmer header. Seven minutes later Tyler stopped a Jake Hyde shot on the turn but the hosts' pressure was in contrast to the visitors as they failed to test Harrison in the first period. The only time the home stopper was called into action was to deviate a goal-bound header by one of his own players over the crossbar on 36 minutes. The Hatters upped the ante it in the second period but still couldn't force Harrison into any meaningful action despite dominating possession. Danny Crow spurned a great chance to opening the scoring on 54 minutes when he rounded Harrison but left the ball behind with the goal gaping. But the breakthrough finally came with a quarter-of-an-hour left on the clock when Gnakpa struck his second in as many games. All of a sudden it was all the Hatters as chances continued to fall their way as Hayes tried. Gnakpa, Matthew Barnes-Homer and Amari Morgan-Smith all went close to adding a second but the visitors held on for all three points in front of a post-war lowest crowd in league action of 801. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Church Road Hayes & Yeading United 0 Luton Town 1 (Gnakpa 75) FULL-TIME And that's it, it's all over as the Hatters have gained a vital, vital victory here at Church Road. Report, reaction, photographs and reaction to follow. 90 mins + 2 - One minute left now... 90 mins - Three added minutes here... 88 mins - And they should be 2-0 up as Claude is this time the creator he hangs up a cross that Morgan-Smith, with the goal gaping, heads wide. 88 mins - Two to go now and majority inside Church Road are praying that the Town can hold on, or get another of course. 85 mins Second change from Richard Money as Alex Lawless replaces Barnes-Homer. 85 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Town as Green, the Hayes left-back, sends a lovely first-time half-volley a whisker wide of the post. That was close. Great technique. 83 mins - Oh what a chance and Barnes-Homer will be happy to see the flag of the linesman after somehow guiding a header from six yards the wrong side of the post following Drury's super left-wing cross. 81 mins - More pressure from the Town as they look to put this game beyond the hosts but Drury sees a fine 30-yard free-kick arrow through a sea of bodies and behind from a corner. 80 mins - Almost half a sniff for MBH as he tries his hardest to battle past the challenges of two home defenders who eventually clear. 78 mins - Attendance of 801 which includes around 500-600 from Bedfordshire. That's our lowest post-war league gate. Still, that's Hayes' highest of the season so far in the league. 75 mins  GOAL! Hayes & Yeading 0-1 TOWN (Gnakpa) Well thank goodness for that. And it's relief all round as a fine solo goal from CLAUDE GNAKPA has the Town ahead. Taking down a clearance in the home penalty area, the Frenchman runs past three home defenders and drills a shot that takes a deflection before landing up in the back of the net. Get in! 73 mins  First change for the Town and it's Jason Walker on for Crow. 70 mins - Surely only a matter of time now? Gnakpa this time comes agonisingly close with a header from 15 yards following Howells' left-wing cross. Unlucky. 69 mins - Both sides continue to frustrate each others' supporters. Giving the ball away is never going to endear you. 67 mins - Pressure rising again from the Town and Morgan-Smith forces Harrison into a full-length save diving to his right to keep out the winger's decent effort. From the resulting corner whipped in by Drury from the left, Kroca rises head and shoulders above the rest but can't get enough purchase on it and Harrison can claim once more. 65 mins - Then, typically Hayes break and Tyler is forced to leap to catch a goal-bound shot from Buchanan, who has been the pick of the home players. 64 mins - Well and truly all the Hatters now, almost completely encamped in the Hayes half but still nothing to show for it. 62 mins - No doubt the Town are playing well and all of a sudden there a huge handball shouts as Wassmer blocks a MBH's drive from the edge of the area with what seemed a hand. Nothing given. All the Hatters right now. 60 mins - Gleeson is up and okay. All the Hatters now - can they find the breakthrough? 59 mins - Ohh that's nasty and Gleeson is on the deck, thumping the turf in pain as he's on the receiving end of a crunching challenge from Yiadom who earns a booking for his troubles. 57 mins - Another half-sniff for Crow as Gnakpa does well to spring and flick-on a long ball into the striker's path who takes one touch before sending a looping shot goalwards that Harrison gets his gloves to. 54 mins - Best chance of the Town so far and it should be 1-0 as Drury threads a lovely pass through to Crow who has three men around him. He takes a touch before Harrison comes out to thwart him but the ball still lands at the strikers feet but he can't turn the ball home and a relieved Hayes defence clear. 52 mins - The Hatters have upped it as a Gleeson pass is headed across goal by Gnakpa into the path of Crow but Harrison is first on to it. Then Hayes break and a vital header from Keane denies Hyde the chance to test Tyler. Who will break the deadlock? 50 mins - A bit of pressure from the Town but it leads to nothing substantial as a half-cleared corner from Drury is whacked way over the bar from Morgan-Smith on the edge of the area. 48 mins - Bygrave is the first man in the book as he goes in late on Morgan-Smith 40 yards from goal. It wasn't nice. 47 mins - Bright start from the hosts - both side are guilty of giving the  ball away - but Buchanan flies down the left and delivers a dangerous low cross that Tyler does well to pounce on. 46 mins Annnnnnd we're off for the second period and it's the hosts that restart things. No changes for either side at the break. HALF-TIME Referee Kinseley calls time on the first 45 minutes and it's goalless here at Church Road despite a plethora of chances, most notably for the home side. The Town have looked comfortable but have lacked that cutting edge. Check back in 15 minutes for second half updates. COYH 45 mins - We've got one added minute until the break. 44 mins - Momentarily good play from the Town as Gnakpa shows great strength and determination to feed Drury who in turn finds Morgan-Smith but after dropping a shoulder he's almost taken out. No shouts for a pen. 43 mins - More work for Tyler but routine stuff as he gets down to smother a deflected shot from Hyde from the right-hand edge of the Town area. 42 mins - Biggest cheer of the night so far as the PA announcer jokingly reveals the 50/50 draw prize is £1,000 plus. He retracts, it's a £100 tops. 41 mins - As Simon Pitt has just eluded to in his commentary Hayes certainly don't look a side in the bottom two. 39 mins - Another very decent move from the hosts and left-back Adam Green is left red-faced as he spurns a great chance to break the deadlock. Pritchard and Holmes eventually play in Buchanan who beats Kroca and spreads the play to an unmarked Green who could only drag his shot well, well wide. 36 mins - Home stopper Harrison is forced inton evasive action as AMS' cross from the left takes a deft touch of the head of centre-back Bygrave. The keeper has to keep an eye on it and needs to get a finger on it to turn it over the bar. That could have crept in. But no, still goalless. 32 mins - A flurry of Town corners once more, that tally is adding up - five now - but nothing comes of it and Hayes can relax. 30 mins - Again it looks like the Hatters have got a foothold in this (cue a Hayes goal) as Drury's low corner is met at the near post by an unmarked Danny Crow who heads over Harrison's crossbar. 28 mins - Almost a chance for the Town as a Drury corner causes confusion in the home penalty area. Kroca gets his head to it before the ball drops to Morgan-Smith who drives a low goalwards that results in pinball in the box. It could have gone anywhere but instead Hayes can break but on his own, Buchanan screws a shot way, way wide. 25 mins - Hayes have just constructed the move of the match so far, a flowing one that sadly for Garry Haylock and co ended with Pritchard over-cooking a right-wing cross enabling the Town to clear. 23 mins - Better from the Hatters as Gnakpa shows good close control and strength to find Drury who in turn hooks it forward to the on-rushing Dan Gleeson who can't quite reach the ball in time and the hosts eventually clear Drury's resultant corner. Somehow still 0-0 although I'm keeping my betting slip that says 6-4. 20 mins - No sooner do I type that below H&Y break and it's that man Pritchard, this time down the left who beats Gleeson and pulls the ball back for Jake Hyde. He turns in the box and fires a firm shot goalwards that Tyler has to do well to keep out, diving to his right. Good save. Key save. 18 mins - Final a chance to catch a breather here as the Town have gained a strangehold on things. 14 mins - Back (again) come the Town and MBH will probably feel he should do better, heading over at the back stick following Gnakpa's teasing right-wing cross. 13 mins - Sustained period of pressure from the hosts as the Hatters can't clear their lines. Pritchard, their man threat, wins a free-kick down the right after being upended by Howells. From the set piece whipped in by Holmes faired-haired centre-back Wassmer gets up to head goalwards which his clawed away superbly by Tyler at full stretch. That was close. 11 mins - Can't keep up as Crow flashes a header well over following Morgan-Smith's left wing cross. Sorry the detail is a tad skimpy at the minute. 10 mins - Half a sniff for Hayes as Yiadom shoots wide. 9 mins - Back come the Town and my laptop keyboard is going to be requesting over-time as Gleeson delivers a cross deep from the right that finds MBH. The Town striker has more time than he thinks and sends an instantaneous effort well wide of the target. 8 mins - Another minute another effort, this time from Peter Holmes from range that is straight down Tyler's throat. 7 mins - It's chance-a-minute at the moment as Morgan-Smith delivers a low cross down the left which is half-cleared to Barnes-Homer on the edge of the box who sees his drive blocked by a home defender. 6 mins - Tyler gets his gloves warm and all of a sudden the Town are under the cosh as the ball is pinged in from the left but Andy Yiadom's acrobatic effort is well-held comfortbly by the Hatters stopper. 5 mins - No doubt Hayes on top here as Holmes and Pritchard link-up well which sees the latter's cross-cum-shot dragged across goal is turned behind by Gleeson with Buchanan lurking for a tap-in. 2 mins - While the Hatters start positively it's the hosts that come close to an early lead as Bradley Pritchard takes the ball nicely just inside the penalty area and tries his luck with a decent shot that bounces just the wrong side of the post. A good effort and an early warning to the Town. 1 min  And we're off as the Town get this game kicking towards an empty open terrace away to right as we look. 19:41 HERE THEY COME Out the two sides - Hayes a very small side by the looks of things as they shake hands - in red and black with the Town in their change navy blue shirt, white shorts and orange socks. 19:39 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 4-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 3-1 Luton, Ian Pearce: 5-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-0 Luton, Ian Ryan: 4-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton. 19:37 FAR FROM THE MADDENING CROWDS The largest league attendance at Church Road this season stands at 551 for then visit of Grimsby in November. 19:35 HOME VIEW H&Y boss  Garry Haylock writes in his programme notes: "This evening we welcome Richard Money and his Luton Town side how are obviously chasing for promotion back to the Football League this season. The fact that we held them to a draw at Kenilworth Road earlier in the season shows we are capable of derailing their ambition and I want more of the same this evening." 19:23 EMPHASIS ON ATTACK The helpful home press officer Tim Fuell informs us: "it's an attacking line up, attacking is the only way we know how to play." My money's on 6-4 Town in that case. 19:20 THE HOSTS As for Hayes & Yeading they are lining-up: Harrison, Ferrell, Green, Cadmore, Bygrave, Holmes, Buchanan, Pritchard, Yiadom, Wassmer, Hyde. Subs: Deen, Pattison, McLean, Appiah, Wishart. The Holmes is former Hatters Peter Holmes who skippers the home side this evening. 19:07 MATCHNIGHT MUSIC Dodgy - Staying out for the Summer. Lots of nodding of heads in the press box. 19:03 FULL TEAM Hatters: Tyler, Gleeson, Howells, Kroca, Pilkington, Drury, Keane, Gnakpa, Morgan-Smith, Crow, Barnes-Homer. Subs: Asafu-Adjaye, Walker, Lawless, Poku, Hinton. 19:01 AS YOU WERE It's the same starting XI that beat Rushden and Diamonds 3-0. More to follow. 19:00 THE VERDICT "The pitch is in good nick despite the recent weather and it should play well." 18:27 INSPECTION... Don't worry, nothing to worry about...the only person having a gander at the Church Road surface is Town boss Richard Money. It was the first thing he did when he entering the ground with the rest of the squad. 18:10 TURN ON THE LIGHTS Arriving here at a cold and dark Church Road we're met by a swathe of...well, not many people. The floodlights are on, well five of the eight are. 16:15 THE BIG SQUEEZE Or should that be the big freeze? No, the big squeeze we're talking about here isn't about spending cuts or any new-fad diet. Indeed the big freeze and big squeeze are related, however, as the Hatters begin their assault to cram in 25 league games (and at least one FA Trophy fixture) between now and 30th April tonight. The goal of lifting the Blue Square Bet Premier is going to be an intense battle with a clutch of sides currently in the running to secure the sole automatic promotion place to the Football League with the Hatters one of those gunning for glory. The cold snap and subsequent postponements and abandonments have hit clubs hard none more so than the Hatters. By rights the Town should have played 27 times already in the league this season. At Hayes & Yeading United this evening Richard Money's troops will kick-off just their 22nd. Only at Bath on Saturday (weather permitting) will they reach the half-way point in their season. With tonight's game at Church Road originally scheduled for yesterday both sides at least have had an extra day's rest having both played on New Year's Day, and the Town will be looking to continue their fine run of form against a side languishing in the BSBP's dropzone. Although Garry Haylock's side will take heart from August's 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road (four months after being hammered 8-0) the Hatters are now well and truly on a roll. Six wins from seven league games (or eight victories from their last 10) have got Money's side motoring and - worryingly for opposing defences - they are beginning to look in the same kind of mood that saw them sweep (almost) all before them towards the end of last season. A sequence of nine wins on the spin all began in early March with a 3-2 win at Church Road and a win this evening would put the Town within touching distance of top spot once more - and with the games coming thick and fast momentum is absolutely vital. Playing twice a week is what players love - as the manager explained, it's better in some respects to play rather than train. There's a midweek game for next four weeks: after tonight's match there's still seven fixtures to fulfil in January. Football is back and the Hatters are playing some top stuff. So just keep it coming... What ever happens 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 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!
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