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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
14:07 15th March 2011

HATTERS 2-0 TAMWORTH

The Town scored twice past Tamworth stand-in goalkeeper Tom Marshall to record a comfortable victory. The game turned in the 10th minute when the Lambs' number one stopper Liam Mitchell was forced off with a hand injury. With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench the visitors had rely on centre-half Marshall to keep the Hatters at bay. It took the Town until the 18th minute to test the rookie goalkeeper when Claude Gnakpa rode a cynical challenge to continue running into the penalty area and blast a low shot at the near post that Marshall kicked away. The Frenchman looked like a man on a mission and five minutes later his back-post header was tipped away by Marshall as the Town hunted the opening goal. Tamworth's need to protect their goalkeeper in search of a point meant the Hatters dominated possession but the home crowd began to restless when Marshall again came to the Lambs rescue on 35 minutes when he did well to stop Zdenek Kroca's near post header from finding the back of the net. However the tension inside Kenilworth Road was lifted seven minutes before half-time when Matthew Barnes-Homer won a free-kick 20 yards from goal. The free-kick, floated in superbly by Jake Howell was met by Lloyd Owusu who directed a header beyond Marshall. The Town, and Freddie Murray in particular, thought they should have had a penalty a minute before the break when the left-back was upended but the hosts almost made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half when a Howells header was caught by Marshall. Gnakpa poked a ball over the bar following fine football in the 56th minute before the Hatters made the points safe on the hour when Gnakpa laid off the ball in a crowded penalty box to Barnes-Homer who hammered home his second goal in as many games. Shots continued to rain down on the visitors' goal with Howells dragging a shot wide and Barnes-Homer rifling a shot inches wide of the post on 74 minutes. The Town continued to press looking for a third but Tamworth were able to keep them to just two to move them two points clearer to Crawley at the top following their draw with Kidderminster. For minute-for-minute analysis see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 2 (Owusu 38, Barnes-Homer 60) Tamworth 0 FULL-TIME There we go that's the end of proceedings and the Town have ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at Kenilworth Road thanks to one goal in each half from strikers Lloyd Owusu and Matthew Barnes-Homer. Stay tuned for reaction, reports, photographs and anaylsis. 90 mins - We've got at least three added minutes left this evening. That's of the match, not of the whole evening, obviously. 90 mins - Second change for the Town as Owusu is replaced by Jason Walker. 89 mins - Frustration for the Lambs as the clock ticks down as Richard Tait goes into the book for kicking the ball inside the enclosure. 87 mins - With three minutes left the Hatters make their first change of the night. Amari Morgan-Smith is on for Gnakpa. 85 mins - We're into the last five minutes here, will the Town find a third? 82 mins - Hardly worth a mention but Tamworth have just won their first corner of the game, from which Scott Barrow flashes a low shot from outside the box just wide. It wasn't far away. 80 mins - Tamworth then have half a chance but Tyler isn't called into action as substitute Lake-Gaskin heads wide. 80 mins - A period of possession for Tamworth but I can't remember if Mark Tyler's touched the ball in the last 80 minutes of football. 74 mins - Oooooh that's close and a top effort from MBH as he sniffs a second of the night. He combines with Owusu, playing a nice one-two, before he bashes the ball first time from the edge of the penalty area that bounces half a yard wide of the target. 73 mins - Third and final change for the visitors as Seb Lake-Gaskin replaces Jay Smith. 70 mins - The attendance this evening at Kenilworth Road is 5,737 which includes 45 shouting for Tamworth in the Oak Road end. 69 mins - The pressure is relentless at the minute as an Owusu header is cleared off the line before Barnes-Homer rifles a shot that flashes inches high and wide of the target. 68 mins - He's not scored for the Hatters yet in 77 appearance and he came close to breaking that duck but is denied a lovely delicate chip from the edge of the box caught by Marshall. Unlucky. 65 mins - No doubt Richard Money would have told his side at the break to stay patient and keep having a go. Good work from Lawless and Gnakpa to break up the play eventually sees Howells receive the ball but after being urged to shoot by the crowd he goes for goal but drags a shot way wide. 64 mins - Just noticed I hadn't changed the scoreline above. Sorted. Apologies all round. 61 mins - That's Barnes-Homer's 16th goal of the season. By the way, in the FA Trophy we're hearing news that Mansfield are 2-1 up against Chasetown. 60 mins  GOOOOOAL! HATTERS 2-0 Tamworth - Just like in the first half it was only a matter of time. Lawless does well down the right to loft a ball into the box that is met by Gnakpa. He can't quite get the ball down a second time before laying it off to MATTHEW BARNES-HOMER who drives a right-foot shot from 12 yards that takes a deflection past the flat-footed Marshall. Get in! 59 mins - Pressure rising again from the Town as again Owusu and Gnakpa combine but this time Howells' side-foot effort from 12 yards goes wide. 56 mins - Oh chance and it should be goodnight Tamworth. Howells does well down the left to thread a low pass into the path of goalscorer Owusu. He turns but can't find the space to pull the trigger so lays the ball off to Gnakpa who pokes a shot over the crossbar under pressure from a defender. 53 mins - Sustained pressure from the Town but nothing's doing. Meanwhile Tamworth make their second change of the night as Perry is replaced by Jason Bradley. 49 mins - Then half a chance for 2-0 as Gleeson's cross from the right is dropped by Marshall under pressure from Owusu but Howells can't loop his header over the goalkeeper who this time claims a catch. 48 mins - Not much to tell you about early on here. Tamworth still have Tom Marshall, who is a centre-back, in goal. 46 mins - Oh and no changes for either side at the break. 46 mins Annnnnnd we're off for the second half here at Kenilworth Road as Tamwort kick-off. The Town are shooting towards the Oak Road end. HALF-TIME  Referee Burt calls time on the opening 45 minutes here at Kenilworth Road and it's Lloyd Owusu's goal that has the Town ahead at the break. They're up against a team who are playing without a recognised goalkeeper. There's sure to be plenty of action in the second half so join us in 15 minutes, won't you? Up the Town! 45 mins + 4 - Half a sniff for 2-0 as MBH goes alone, beating two men before dragging a shot wide of the post. 45 mins - There's going to be an additional four minutes to play at the end of this half following the earlier injury to Mitchell. 44 mins - Huge penalty shouts for the Hatters as Murray surges into the left-hand side of the box before it looks as though he's upended by referee Burt isn't interested and Murray is fuming, running after the whistler. 38 mins  GOOOOOAL! HATTERS 1-0 Tamworth - At last, there it is as the Hatters have the lead and it's just two touches of the football that do the damage. Barnes-Homer wins a foul 20 yards out on the right-hand edge of the penalty area. Howells steps up to curl the ball in left-footed and there's LLOYD OWUSU to guide a header past the motionless Marshall for his sixth goal of the season. Get in! 35 mins - Another minute, another chance as a super left-wing cross from MBH finds Owusu who's attempt to get a head to is denied by a defender. From the corner from Lawless', Marshall pulls of a brilliant save from Kroca's near post header before the rookie keeper does well to jump and claw away a high ball back into the box by Keane. 34 mins - More pressure again from the Town as patient build-up down the left eventually sees Barnes-Homer see a shot from 15 yards blocked. 31 mins - Since the arrival of Marshall in goal Tamworth haven't offered much but in a rare foray forward Ben Wilkinson tries his luck from 25 yards as the ball drops kindly to him but his first-time volley goes well, well, well wide. 29 mins - ...which Lawless attempts to bend around the wall but it takes a nick off a man in the Tamworth wall and away for a corner. 28 mins - Free-kick to the Town on the edge of the box... 26 mins - They are trying and it's constant pressure but perhaps the Hatters are trying too hard. Howells then picks the ball up down the left and fizzes in a low cross but no-one can get on the end of it and it drifts behind. 23 mins - Halfway through this first half and the Town have spent most of this evening encamped in the visitors' half. Then Gnakpa tests Marshall again with a back-post header which he fumbles behind following Murray's high left-wing cross. 21 mins - Claude is on a one-man mission to score tonight. He surges past three Tamworth men into the box and hits a shot goalwards which is blocked behind for a corner. From which, Lawless' attempt curls out and in of play again and it's a goal-kick to the visitors. 18 mins - First shot for Marshall to deal with as Gnakpa strides through, and after regaining his balance after hurdling a crude challenge from Wydle, he hits a shot at the keeper's near post which he parries away. Once play resumes referee Burt goes back and shows Wydle a yellow card for that tackle on the Frenchman. 15 mins - Remember the Hatters need to break down 11 men and not 10, nobody has been sent-off. Tamworth will know doubt defend even more resolutely now. 14 mins - As action resumes Barnes-Homer receives a booking for a clash with Michael Wylde as he looked to ram his way through the visitors' defence. 13 mins - Tamworth have made the change and after the smallest man on the pitch, captain Jay Smith jokingly pretends to put it on which draws a laugh from the crowd, it's substitute Tom Marshall who is going to line-up between the sticks. 11 mins - Yep, he's coming off Mitchell and now the discussion starts in the Tamworth camp about who will don the jersey. 10 mins - Lambs stopper Mitchell is receiving treatment for what seems a hand or wrist injury...and there's no substitute goalkeeper on the bench for the visitors. 8 mins - It's coming...Well and truly all the Town and as Gnakpa breaks, dances past two Tamworth men and finds Howells his cross is half-cleared to Barnes-Homer who picks up the loose ball down the right and centres for the Frenchman who leaps to head an effort on target that Liam Mitchell in the visitors' goal catches, diving to his right. 6 mins - Still the Hatters press and Gnakpa looks in the mood. He picks the ball up just outside the box and hammers a shot goalwards that is well blocked, bravely blocked, by a Tamworth defender. That must have hurt, Claude really caught hold of that. 4 mins - Town well on top early doors here. Just in case you don't know it's Tyler in goal, Gleeson, Pilkington, Kroca and Murray across the back, Keane, Lawless, Gnakpa and Howells in the middle and MBH and Owusu up top. 3 mins - Back come Tamworth but don't worry, it's nothing to concern yourselves with as Kyle Perry gets ahead of Gleeson momentarily before fluffing a left-foot shot into the Oak Road end. 2 mins -  Good early play from the Town and almost a chance as lovely stuff between Barnes-Homer and Gnakpa sees the Frenchman muscle off and burst past his marker, drive into the box and shoot just wide of the target. Early encouragment. 1 min A change of ends, a group huddle from Tamworth anndddd finally we're off and underway at Kenilworth Road with the Town kicking-off shooting towards the Kenny End. 19:43 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the Kenilworth Road pitch. Town in orange, Tamworth in their change strip of all royal blue. Standby for all the updates. COYH! 19:40 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Here they are, just for you, as promised... Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Ian Pearce: 2-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 3-0 Luton, James Cunliffe: 1-0 Tamworth, Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton. 19:25 ON THIS DAY It's five wins, six defeats and three draws from 14 games on this day for the Town. The last time the Hatters played on this date was a 2-0 defeat against Southend in 2008. 19:05 TONIGHT'S TEAMS So, Alex Lawless returns from a hip injury to play in central midfield in the place of Paul Carden who drops to the bench. He replaces Godfrey Poku on the bench where there's another change: Jason Walker for Danny Crow. Tamworth are unchanged following their 2-0 defeat to Mansfield on Saturday. Luton Town: Tyler, Gleeson, Murray, Kroca, G. Pilkington, Gnakpa, Howells, Lawless, Keane, Owusu, Barnes-Homer. Subs: Graham, Morgan-Smith, Carden, J. Walker, K. Pilkington. Tamworth: Mitchell, Tait, Courtney, Wylde, Smith, Perry, Thomas, Sheridan, D. Bradley, Barrow, Wilkinson. Subs: Marshall, Mitchell, Mackenzie, Lake-Gaskin, J. Bradley. 19:00 ONE CHANGE Alex Lawless returns in the place of Paul Carden. Full teams to follow. 18:50 TEAM NEWS IMINENT Hold your horses, five minutes or so and you'll have the news of who's playing and who's not. 18:30 WHAT DO WE KNOW? Simon Pitts and myself are just going through the press box predictions from this season and the conclusion is pretty obvious: we're useless. Since August we've been adding the predicted scorelines of all the Luton press corps and, give or take a few games where there wasn't one, there have only been a meagre 16 correct predictions. Yours truly with four correct scores followed by Simon Pitts and Mark Wood on three, Ian Pearce and Mike Simmonds on two with Ian Ryan and James Cunliffe both on one. Not that it will interest you but we'll give our predictions for tonight's game shortly before kick-off. 18:25 TWEET Lloyd Owusu on twitter: "At the ground now. Let's do this boys." 17:45 WEATHER WATCH A lovely evening in Luton at the minute. Sunny, clear blue skies, but a bit chilly. It's not summer yet. 17:00 KEEP GOING Nobody was more frustrated and disappointed with the Town's 1-1 draw with Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday than manager Richard Money. Like us all, he wants promotion badly for Luton Town and with the final 14 games separating the Hatters and the end of the campaign, now is the time for everyone to pull together. While comparisons will be drawn to this stage last season when the Town won nine games on the bounce to get them into contention for the title, tonight they tackle a Tamworth side that ended that winning run with a 1-1 draw at the Lamb last April. That draw gave Stevenage the impetuous to go on and clinch the title leaving the Town to mix it in the Play-Offs, ultimately losing out to York. Fast forward 11 months and the Hatters find themselves in a similar position chasing two sides above them in the Blue Square Bet Premier. The boss has urged everyone to keep going and keep believing. After all, what's the point in giving up now? What's the point in throwing in the towel? "It's not over yet by a long, long way," he said yesterday. "Everybody here still believes in this group of players. "It's the same old story - it's never over until it's over." Never a truer word spoken. The scorer of the most home goals in the league the Hatters do remain the entertainers, so why desert them now at this exciting and all-important final third of the season? Tonight Tamworth will want to replicate their 3-1 victory over the Town back in August - a very bad day at the office in the manager's book. One defeat in 14 games, or two defeats in 18 games; whatever way you look at it, it's good form. Throw in a semi-final place in the FA Trophy and a possible return to Wembley and there's a lot of reason for optimism. This club needs your support so come down and be a part of it tonight. 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 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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