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13:04 2th March 2011


A penalty five minutes into injury time denied the Town all three points against Newport County. The Hatters looked set to earn victory thanks to Robbie Willmott's first half strike but that was cruelly taken away from them at the death when Jamie Collins converted from the spot. Newport started with gusto and the large home crowd almost got an early goal to celebrate when Darryl Knight's long range piledriver whistled just past the post on six minutes. Slowly the Town got to grips with the Exiles' threat, especially from their long throws from both flanks and after Keith Keane came close to getting on the end of a Paul Carden free-kick they had the lead. Keane and debutant Carden combined again down the right that saw the former hang up a high cross to the back post where Willmott arrived unmarked to tap home his first goal for the club on 18 minutes. It was backs to the wall stuff at times from the Town as the hosts continued to press with Zdenek Kroca, George Pilkington and Mark Tyler all doing well to prevent the Exiles' long throw from resulting in an equaliser. Home striker Robbie Matthews scuffed a super chance to bring the scores level two minutes before the break when well placed. The Town started the second half well: Willmott saw a curling free-kick from 20 yards deflected behind on 54 minutes. Newport thought they should have had a penalty 12 minutes later when substitute Yemi Odubade was sent tumbling in box but then, as the game swung from end-to-end, Willmott spurned two great chances to extend the Town's lead. Claude Gnakpa put the winger one-on-one with home goalkeeper Glyn Thompson on 68 minutes that the stopper saved before exactly the same happened three minutes later. Lloyd Owusu was a boot away from converting a Keane cross on 72 minutes but the lively Odubade spurred the hosts to rally. They twice had the ball in the net only to see efforts ruled out for infringements and saw a shot hit the post as the clock ticked down. The Town thought the points were theirs when Tyler pulled off a terrific save a minute in the third minute of injury time from Graeme Montgomery's 20-yard piledriver before the late drama earned the hosts last-gasp point from the spot. Gutting. For minute-by-minute anaylsis see below. Result from Spytty Park Newport County 1 (Collins 90+5 (pen)) Luton Town 1 (Willmott 18) FULL-TIME  It's all over here and as you can probably guess I'm feeling pretty sick right now. It's finished 1-1, reaction to follow. 95 mins  GOAL NEWPORT 1-1 Hatters Collins (pen) 94 mins - PENALTY TO NEWPORT 93 mins - SUPER save from Tyler from Montgomery's piledriver from 20 yards...STILL 1-0 Town. 93 mins - Kroca header almost an own goal, keeper's up for another corner... 90 mins - Drama here...County hit the post with a shot from Morgan before the ball is then turned home by the same player but the linesman's flag is up and it's still 1-0. Major phew. Four added minutes... 88 mins - Free-kick to County, the keeper's up...the ball is the Town net but it won't count as Tyler is barged into the goal by two County players. 87 mins - Three left now, and yes I'm counting down because this would be an terrific result if the Town can hold on here in the driving rain at Spytty Park. 86 mins - Four left and still the hosts press but the Hatters continue to battle and scrap. It's great defending from the visitors. Can they hold on? 82 mins - Back come the Town, end-to-end stuff now as they twice come close to putting the game beyond County with Willmott the main threat. 81 mins - Still County pour forward and Collins hits a shot on the turn just wide of Tyler's post. Phew. Again. 79 mins - Livewire Odubade fancies his chances but he fluffs his shot way, way over Tyler's crossbar from the edge of the box and the Town live again. 77 mins - The Hatters are doing well in the face of constant home pressure and the home faithful are up in arms as they think they should have a penalty for Owusu's foul on Rose. Nowt given and the County fans are incensed. 74 mins - Pressure rising from the hosts and Tyler has to do well to save skipper's Warren's header from 15 yards. 72 mins - Another chance for the Town as Keane whips in a terrific ball from the right that Owusu is inches away from getting his head to. Another change for the hosts now: Montgomery on for Knights. 71 mins - It's really opening up here and Gnakpa again sends Willmott away. He has more time and space this time but it's the same outcome as Thompson saves the shot which goes for a corner. 68 mins - Oh my goodness lovely stuff from the Town and it should be 2-0. Keane wins the ball and finds Gnakpa who in turn plays a delightful pass into the feet of Willmott running through on goal but the winger's low shot is saved by the legs of Thompson. 67 mins - Newport definitely have upped it now and the Hatters are relieved to get hold of the ball after Collins had seen a 25 yard piledriver blocked before Odubade's shot on the turn is held by Tyler. 66 mins - Big penalty shouts from County as Odubade goes down under Carden's challenge but the ref's not interested, probably because Carden won the ball. That change has lifted the home side. 66 mins - First change for the hosts a Yemi Odubade replaces Matthews. 62 mins - Almost half a sniff for Owusu as he latches onto a header by Kroca following Murray's long throw. Then Kroca becomes the second Town man in the book for trying to kick the ball out of the goalkeeper's hand. 60 mins - Howells has gone to play on the left flank with Willmott joining Owusu in attack. 59 mins Second change of the night from the Town as Jake Howells replaces Walker. 57 mins - The attendance at Spytty Park is 2,834 this evening. No official figure from the away end, but 420-odd tickets were sold in advance. 54 mins - Back come the Town as Willmott, who has scored a number of super free-kicks for Cambridge this season, sees an effort from 25 yards deflected behind for a corner. It needed that touch too otherwise because that was goal-bound. 50 mins - Murray almost in hot water with the referee as he earns a booking for shoving Bignot on the floor after the Town left-back had conceded a free-kick. From the resultant free-kick Newport come within inches of finding an equaliser but the Hatters clear. Phew. 49 mins - Top, top defending from Murray, on his return to action, as he blocks Knights' shot after Matthews' cut-back. A quite magnifcent diving block to prevent it being one apiece. 48 mins - Almost a chance for the Town's and Willmott's second early in this second half. Murray pings in a throw from the left that Walker controls. His lay-off finds the goalscorer who balloons a shot from the edge of the area, way over Thompson's crossbar. 46 mins - Graham has slotted in straight at right-back. A straight swap. 46 mins Annnnnnnnnd we're off for the second half as Newport get us underway, the Town are now shooting towards their 400-strong contingent away to our left. HALF-TIME A change from the Town at the break as Luke Graham replaces Dan Gleeson. HALF-TIME Referee Atkins calls time on the first half here and the Town have the lead thanks to Robbie Willmott's first goal for the club. Richard Money's men have been excellent so far and long may it continue in the second half. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. COYH. 45 mins - There's going to be one additional minute to be added at the end of the first 45 here. 43 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Town but they have Matthews, the home striker, to thank to scuffing a shot well over the bar when well placed to meet Knight's low right-wing cross. Plenty of hands on heads in the home ends. 41 mins - Almost a chance on the break for the Hatters but the less Gnakpa's cross the better after he'd surged past Hughes. 37 mins - The Hatters continue to defend well and are lookin good on the break too as Newport clear a high cross from Murray after he's overlapped forward past Willmott after more good stuff from Carden. 35 mins - Another decent move from the Town as they turn defence into attack but Gnakpa over-hits his pass looking for Carden racing into the box after good work from Owusu and the ball rolls out of play. 33 mins - The Town are defending reall well at the minute (insert kiss of the death) but on the break they look dangerous too with the pace of Willmott a particular highlight. This time Gnakpa and Carden get the ball to him and he races forward. However, just as he reaches the Newport penalty area and he's about to pull the trigger he's tackled by a home defender - not sure who exactly. 28 mins - This throw from Miller is massive and the Town are doing well to deal with them. Newport continue to look dangerous from set pieces and Pilkington has to get his head to a Hatswell cross before Kroca again does well to thwart a chance for the hosts. 25 mins - Half a sniff for a leveller as Wayne Hatswell hooks a over a shot from the edge of the box following another long throw, this time by Miller - their long throw merchant. 24 mins - It's a long throw lovers' dream here at the minute - both teams are resorting to chuck it in the mixer - as this time Murray hurls in a throw from the left that Thompson gets no-where near but as the ball drops and a melee ensues, Newport clear. 23 mins - Almost a chance for two-zip as that man Willmott does well down the left to send a cross dangerously into the Newport box and Walker is inches away from getting a head to it. 21 mins - Newport have upped it since going behind and Kroca, effective at one end, as to be alert to guide a pass back to Tyler at the other to deny Matthews running in on goal. Good defending from the big Czech. 18 mins  GOOOOAL! Newport 0-1 HATTERS - Lovely stuff and it's great goal that puts the Town in front. Keane fools everyone thinking he's going to throw it long into the box but opts for a short throw to Carden. Keane gets the ball back off the new signing and lofts a cross into the box that is flicked on by Kroca and side-footed home by ROBBIE WILLMOTT from four yards, given Thompson no chance. Get in! 16 mins - Almost a chance as Owusu wins a free-kick 25 yards out. Curled into the box by Carden it's got a bit too much on it and Keane, scurrying it at the back stick can't reach it. Newport then break immediately down the right but a low cross his cut out by Tyler. 12 mins - Great skill...from a six-year-old ballboy who retrieves the ball for the Newport winger and with time on his side he bounces the ball a few times before throwing it in the air and heading back to the thrower. 10 mins - Positive run forward down the left from Willmott on his first start for the Hatters. He runs past three players before being crowded out with County right-back Paul Bignot making the decisive clearance. Encouraging stuff. 7 mins - Back come the Town as Owusu is free and unmarked 16 yards out to meet a right-wing cross from Keane but the big striker, who netted last week against Fleetwood, can only guide a shot wide of Glyn Thompson's left-hand post. 6 mins - Ooooh, that's close as the host press and the big home crowd almost have a goal to celebrate as Darryl Knights blasts a shot from 20 yards out that whistles just past the post following a long throw from the right. That was close. 4 mins - Pretty even so far here but Jason Walker has almost had two little sniffs of goal in the space of 90 seconds but Newport eventually deal with it. 2 mins - So, four changes then for the Town who are lining up with Tyler in goal, Gleeson and Murray full-backs, Pilks and Kroca centre-halves, Gnakpa on the right, Willmott on the left of midfield, Keane and Carden in the middle with Owusu and Jason Walker up top. 1 min And we're off here as the Town kick-off shooting towards an end where the discus, hammer and shot-put nets are. COYH! 19:44 LITTLE AND LARGE Lining up for the obligatory handshakes, Zdenek Kroca is standing next to new signing Paul Carden. A big height difference there. 19:43 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides onto the pitch, the Town in their navy blue shirts, Newport in their traditional amber and black. 19:42 LIFE'S A PITCH The Spytty Park pitch looks in decent nick for this time of year. Let's hope the Town can play some good stuff on this green grass. 19:38 FILLING UP Plenty of supporters filing through the turnstiles as kick-off approaches. The Hatters sold approximately 420 tickets before we headed west. A great effort on a Friday night. 19:35 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 1-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 1-1 draw, Ian Pearce: 2-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 2-0 Newport, Mark Wood: 2-1 Luton. 19:29 TWEET Town defender Shane Blackett, who is now back in training, on twitter: Can feel a big performance from the lads tonight. 19:20 RIGHT THEN... Robbie Willmott - in for Amari Morgan-Smith (not even in the squad), Jason Walker - in for Matthew Barnes-Homer (not even in the squad), Paul Carden - in for Alex Lawless (on the bench) and Freddie Murray - in for Jake Howells (on the bench). Hatters: Tyler, Gleeson, Kroca, G. Pilkington, Murray, Willmott, Keane, Carden, Gnakpa, Owusu, J. Walker. Subs: Graham, Lawless, Howells, Crow, K. Pilkington. Newport County: Thompson, Bignot, Collins, Warren, Rose, Hughes, Matthews, Knights, Hatswell, Miller, Griffin. Subs: Foley, Garner, Morgan, Montgomery, Odubade. 19:15 BREAKING NEWS FOUR CHANGES Willmott, Fred Murray, Carden and Jason Walker all start. Full side to follow. 19:15 ON THIS DAY The Town's record on 18th February isn't particular inspiring, just five wins from 14 matches. Of the 14 games the one which stands out the most is a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road against Liverpool in 1984. Tonight's fixture is in fact the Hatters first on this day for 16 years, since a 3-0 home win over Swindon Town in 1995. 19:01 SPYTTY PARK Or the Newport Stadium to give it it's name isn't as bad as some of the athletics-track-type stadia we've encountered in the past. Open at both ends the facilities are, however good. Although the Hatters fans at one end, away to my left, are miles back from the goal. Hope they've brought binoculars. 18:36 WEATHER WATCH We're now live in South Wales and it's cold and misty inside Spytty Park. 17:00 ON THE ROAD AGAIN Got the car tyres tested? Renewed the tax? Found the maps and packed the sweets? Good. Then we can begin. Just like Willie Nelson's Country and Western hit On The Road Again, the Hatters are hitting the motorways of the UK once more for first of three consecutive away games that will take them to South Wales to the Coltswolds via the home of first Harry Ramsden's restaurant (that's Guiseley by the way). Looking to bounce back from last Saturday's disappointing defeat to Fleetwood (that's the last mention of that), the Hatters travel to Newport for the first time in 44 years. The history of the two clubs since that meeting in South Wales in September 1967 has been well documented. Plenty of ups and down along the way but now they meet again in the fifth tier of English football. In truth, the Town having won the Division Four title six months after that meeting in Newport, would probably never had envisaged that 44 years on that it would be non-league football the neoxt time they'd venture to this part of the world. But as Richard Money so often says "we are where we are", and more importantly, the Hatters have to get back on the winning road in their quest for success and the Blue Square Bet Premier title. Newport's season had, up until the enforced winter break, had been excellent. Since the snow has gone the Exiles haven't won in eight league and cup matches and after manager Dean Holdsworth's departure to Aldershot, leading marksman Craig Reid was sold to Stevenage. All said and done though, County are still harbouring hopes of a Play-Off spot come April and will be looking to give new boss Tim Harris his first win in charge. It's a tough a test as they come but the Hatters' record of bouncing back from disappointments in the past have been terrific. The manager believes so and so do the players - you've just got to keep believing... 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!  
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