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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
14:47 3th October 2011

TOWN 5-1 BARROW - REPORT & ANALYSIS

Five goals and three important points later the smiles were back on the faces of everyone at Kenilworth Road as the Town fought back from conceding an early goal to record an emphatic victory. With back-to-back defeats on their mind, the Hatters made the worst possible start: going a goal down inside two minutes. But stirred by that setback Gary Brabin's men roared back. A Robbie Willmott effort - after he'd missed from the spot - got the ball rolling before Willmott got a second 25 seconds into the second half to complete the turnaround. Nine minutes later and, as Barrow tired, Adam Watkins made it 3-1. Six minutes later James Dance curled home to make it four and with 15 minutes Amari Morgan-Smith made it five to send home the home crowd home happy. Manager Brabin made three changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Cambridge on Tuesday. Aaron O'Connor, Curtis Osano and Watkins came in for the unwell Stuart Fleetwood, Will Antwi and Danny Crow, the latter two, however, were named on the substitutes' bench. Visitors Barrow with ex-Town defender Dave Bayliss in co-charge could only name three substitutes, two of whom were only signed on emergency loan deals on Friday. The Bluebirds came into the game with three players suspended and six players injured but that didn't stop them from taking a shock lead 77 seconds into proceedings. In the first attack of the match a right-wing raid from Jack Mackreth went unchallenged and the young winger was able to ghost into the six yard box and clip a delightful finish over the exposed Mark Tyler. With faces aghast inside Kenilworth Road, the men in orange slowly reacted to going behind, Jake Howells blasting a well-hit shot straight down the throat of Danny Hurst in the visiting goal. But concern in the stands soon turned to celebration - but not without drama - as the Town equalised on 12 minutes. Janos Kovacs' beautiful pass out to the right flank was met by O'Connor, taking the ball in his stride with a great first touch to burst into the area. However his route to goal was blocked - Kelvin Lomax's illegal challenge was deemed a foul by referee Ford. Responsibility from 12 yards fell to Willmott but his effort was saved by Hurst. Fortunately for the winger the ball span fortuitously back to him, and with it the simplest of tasks of scoring his second goal of the season. With their tails up the Town attacked with gusto - O'Connor impressing in the sunshine down the right flank and three minutes after the equaliser Morgan-Smith fashioned a chance out of nothing, beating two Barrow defenders for pace and strength to shoot into the side-netting with O'Connor screaming for a cut-back. Both sides traded possession after that opportunity but Barrow should have re-taken the lead on 31 minutes. A left-wing free-kick fell to feet of the Bluebirds' leading scorer Adam Boyes five yards out. With the goal at his mercy and power behind his shot the striker's effort was somehow tipped away by Tyler, pulling off a tremendous close-range stop to keep the score level. With that near miss at the back of their minds and no doubt the words of their boss ringing in their ears, five minutes later the Hatters almost went in front for the first time - Morgan-Smith and Watkins combining well to see the latter intelligently slip in Willmott to blast a shot goalwards that looked to be heading for the bottom corner before Andy Nicholas's intervention with a sliding block. As the clock ticked towards half-time the Town upped the ante but found their route to goal frustrated by the visiting defence and goalkeeper. Willmott and Watkins saw shots blocked from the edge of the penalty area on 44 minutes before Osano forced Hurst into action with a drive from the right-hand edge of the box a minute later. Hurst then pulled off a fantastic flying save to keep out another effort from Watkins as the young midfielder's shot arrowed towards the top corner. From the resultant right-wing corner hung high towards the back post, Jamie Hand headed into the side netting. Brabin was probably wishing that the half-time whistle hadn't had come at a stage when his side were well on top but the manager was all smiles just 25 seconds into the second half when they took the lead. O'Connor and Morgan-Smith combined superbly down the right but latter's cross was cut-out by a visiting defender. However, Dance was the first man to pick up the loose ball in the penalty area and the summer signing from Crawley turned and found Willmott inside the six yard box to net his second of the afternoon. The Town's good work was almost undone, however, on 53 minutes. Substitute Dominic Rowe had only been on the pitch four minutes when he skilfully beat Osano down the left to pass across goal but the ball could only roll dangerously across the six-yard box with Ryan Brooke unable to make a connection. Again, a let-off for the Town woke them up, and on 55 minutes Brabin's men got their second goal in nine second half minutes to make it 3-1. Morgan-Smith, having a terrific game leading the line, burst through on goal but, with Barrow defenders chasing, he squared the ball to his left for Watkins who stroked the ball past Hurst with his left foot. Now it was well and truly all the Hatters and three became four six minutes later and just after the hour when Dance swept home from the edge of the box after more good work from Morgan-Smith and O'Connor for his first goal in Luton colours. Brabin took off O'Connor and Watkins to standing ovations with John Paul Kissock and Crow replacing them with the task of adding to the Town's tally. And the Hatters' fifth goal duly arrived 15 minutes from time. Morgan-Smith had been involved in all but one of the previous four goals but he got the goal his endeavour deserved - racing onto Willmott's inch-perfect throughball to round Hurst and tuck home comfortably his eighth goal in 10 starts. Barrow's threat in the second half had been virtually non-existent but they almost reduced arrears on 82 minutes when substitute Andy Ferrell cracked a shot from 25 yards that pinged off the outside of the post. The Hatters continued to pour forward in search of a sixth. Morgan-Smith nearly crowned a man-of-the-match performance two minutes from the end, forcing Hurst into a great one-handed stop with an angled drive from 12 yards. Crow spooned a shot over the bar following Morgan-Smith's square pass after a great run and pass from Dance but it mattered not - the Hatters were toying with their opponents and a minute later the hosts were celebrating an important and comprehensive victory. Two defeats laid to rest with three points and five goals after going behind and missing a penalty...showing on an afternoon that, as usual, things in the life of Luton Town are never plain sailing. Keep the faith. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Live from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 5 (Willmott 12, 46, Watkins 55, Dance 61, Morgan-Smith 75) Barrow 1 (Mackreth 2) Latest score FULL-TIME All over here at Kenilworth Road, the Town get back to winning ways in emphatic style. Stay tuned for reports, reactions and photographs. 90 mins - Three added minutes to play... 88 mins - Two minutes left to find another goal. Town dominating still. Morgan-Smith named sponsors' man-of-the-match. 85 mins - Willmott lines up a free-kick from 35 yards but he can only whack it high over Hurst's head and into the Kenny End. 82 mins - Almost 5-2 as, out of nothing, Andy Ferrell's effort for the visitors from 25 yards cannons off the outside of the post. 80 mins - 10 minutes left to find a sixth, seventh or eighth? 75 mins  GOAL! TOWN 5-1 Barrow (Morgan-Smith) - Lovely stuff this, Willmott's throughball is pounced on by AMARI MORGAN-SMITH and he bursts through, rounds Hurst and tucks away his eighth of the season. Get in! 73 mins - Barrow woodwork left trembling as a Crow header comes back off the post but it wouldn't have counted, the striker was offside. 70 mins - 5,613 inside Kenilworth Road today including 115 cheering for Barrow. 68 mins - Another sub for the Town, Kissock replacing Watkins. 65 mins - First change for the Town, O'Connor off for Danny Crow. Great ovation for O'Connor has been excellent this afternoon. 62 mins - Oohh, half a chance for 4-2 as Barrow go close, Kovacs clearing James Owen 's shot off the line. 61 mins  GOAL! TOWN 4-1 Barrow (Dance) - Oh lovely, lovely stuff. Again it's Morgan-Smith and O'Connor linking up well down the right, the later cutting the ball back for JAMES DANCE who sends a superb right-foot drive flashing past Hurst from the edge of the box. Get in! 55 mins  GOAL! TOWN 3-1 Barrow (Watkins) - Memories of the second minute completely forgotten as the Town make it three. Morgan-Smith does brilliantly to burst through on goal but instead of going for goal he unselfishly squares for ADAM WATKINS who shows superb technique to shift the ball onto this left foot and stroke home. 53 mins - Hearts in mouths time for the Town as Rowe beats Osano well, using great skill to get to the byeline but with the goal at his mercy Ryan Brooke can't convert as the ball rolls dangerously across the Hatters' six-yard box. 50 mins - All the Hatters since the goal, Barrow have made a change with Almond being replaced by Dominic Rowe. 46 mins  GOAL! TOWN 2-1 Barrow (Willmott) - Great, great start to the second half as the Town find themselves in front of the first time. Dance collects the ball in the penalty area, looks up and spots Morgan-Smith and ROBBIE WILLMOTT in the box and the latter is on hand to guide the ball past Hurst from inside six-yard box. 46 mins Annnnnnd we're off for the second half. No chnages at the break. HALF-TIME - All level at the break, check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates. 45 mins - Then it's almost 2-1 as the chances continue to fall their way, Watkins shoots from just outside the box, forcing Hurst into a great save, from the resultant corner Hand heads wide. 44 mins - All the Hatters now, blocked shot from Willmott and Watkins putting the visitors under pressure...and then Osano, driving shot wide. 40 mins - Town getting on top as half-time approaches but still one a piece. 36 mins - Back come the Town and Barrow have Andy Nicholas to thank for keeping the scores 1-1, throwing himself at Willmott's goal-bound shot after Morgan-Smith had exchanged passes with Watkins on the edge of the area. Unlucky. 31 mins - Could and should be 2-1 Barrow but the Hatters have a truly magnificent, awesome, call it what you will, save from Mark Tyler, somehow saving Adam Boyes' close range shot after the Bluebirds striker had the ball drop at his feet following a left-wing free-kick. A superb save. 30 mins - Pretty even stuff now as the stopwatch passes the half-hour mark. 23 mins - Half a sniff for the Town as Dance screws a left-foot shot wide on the turn from the edge of the box. 20 mins - Twenty on the clock gone, O'Connor impressing down the right flank so far. 16 mins - By the way it's 4-3-3, Keane at centre-half with Kovacs, Osano right back, Howells left-back, Willmott and O'Connor on the wings, Hand holding in central mid, Watkins and Dance ahead of him in the middle and AMS up top. 15 mins - Chance. This time Morgan-Smith does well, using pace and power to get the better of two Barrow defenders. He fends them off before dragging a shot just wide of the post, into the side netting. 12 mins  GOAL! TOWN 1-1 Barrow (Willmott) - Well they don't do things the easy way do they? Kovacs spreads a lovely ball to the right flank that Aaron O'Connor does brilliantly to take into his stride. He flashes into the box but is then sent tumbling by Kelvin Lomax. From the resultant spot-kick ROBBIE WILLMOTT sees his effort saved by Hurst by the ball spins kindly back into the path of the Town number 11 to smash home. 1-1. 11 mins - PENALTY TO TOWN, O'CONNOR FOULED, Lomax with the challenge. 9 mins - Shot on target from the Hatters, Howells reacting first to Willmott's half-cleared free-kick, belts it back with intent, only for it to be straight down Danny Hurst's throat. 8 mins - Plenty of Town possession since the early goal as they find their feet. Adam Quinn then goes into the book for fouling Howells down the left. 2 mins  GOAL! Town 0-1 BARROW (Mackreth) - Well, as starts go...The first attack of the game there's a goal but it's not for the Town as JACK MACKRETH runs unchallenged down the right, into the penalty area and when Mark Tyler creeps forward to close him down the right winger clips a lovely finish over him for the opening goal. Oh dear. 1 min - And we're here at a boiling hot Kenilworth Road. Enjoy the updates. 14:57 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides on this glorious October (!) afternoon, it's more like August. 14:50 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-1 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Simon Oxley: 3-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 4-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 2-0 Luton. 14:40 HOT HOT HOT Temperatures heading towards the mid-to-late 20s here at Kenilworth Road. A lovely day for watching, but I don't envy the players. 14:15 THREE CHANGES In come Aaron O'Connor, Curtis Osano and Adam Watkins for the visit of Barrow, who only name three substitutes. Fleetwood is ill, whilst there is no place in the starting XI for Danny Crow or Will Antwi. Town: Tyler, Osano, Keane, Kovacs, Howells, Willmott, Watkins, Hand, Dance, Morgan-Smith, O'Connor. Subs: Crow, Asafu-Adjaye, Antwi, Kissock, K. Pilkington. Barrow: Hurst, Nicholas, Baker, Boyes, Owen, Mackreth, Quinn, Almond, Lomax, Moyo, Brooke. Subs: Ferrell, Clancy, Rowe. 14:00 AT LEAST ONE CHANGE They'll be no Stuart Fleetwood this afternoon, he's ill. 13:10 PITCH PERFECT The pitch is looking in absolutely stunning order considering their were 22 players trampling all over it on Tuesday. 12:00 SUMMERTIME Pinch, punch it's the first day of the month... Blinding sunshine and temperatures in the mid-to-late 20s here at Kenilworth Road. Welcome to October. 11:45 BOUNCEBACKABILITY Not since the back end of the 2007/08 campaign in League 1 have the Town lost three successive league matches. In fact it's a rare occurrence for the Hatters to even lose two on the bounce these days but on Tuesday that's precisely what happened, Cambridge United condemning the Hatters to back-to-back defeats. It hurt. It hurt the manager, the players, the directors, the staff and last and by no means least, the supporters. While 6,000-odd fans trudged away from Kenilworth Road in disappointment, the management were busy locked away in the manager's office plotting their next move: to get back on track and plan a victory over Barrow. Negative thoughts of the Tuesday defeat may have still lingered in Gary Brabin's head on Wednesday but he ended that particular day with a smile on his face. After all he'd seen a dozen players capable of forcing themselves into his first team side take part in a behind closed doors fixture at Wycombe. Players that, as Brabin says, have been missed. None more so than captain and the winner of 12,000 end-of-season awards over the past three seasons, George Pilkington. Pilkington, Shane Blackett, Charlie Henry got valuable game time. Dean Beckwith, Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Kevin Pilkington, Dean Beckwith, JohnPaul Kissock, Adam Watkins, Aaron O'Connor and Collin Samuel all featured too. It's a squad game - and surely when everyone is fully fit there are few clubs that can match the Hatters in that department? Oh, throw in Freddie Murray and Dan Gleeson who played virtually the whole of last season but unfortunately remain on the treatment table. Today, Barrow will visit Kenilworth Road intending on spoiling the Town's plan on bouncing back to winning ways, just like they have done in emphatic style against Fleetwood and Wrexham this season. There are 102 points left to play for this season. After today they'll be 99. Keep the faith and remember, good things come to those who wait.   Well, whatever happens today and throughout the season, your official website will have everything covered: every step of the way: live, on radio and via social media. If you can't make the match then 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 afternoon, bringing you exclusive video content from Gary Brabin 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 Brabs 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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