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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:11 5th November 2011

TOWN 1-2 FLEETWOOD TOWN

Town 1
Kovacs 90 Fleetwood Town 2
Vardy 11, Milligan 67 (pen) The Town failed to ignite on bonfire night as they suffered their third home defeat of the season to leave them seven points off the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier. Title favourites Fleetwood went a goal ahead in the 11th minute when Jamie Vardy beat Mark Tyler in a first half most notable for flying tackles and several yellow cards. The Hatters pressed for an equaliser in the second half and were unlucky not to when Aaron O'Connor's shot came back off the crossbar on the hour. Fleetwood rode that storm but Micky Mellon's put the game to bed on 67 minutes when Jamie Milligan converted a penalty after Amari Morgan-Smith had upended Ryan Jackson in the box. The Town huffed and puffed in search of a consolation and got one when Janos Kovacs headed home in stoppage time but by then it was all over. Brabin made seven changes to side that beat Hendon last Saturday's FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie. Top goalscorer Morgan-Smith, midfielders Alex Lawless and Robbie Willmott, captain George Pilkington and goalkeeper Tyler all return to first team action. That meant John Paul Kissock, Jamie Hand, Tommy Wright and Kevin Pilkington dropped to the bench. There was no room for Will Antwi or Dean Beckwith in the 16-man squad on duty. The early stages lived up to the game's top billing in a 100-mph start. Sean Clancy raced through for the visitors to slam a shot wide just 42 seconds after the first whistle, before the Hatters took control. Morgan-Smith - sporting an orange hair-do - headed wide on three minutes after Stuart Fleetwood and O'Connor had combined. Two minutes later as the atmosphere cranked up a notch, Morgan-Smith sent O'Connor scampering down the right to draw a save from visiting stopper Scott Davies from a narrow angle. You couldn't take your eyes off the action and on seven minutes O'Connor thought he had claims for a penalty when he was tripped in the box but the attacker decided to stay on his feet and referee remained unmoved. But all of a sudden Fleetwood stepped it up a gear and a minute after Milligan curled a free-kick wide of the post, the visitors had the lead on 11 minutes. The Hatters lost the ball in the Fleetwood half and within seconds Clancy's perfectly-weighed throughball found Vardy the visitors' record signing confidently flicked the ball over the advancing Tyler for his 11th goal of the season. The game was becoming feisty with both sides determined in their whole-hearted approach with the Hatters edging possession without testing Davies. Vardy smacked the angle of post and bar on 36 minutes but his effort wouldn't have counted as he'd control the ball with his hand and was subsequently booked before Fleetwood and Shaun Beeley were both booked as the game threatened to boil. Pilkington was almost in danger of receiving a second caution for fouling Stuart Brodie but suffered a head wound that needed stitches leaving the Hatters temporarily down to 10 men. With the skipper off the pitch, the visitors almost made the Hatters pay for slack marking in the 45th minute when a deep right-wing free-kick was guided wide of the post by Jamie McGuire. The referee added five minutes at the end of the first half and Fleetwood - the player that is - spurned the Hatters' best chance of the half when running down the inside left channel to drive a shot across goal that flashed wide. Brabin came out for the second half with a fist pump to the Main Stand and his side begun the second 45 well, pressing back the visitors as they looked to level. The Hatters thought they should have had a penalty on 49 minutes when Ryan Jackson seem to handle in the box but the referee waved away the appeals. Fleetwood were looking a real menace on the break, trying to utilise the pace of Vardy but the Hatters upped the ante following the introduction of Tommy Wright on 58 minutes. A minute after his introduction, Morgan-Smith, who was now being employed down the left flank, scuffed a shot wide when well placed in the penalty area, before O'Connor was denied an equaliser 60 seconds later when his left-foot shot came back off the underside of the crossbar following a fine solo run. Fleetwood saw a shot saved by Davies a minute later before Brodie sent a well-hit effort narrowly over the crossbar a minute later. However on 66 minutes the Hatters found themselves two goals down when Fleetwood doubled their lead. Ryan Jackson was upended by Morgan-Smith in the penalty area and Milligan lashed home from 12 yards to make it 2-0. It was an uphill battle for the Hatters and try as they might they failed to test Davies into action whilst Fleetwood were happy to keep the ball and try and nab a third on the break. A fine run from Howells in the second minute of injury time created a chance for the youngster to test Davies with a right-foot shot that keeper turned around the post. Time was almost up but the Hatters faithful still in the ground did have a goal to cheer in the final minute of stoppage time when Kovacs headed home but straight from the restart the referee blew for full-time and the hosts were left to reflect on a third home defeat of the campaign. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Luton Town 1 (Kovacs 90) Fleetwood Town 2 (Vardy 11,  Milligan 67 (pen)) FULL-TIME It's all over here. Reaction, photographs and a full report to follow. 90 mins + 4  GOAL TOWN 1-2 Fleetwood (Kovacs) 90 mins + 2 - Chance for 2-1 but Howells sees a shot tipped around the post by Davies. Time almost up. 89 mins - A minute left plus stoppage time here. 87 mins - Not a lot to report sadly, three minutes left. 83 mins - Third and final sub for Fleetwood - Brodie off for Andy Mangan. 80 mins - 10 minutes left here for the Town to find something. 76 mins - Third and final change for the Hatters as Brabin sends on Adam Watkins for Lawless. 75 mins - 15 left for the Town to try and save themselves here. 72 mins - 6,361 inside Kenilworth Road this afternoon which includes 83 backing Fleetwood. 70 mins - Second change for the Hatters as John Paul Kissock replaces O'Connor. 67 mins  GOAL! Town 0-2 FLEETWOOD (Milligan penalty) With a quarter of the game left, disaster for Town. Ryan Jackson is felled by Morgan-Smith in the box and JAMIE MILLIGAN beats Tyler from 12 yards. Uphill now for the Hatters. 66 mins - PENALTY TO FLEETWOOD 63 mins - Back come the visitors - Brodie bearing down on goal and letting fly from outside the box that is well hit but flies narrowly over the bar. 61 mins - And another chance for the Town, Fleetwood shooting from 20 yards thats Davies dives at full stretch to keep out. 60 mins - CHANCE. With not a lot on, O'Connor dances past the challenge of three Fleetwood defenders and sends a left-foot shot float goalwards but his effort comes back off the underside of the crossbar and away to safety. 59 mins - Then there's almost a sniff for AMS as the ball drops in the penalty area but he gets his shot all wrong and it drifts wide. 58 mins - First change for the Town. Robbie Willmott is replaced by Tommy Wright. Morgan-Smith drops to left-wing. 55 mins - Almost a second goal for the visitors as Vardy tip-toes down the left but instead of pulling it back he tries to beat Tyler at his near post and the goalkeeper saves easily. 53 mins - Second change for the visitors as Keith Briggs replaces Clancy. 49 mins - Penalty appeals for the Town as it appears Jackson handballs when attempting to clear. Town starting this second half well. 46 mins And we're off for the second half as Fleetwood restart things here. No changes for either side at the break and Town are now attacking the Oak Road end. HALF-TIME 45 mins + 4 - Almost a sniff for the Town as Fleetwood cuts inside down the left hand side and tries to find the corner of the net but his effort flashes wide of the post. 45 mins - Almost 2-0. From a right-wing, deep free-kick to the back stick that Jamie McGuire steers inches the wrong side of the post. What a let off. It may have even shaved the post. 40 mins - Five minutes to the break. 36 mins - Gloom gathering here and the Town still trail and they have a hand and the woodwork to thank for it staying 1-0 as Vardy - whose pace is frightening - controls a ball played into his path with a hand before rattling the angle of post and bar. The goalscorer gets booked. 32 mins - Over half-an-hour on the clock and not too much to tell you about. Tackles are flying but there's little for either goalkeeper to do so far. 25 mins - Early change for the visitors as Junior Brown has been replaced by Gareth Seddon. The left-back was down for some time so we're likely to have a few added minutes. 20 mins - That's the seventh time the Town have gone a goal down in home games this season. 11 mins  GOAL! Town 0-1 FLEETWOOD (Vardy) - Well it's come against the run of the play but the visitors have the lead. Clancy - the brother of model Abi - slides through JAMIE VARDY who zips clear and clips a delightful finish over the advancing Tyler for 1-0. 10 mins - ...and from the resultant free-kick from 20-odd yards Milligan curls a shot just wide of Tyler's left-hand post. 9 mins - First real threat from Vardy as he switches through the gears. He then gets upended by Pilkington and the Town skipper is shown the game's first yellow card... 7 mins - Half-hearted appeals for a Town pen as O'Connor goes between two Fleetwood defenders. The attacker stays on his feet though as a leg is waved out and nothing is given. It's all the Hatters at the minute. 5 mins - Town on top here and after Kovacs does well to dispossess Vardy, Morgan-Smith shows great control before sending O'Connor away and his effort from a narrow angle is stopped by Davies in the visitors' goal. 3 mins - Back come the Town, a really good start to this game...Fleetwood is onside down the left and he digs out a cross to the back stick for O'Connor who volleys back across goal for Morgan-Smith whose header from 10 yards drops just wide. AMS is sporting a orange-dyed haircut! 1 min - Chance for the visitors inside a minute, 42 seconds to be precise as Sean Clancy is slotted in on goal but his effort is sliced wide. 1 min After changing ends and a Fleetwood huddle, the Town kick-off shooting towards the Kenny End. COYH. Enho the updates. 14:57 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides, Town in orange, Fleetwood in yellow and black. 14:55 WE HAVE LIGHT Bit of gloomy, misty day in LU4. Floodlights powered up. 14:50 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 4-3 Luton, Simon Pitts: 1-1, Simon Oxley: 2-1 Fleetwood, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 2-2, Ian Ryan: 2-1 Fleetwood, Bill Cole: 3-2 Luton. 14:35 ON THIS DAY It's seven wins, seven defeats and one defeat for the Town on Bonfire Night. Burnley were the last visitors to Kenilworth Road and left with all three points in a 3-2 victory. Warren Feeney and Steve Howard were on target in 2005. In 1994 the Hatters triumphed by the same scoreline at Molineux as goals from David Preece, Dwight Marshall and Kerry Dixon earned victory at Wolves in front of 26,749. 14:10 SO... ...deep breath...in comes...Mark Tyler, George Pilkington, Robbie Willmott, Keith Keane, Alex Lawless, Janos Kovacs and Amari Morgan-Smith. A strong line-up, I must say. 14:10 SEVEN CHANGES Town: Tyler, Osano, G. Pilkington, Kovacs, Howells, Willmott, Keane, Lawless, O'Connor, Fleetwood, Morgan-Smith. Subs: Kissock, Watkins, Hand, Wright, K. Pilkington. Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Clancy, Milligan, Brodie, Brown, McGuire, Vardy, Jackson. Subs: Vieira, Mangan, Briggs, St Louis-Hamilton, Seddon. 13:55 TEAMS NEWS SOON Stay tuned in the next five to 10 minutes for teams news. It's still overcast here. 13:15 WOW THE CROWD Early indications from the ticket office...between 6,500 and 6,700 should be inside Kenilworth Road this afternoon. Not got your ticket yet? Get down to the ticket office today and buy one! Click here for all of our prices. 12:45 SUPER SATURDAY So, Luton v Fleetwood, Cambridge v Mansfield and York v Wrexham. All 3pm kick-offs and could see the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier have an all-mighty different look about it come quarter-to-five tonight. 12:30 WEATHER WATCH Grey and gloomy at Kenilworth Road. 11:30 FIREWORKS It's that day of the year. The one which the Fawkes family don't particularly enjoy but one which sports writers love including bonfire and firework-related phrases in their copy. This afternoon those in the press box at Kenilworth Road should have every right to expect to tap those kinds of words furiously in their laptops as two of the Blue Square Bet Premier's heavyweights go toe-to-toe. Big spending Fleetwood Town, second place and scoring goals for fun, take on the Town - the top scorers at home in the division - in front of 6,000 fans. Micky Mellon's side come to LU4 fresh from a 5-0 FA Cup replay win over Mansfield. The Hatters too stuck five past their last opponents. Expectation will bear weight on both sides shoulders this afternoon as one of the best teams at home in the division take on the best team away from home. Gary Brabin and the Town are in the midst of another injury crisis. As many as nine players could be missing from the Hatters' squad through injury this afternoon. Given the inconsistency of team selection borne from injuries and suspensions it's fair to say that Brabin's side aren't firing on all cylinders yet. It promises to be a fascinating 90 minutes that makes up one game of what league sponsors Blue Square have dubbed Super Saturday. I have no idea how to throw catherine wheel into any reports this afternoon but don't be surprised to read plenty about firing shots, bangs, fizzing and rocket-like shots later tonight. However surely what we can guarantee will be fireworks. Enjoy. Well, whatever happens today, and indeed throughout the season, your official website will have everything covered: every step of the way. 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 after, 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 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
    Data provided by Press Association

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