Newport County 0
A dramatic 93rd-minute winner from substitute Danny Crow sealed the Hatters' first win in Newport for 65 years - and their first victory in the Blue Square Bet Premier since October 21.
With the game seemingly drifting to goalless draw, Crow hit his fourth goal of the season deep into stoppage time after super wing play from James Dance to cap a hugely important three points for Gary Brabin's side.
The Hatters had earlier missed two gilt-edged chances in either half: Alex Lawless forcing home goalkeeper Danny Potter into a fine save just before the break and Stuart Fleetwood seeing an effort parried midway through the second period.
But when it looked as though the Town would have to settle for a second away draw in a week, up popped Crow from close range to spark wild scenes of celebrations amongst the players, management and supporters.
For only the second time this season, Brabin named an unchanged starting XI with Kevin Pilkington keeping his place in goal behind a back four of George Pilkington, Janos Kovacs, Curtis Osano and Greg Taylor. Jake Howells and Dance occupied the wide midfield positions with Jamie Hand and Lawless in central midfield. Fleetwood and Aaron O'Connor
were selected again in attack whilst Keith Keane and Crow returned to the substitutes' bench in place of Adam Watkins and John Paul Kissock.
With a swirling wind inside the open Syptty Park, it was the lowly Exiles who were the first to get on the front foot when on four minutes when Elliott Buchanan's low drive from 25 yards bounced into the arms of Pilkington.
Four minutes later the Hatters got their first chance of the afternoon when Howells' left-wing cross was stabbed goalwards by Taylor and after Newport failed to clear their lines Hand was able to ping a pass to the unmarked Fleetwood at the back post but the striker's header was comfortable for home stopper Danny Potter to gather.
But the Hatters were being put on the back foot by the confident hosts with striker Sam Foley doing well to turn away from his marker before attempting an ambitious effort from 20 yards that flew over Pilkington's crossbar.
Foley and Buchanan were instrumental once more as Justin Edinburgh's side continued to push the Town back. On 24 minutes neat footwork from Foley saw him worm past Osano before seeing a shot blocked by Pilkington. The rebound fell nicely for Buchanan who blasted a shot goalwards which was also blocked - this time bravely by Taylor, throwing himself at the winger's effort.
That let-off sparked a response from the Town who engineered a decent break on 26 minutes when Fleetwood did well to hold the ball up and feed Osano racing up from right-back but the defender's dangerous cross was turned away by Potter with Howells unable to turn the ball home at the back post.
The wind continue to wreak havoc with both sides' attacking play but County piled forward as the break approached with Foley finding the gloves of Pilkington on 36 minutes.
However on 41 minutes the Hatters should have taken the lead when patient play from Fleetwood saw him play a perfect pass into the feet of Lawless but after biding his time and trying to sneak the ball underneath the body of the advancing Potter the midfielder's effort only found the keeper's feet.
Again a let-off for one side resulted in the other springing up the other end and Newport thought they'd broken the deadlock two minutes later on 42 minutes when only the slightest of touches from Osano denied Ishmail Yakubu's effort from beating Pilkington.
The wind dropped at the start of the second half but it was the rain that was now hampering both teams efforts going forward.
So much so that in the first 10 minutes of the second half saw next-to-no goalmouth action.
But a minute later on 56 minutes the Hatters spurned another clear-cut opportunity when sloppy defending from Newport allowed Fleetwood&nbsp;to race through one-on-one with Potter but after delaying his shot his effort was stopped by a one-handed save by the keeper.
Just before the hour Brabin introduced Brunt for O'Connor with the young striker keen on impressing after hitting a hat-trick for the reserves on Tuesday.
Howells arrowed a free-kick straight down Potter's throat on 62 minutes before Kovacs denied Foley with a superbly-timed tackle on 66 minutes as the hosts pressed for the opening goal.
Howells was then shifted to left-back after the introduction of Robbie Willmott for Taylor but a minute later County came close once more when the impressive Foley saw his fierce shot well saved by Pilkington, diving away to his right.
With both sides out on their feet with the game seemingly drifting to a goalless draw substitute, Crow won it for the Hatters deep into stoppage time. Dance did brilliantly to gallop to right flank and cut the ball back for Brunt who laid the ball off to Crow who turned and sent a fine finish beyond Potter to send the travelling supporters into delirium.
Newport had barely any time to respond and the Town held on to secure their fourth away win of the season to lift them into sixth place in the table and seven points the leaders.
A much needed victory hopefully one which will kick-start the sought-after consistency.
The games are coming thick and fast now and AFC Telford are at Kenilworth Road this Tuesday...
Bundle! Danny Crow is mobbed after his late, late, late winner. Get in! See you Tuesday...
For minute-by-minute anaylsis see below.
Newport County AFC 0
Luton Town 1 (Crow 90)
FULL-TIME It's all over,the Hatters have won thanks to Crow's late, late winner. Stay tuned for reaction.
90 mins + 3 &nbsp;GOOOOOAL! Newport 0-1 TOWN (Crow) - With timing ticking the Town have scored...Dance flies down the right and the ball is squared to&nbsp;DANNY CROW who turns and fires home past Potter!
90 mins - We've got three added minutes to try and find a winner.
90 mins - Into the last minute...
85 mins - Both sides going for it, end-to-end but still goalless. Is there a winner?
80 mins - 10 minutes to go now: still raining, still goalless.
77 mins Third and final change for the Town: Fleetwood replaced by Danny Crow.
75 mins - We're into the last 15 minutes...
72 mins - Newport upping it again and Pilkington does well to dive to his right to keep out a goalbound effort from Foley.
71 mins &nbsp;Second change for the Town as Robbie Willmott replaces Taylor. Howells moves to left back.
66 mins - Superb tackle from Kovacs - who has been excellent for the Town at the back this afternoon - denies Foley after he'd raced through on goal.
62 mins - Chance from a set piece for the Hatters as Howells arrows a shot from 30 yards straight at Potter.
59 mins First change for the Town and Ryan Brunt - fresh from a hat-trick for the reserves in the week - is on for O'Connor.
56 mins - CHANCE. Another clear-cut one for the Town as Fleetwood is sent through but sees a left-foot shot saved by the hand of Potter.
53 mins - Half a sniff but more of a quarter-of-a-sniff for the hosts as Matthews heads well wide following Buchanan's deep right wing cross.
50 mins - Both sides trading the ball here at the minute as the rain comes down...
46 mins &nbsp;And we're off for the second half here. No changes for either side.
HALF-TIME That's the break here in South Wales...check back in 15 minutes for the second half.
45 mins - One added minute until the half-time oranges.
42 mins - Back come the hosts and it really should be 1-0 to the men in amber as wicked right-wing cross is stopped brilliantly by Osano's foot with Yakubu lurking with a header that had he not been put off by Osano would have scored.
41 mins - CHANCE. And the Town should be ahead as Fleetwood's throughball finds Alex Lawless free inside the box but his low effort, trying to sneak it under the goalkeeper, only finds Potter's legs.
36 mins - Been away, but because there's been little to report on in truth. But then Newport have a decent one as Osano miscontrols the ball which allows Foley to race away but his left-foot shot is straight into the arms of Pilkington.
26 mins - Back come the Town as they race up the other end and engineer their best attack of the game so far. Fleetwood does well to play Osano in down the right who looks up and curls a cross into the 'corridoor of uncertainty' in the Newport box. The home keeper gets the slightest of touches on it that does enough to put off Howells at the back post who tries to turn home the ball at the back post.
24 mins - Two chances for the hosts in the space of seconds as firstly Sam Foley's shot is blocked by Pilkington before the rebound falls into the path of Buchanan who sees a firm shot bravely blocked by Taylor.
20 mins - Town currently on the back foot at the minute. Little clear cut chances so far for either side. Yet.
16 mins - Newport coming into this a bit more, looking confident going forward and neat footwork from Sam Foley gets him away from Pilkington before he blasts over the crossbar from the edge of the area. Always rising.
11 mins - Conditions very windy here, very awkward. The gusts aren't favouring any side.
8 mins - Back come the Hatters as they begin to get into things here as firstly Greg Taylor attempts to stab home at the near post following Jake Howells' left wing corner before Newport fail to clear their lines which allows Jamie Hand to find Stuart Fleetwood at the back post but the striker's header from a narrow angle is straight into the hands of Danny Potter.
4 mins&nbsp;- First effort of the game arrives for the hosts as Elliott Buchanan looks up 25 yards out and tries his luck with a low shot that Kevin Pilkington is equal to.
2 mins - As we're unchanged you'll know it will be K. Pilks in goal a back four of Osano, Taylor, G Pilks and Kovacs, Dance and Howells on either flank, Hand and Lawless in centre mid and O'Connor and Fleetwood up top.
1 min Annnnnd we're off as the Town kick-off shooting towards their 300 or so fans away to our right. Enjoy the updates. COYH.
14:55 HERE THEY COME
Out come the two sides onto the Spytty Park pitch, with the Hatters all in white.
14:50 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS
Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 2-1 Luton.
14:35 TODAY'S TEAMS
Town: K. Pilkington, Osano, G. Pilkington, Kovacs, Taylor, Dance, Lawless, Hand, Howells, Fleetwood, O'Connor. Subs: Crow, Keane, Willmott, Brunt, Tyler.
Newport: Potter, Yakubu, Rose, Foley, Doherty, Hughes, Hatswell, Pipe, Matthews, Rodgers, Buchanan. Subs: Warren, Rogers, McAllister, Knights, Thompson.
14:25 TOWN UNCHANGED
Town boss Gary Brabin keeps the faith with the same side that drew 1-1 with Cambridge United last Saturday.
13:55 65 YEARS AND WAITING
The Hatters will be aiming for their first win in Newport since winning 3-1 back in October 1946.
12:00 WEATHER WATCH
Arrived here in South Wales and three hours to kick-off its pretty windy here with the sun trying to peer through the clouds.
11:00 IN SEARCH OF CONSISTENCY
Town boss Gary Brabin's press conferences in recent weeks have talked about one thing and one thing alone: consistency.
And for good reason given, as he stated yesterday, the Hatters' inconsistency had led to them dropping nine points behind the league leaders Wrexham who occupy that sole spot required for automatic promotion to the Football League.
Yet, on the other hand, you could argue that the Hatters' performances over the past month have been consistency inconsistent.
FA Cup victories against Hendon and Northampton aside, it's the Blue Square Bet Premier that takes precedence and the Town chief will be acutely aware of his team's recent record in that important bread and butter.
As Brabin also said yesterday, he is hoping today's trip to Newport County AFC can kick-start a winning sequence of results.
The form guide is often a good pointer and no doubt Brabs will be frustrated - but not surprised - to read that it's two wins, two draws and two defeats from their last six matches in league competition.
As Brabin says, if the Town are to mount a serious challenge then that record must improve but, at this stage of the season - with over half of the campaign remaining - he's quite right to avoid pushing any big orange panic button just yet.
It's fair to say that trying to evaluate the Hatters' home and away record is as easy as attempting to understand the Liverpudlian tones of the precocious John Paul Kissock. What we do know is that away from Kenilworth Road the Town have only lost once - however, journeys back home from far flung away grounds have often been frustrating as six draws testifies.
It's hard to predict what will happen this afternoon at Spytty Park but if the Town can replicate their first half showing from last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Cambridge United then the 200-mile trip back East will be a happy one.
Well, whatever happens today, and indeed throughout the season, your official website will have everything covered: every step of the way.
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