Lincoln City 1
The Town had two men sent-off in the last five minutes as they had to settle for a point at Sincil Bank.
Having led through Danny Crow's first half goal, the Town were pegged back by the Imps when they levelled with 13 minutes left when Richard Hinds rose to nod past Kevin Pilkington.
Alex Lawless and Jamie Hand both saw red in the final minutes as the Town attempted to restore their lead but neither side could find a winner which was welcomed more by the hosts than Gary Brabin's side.
It was the Town's seventh away draw of the campaign but with Wrexham beating Southport the deficit between the Hatters and top spot widened to 11 points at the half-way point in the season.
On a bitterly cold night, Brabin kept the faith with the same starting XI that lost to Cheltenham in Saturday's FA Cup tie. Ryan Brunt returned to the bench after being cup-tied.
And it was the Town that began on top, looking menacing going forward, and Brabin's men almost had a lead to celebrate on five minutes when patient football in the Lincoln half saw Robbie Willmott find Adam Watkins on the edge of the penalty box but the young midfielder's well-hit shot flashed just wide.
Lincoln were struggling to deal with the Hatters' passing and another fine move down the left on nine minutes resulted in a right-wing corner that led to the Town having the ball in the net. Unfortunately the eyes and flag of the assistant referee denied the Hatters a goal advantage that their bright early start deserved when O'Connor's well-timed header was chalked off with Willmott's corner adjudged to have bent out of play first before swinging back in.
Watkins was beginning to pull the strings in the heart of the Town midfield and on 13 minutes he sent Willmott scampering through with only Paul Farman to beat but the winger's shot was saved by the legs of the home stopper. The danger wasn't over, however, as Watkins saw a follow-up effort stopped by the hands of the keeper before having another shot blocked by Josh Gowling.
Lincoln then almost snatched the lead against the run of play two minutes later when Conal Platt found Alan Power unmarked in the Town penalty area but the midfielder could only screw a shot over Kevin Pilkington's crossbar.
While Lincoln were looking more likely to snatch a goal on the counter attack the Town were playing some decent stuff patiently on the deck. A lovely flowing move on 26 minutes almost saw the Hatters in front when Willmott's left wing cross was dummied by Jake Howells into the path of Watkins whose first time shot was kept out by a strong hand by Farman diving low to his right.
Lawless tested Farman's awareness three minutes later as the Hatters continued to press when his shot from range was gathered by the home goalkeeper before Power missed another decent opportunity for the hosts on 34 minutes when blazing over.
But the Town were playing the better football and deservedly took the lead on 36 minutes and while it wasn't the prettiest, there weren't many in the away end complaining. Willmott's left-wing corner found O'Connor at the near post and the scorer of two goals at the weekend did well to muscle his marker out of the way to tee-up Crow who gleefully poked home his fifth goal of the season.
As half-time approached the Hatters went in search of a second but after one minute of stoppage time was shown, Lincoln forced Kevin Pilkington into his first meaningful save of the match when he leapt to gather Kyle Perry's half-volley from the edge of the area.
Brabin was forced into a change at half-time when George Pilkington - who took a knock in the first half - was replaced by former Imp Jamie Hand. The boss later reveal the skipper was suffering from concussion.
The Hatters almost doubled their lead two minutes after the restart when Willmott's left-wing corner was whipped in dangerously to O'Connor but only last-ditch defending from the Imps cleared the danger.
Lincoln had made an attacking change at half-time and although they upped the ante in search of an equaliser it was the Town that continued to look the more likely to score the next goal: Howells volleyed a shot over the crossbar on 53 minutes after good work from Crow before O'Connor's daisycutter rolled inches wide a minute later following skilful play from Howells.
The Town were almost made to pay for spurning those chances as the hosts pushed forward on 59 minutes when Keane gifted the ball to substitute Jamie Taylor inside the box but the man who had only been on the pitch a minute curled the ball around the post with his first touch. Relief all round.
Taylor's arrival had certainly given new impetus into the Imps' attacking play as a flurry of half-chances came the hosts' way as the clock ticked past the hour mark with first Gowling and then Taylor heading high and wide.
Still the Imps pushed forward and Taylor should have done better on 72 minutes when haring down the left wing after nutmegging Dan Gleeson but his shot drifted wide with two team-mates better placed for a tap-in.
Lawless was inches away from finding the corner of the net with a header from Watkins' clever pass on 73 minutes and that missed chance proved costly as on 77 minutes the Imps levelled it up. Platt was able to hook a high ball into the box down the left and Hinds was able to head home from a yard out. It was the defender's first goal of the campaign.
The Town tried in vain to restore their lead in the remaining 10 minutes but their job became an uphill battle with five minutes left when Lawless was sent-off for a second bookable offence.
That spurred on the hosts and they almost snatched the lead a minute later when Jake Sheridan's cross was almost turned into his own net by former Imp Janos Kovacs. The Hungarian recovered excellently with the goal gaping and Taylor lurking for a tap-in and the Town survived.
Both sides went all out for all three points in the final minutes with Watkins coming the closest for the Town when flashing a shot wide of the post from the edge of the box in stoppage time.
Time was almost up when the Hatters were reduced to nine in men in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Hand was shown his second yellow card with virtually the last action of the game and when the final whistle sounded it was more frustration for the Town on the road.
For minute- by-minute analysis see below.
Result from Sincil Bank
Lincoln City 1 (Hinds 77)
Luton Town 1 (Crow 36)
FULL-TIME Reaction, full report and photos to follow.
90 mins + 4 - Hand off, second booking, Town down to nine.
90 mins + 3 - Chance for Watkins at one end, wide, another for Lincoln, in the side netting from Laurent.
90 mins - Four added...
89 mins - A minute left here...
86 mins - Almost an complete disaster for the Town as sub Sheridan's cross is nearly turned in by Kovacs. With the goal gaping Kovacs manages to hack clear before a Lincoln man can tap home.
85 mins - The Town have got to finish the game with 10 men, Alex Lawless has been shown a second yellow.
84 mins - Town coming forward now, Dance does well down the right, crosses for Brunt who attempts a near post flick which is blocked.
83&nbsp;mins - 2,049 inside Sincil Bank tonight with 327 backing the Town.
81 mins Third and final sub for the Town, O'Connor off for Ryan Brunt.
77 mins &nbsp;GOAL! LINCOLN 1-1 Town (Hinds) Well it has been coming...Platt does well down the left to lift a high cross into the box and with the Lincoln men queuing up to score RICHARD HINDS does just that to nod the equaliser.
76 mins&nbsp; Another Town booking, Hand in the ref's notebook. And then Hatters make a second change, James Dance replacing Willmott - who is booked for taking his time leaving the pitch.
73 mins - And then the Hatters almost make it 2-0 as Watkins picks out Lawless with a header that Farman does well to cling onto to prevent from creeping home.
72 mins - Almost a chance for 1-1 and again it's Taylor, nutmegged Gleeson brilliantly down the left. Lawless attempts to take him out as he flies down the flank (which he's then later booked for) but the Lincoln sub - who's definitely made a difference - gets his angles all wrong with a shot that bounces wide with his team-mates screaming for a cut-back.
70 mins - Twenty left on the clock here. Lincoln attempting to get back into this but Power again in a good position in the box this time fluffs it completely, missing his kick.
65 mins - First booking of the game arrives - Howells goes into referee's Clark's book.
61 mins - Half chance again for the Imps, off target header from Taylor who's certainly made a difference.
60 mins - Lincoln coming into this more now, deep free-kick pumped into the box and is headed over by Gowling at the back post, rising above the Town defence.
59 mins - Almost disaster for the Town as a long, low ball isn't dealt with by Keane who gifts the ball to substitute Jamie Taylor whose first touch is to cut inside and send a well-hit shot just around the post. Let off.
54 mins - Back come the Hatters immediately, Howells breaking down the left and taking on all-comers, eventually squaring to O'Connor 20 yards out whose low shot is only inches wide.
54 mins - Chance for Lincoln as they break with Tyrone Thompson but his effort is only harming the roof of the stand behind the goal.
53 mins - Not a lot to talk you through at the start of this half, Lincoln have upped the ante slightly but the Town almost have a sniff for 2-0 as Crow does well down the right to cross, Lincoln half-clear straight to Howells who volleys over.
48 mins - Hand is also an ex-Imp so forget what I said earlier about former Lincoln men in the Town line up!
46 mins &nbsp;Off and underway for the second half and the Town are forced into a change, George Pilkington is replaced by Jamie Hand and Keith Keane drops into centre-half.
HALF-TIME That's the break, the first 45 minutes over here and the Town lead 1-0 thanks to Danny Crow's 36th-minute goal. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half updates.
45 mins - One added minute at the end of the first half.
40 mins - Five minutes to the break and the Town are looking good value for their lead. Another goal before the break would be lovely.
37 mins - Ouch.&nbsp;Gleeson goes down under Kyle Perry's challenge. The right-back eventually gets to his feet feeling rather groggy. He's okay folks.
36 mins &nbsp;GOAL! Lincoln 0-1 TOWN (Crow) - Not the greatest goal but that's an important one. Willmott's left-wing corner is low to O'Connor at the near post who shrugs off his man and works a yard of space to nudge the ball into the path of DANNY CROW who stabs home from five yards.
34 mins - Chance for Lincoln and again Power should do better, side-footing wide when well-placed to meet Simon Russell's square pass from the left.
30 mins - Stoppage in play as George Pilkington is down after taking a knock but he's up and fine now.
29 mins - Hatters well on top again and again Farman has work to do, this time gathering Alex Lawless's low shot hit from 25 yards. Straight down the keeper's throat.
26 mins - Great chance and again it falls to Watkins. Again the Town break down the left, Willmott fizzing in a cross that Howells dummies. It's on a plate for Watkins to rifle it home but his decent effort is well-stopped by the gloves of Farman.
24 mins - A chance for the Town out of nothing as Watkins punts a right-wing cross into the box that edges goalwards and, with it dipping towards goal, Farman has to be alert to tip it behind for a corner...that Lincoln clear.
18 mins - Almost 20 gone here, pretty even now.
15 mins - Chance for the Imps and it really should be 1-0. Conal Platt does well outside the box to craft a chance for Power who finds himself unmarked in the Town penalty area. He turns unchallenged in the box but can only balloon his left-foot shot horribly over the bar. What a great chance and a let-off for the Town.
13 mins&nbsp;- Watkins pulling the strings for the Hatters and they come close again as the midfielder slips in Willmott who races through only to be denied by a sprawling save by Farman. The balls falls to Watkins who sees two follow-up efforts blocked, one by Farman, the other by a home defender.
10 mins - The Hatters are on top at the minute but Lincoln look dangerous on the break.
9 mins - Goal...or not, says the linesman. The Town work it well again down the left and Lincoln uncessarily clear for a corner. Willmott whips it in and O'Connor heads home brilliantly running from deep but the effort isn't going to count as the man with the flag says the corner had bent out before coming back in again. I can't tell from this angle.
8 mins - Chance and it's for the Hatters as the Hatters work it patiently...Lawless in centre mid, out to Willmott who feeds squares to Watkins on the edge of the box who thumps a shot just wide. Some thought that was it.
6 mins - Town marginally on top here so far. Aaron O'Connor
- after two goals on Saturday - is almost through on goal but is adjudged to have fouled centre back Gowling.
3&nbsp;mins - The Hatters lining up 433, Gleeson, Pilks, Kovacs and Howells across the back, Keane holding in midfield, Lawless and Watkins ahead of him with Willmott on the left wing, O'Connor on the right and Crow down the middle.
1 min Annnnnnd we're off and underway as the Town kick-off playing from left to right as we look here.
19:43 HOW THEY COME
Two sides out, Town in navy blue tonight. Lincoln in red. Handshakes and toin coss to follow and then we'll be set. Enjoy the updates COYH.
19:38 AWAY DAY TRAVELLERS
Mansfield have brought the most to Sincil Bank this season: 981 on a Tuesday night. Also on&nbsp;a Tuesday, Gateshead brought 36 here.
19:33 PRESS BOX PREDICTION
Andrew Barringer: 3-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 1-0 Luton, Simon Pitts, 1-1, Euan Duncan: 1-1, Bill Cole: 1-1, Ian Ryan: 2-0 Luton.
Janos Kovacs the only Town player in the 16 tonight who has played for Lincoln in the past.
19:22 COLD FINGERS
Apologies on the teams below...just noticed there were two K. Pilkingtons. Kevin isn't playing in goal and at&nbsp;centre half! George is, of course. Excuse any typos (more than usual) tonight. My fingers are already quite cold!
19:10 THE TEAMS
Lincoln: Farman, Sinclair, Hinds, Gowling, Nutter, Power, Thompson, Christophe, Russell, Platt, Perry. Subs: Taylor, Laurent, Nicolau, Sheridan, Anyon.
Town: K. Pilkington, Gleeson, G. Pilkington, Kovacs, Howells, Willmott, Keane, Lawless, Watkins, O'Connor, Crow. Subs: Fleetwood, Dance, Brunt, Hand, Tyler.
19:05 TOWN UNCHANGED
FULL TEAMS TO FOLLOW.
18:05 SINCIL BANK SUPERIORITY
The Town's overall record down the years against Lincoln is imp-ressive (that's the last time I do that - honest) having won 17 of the 33 meetings.
At Sincil Bank the Hatters haven't lost since an 8-1 hammering that happened 45 years ago on the Saturday just gone, 3rd December 1966.
The Town's record in the last 13 matches played in Lincoln reads played 13, won 5, lost 1, drawn 7.
17:20 ON THIS DAY
There's been little way of Hatters action on 6th December - having played just nine times on this day.
The last time was back in 2008 when the Town beat Barnet 3-2 at Kenilworth Road Paul McVeigh, Chris Martin and a Bees defender on target for Mick Harford's side.
That's one of three wins on this day, the other two being a 2-0 FA Cup win at Rochdale in 2003 and a 2-1 home win over Doncaster Rovers in 1947.
Perhaps the most famous - on infamous - result on this day for the Town was the 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Southern League Hillingdon Borough in 1969. According to my dad, it wasn't pretty. We're hoping for better tonight!
The full record on 6th December is Played 9, Won 3, Drawn 2, Lost 4, Scored 11, Conceded 13.
17:10 WEATHER WATCH
Wet and cold on a dark December day in Lincolnshire.
16:00 IMP-ORTANCE OF VICTORY
Forget the FA Cup, forget the frustration. And while you're at it forget Spurs and White Hart Lane (the same happened last year remember).
Regardless of the result on Saturday the Hatters' priorities wouldn't have altered. Yes, Tottenham Hotspur away would have been nice. Bring on Stockport County on the&nbsp;7th January instead.
The Blue Square Bet Premier is - and will always&nbsp;remain the number one priority this season for Gary Brabin and his squad.
No matter how much the frustration that the now extinguished prospect of the Town pitting their wits against a side of Harry Redknapp's calibre might gripe some - tonight the focus is firmly on league points as they travel to Lincoln City's&nbsp;Sincil Bank.
And it's league points the Hatters need going into the festive period. Notoriously labelled as a vital time for a team's end-of-season prospects, the Christmas and New Year programme is no different for Brabs and co. - who find themselves looking above at the one&nbsp;star at the top of the tree that lies nine points from their grasp.
Today, certain countries and cultures around the globe celebrate the life of Saint Nicholas - the man who's reputation for secret gift-gifting ultimately led to the model for Santa Claus.
While the Hatters' busy Christmas period doesn't kick-off for a fortnight or so, Brabin and his side will be hoping that tonight's game can give the Town faithful a little early stocking filler a couple of weeks in advance of the big day on the 25th.
Well, whatever happens tonight 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.
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Enjoy the game.