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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:04 18th February 2012

TOWN 3-0 TAMWORTH - REPORT & ANALYSIS

Town 3
Fleetwood 15, Kovacs 63, Francis (og) 79 Tamworth 0 The Town eased past Tamworth to extend their unbeaten run in the Blue Square Bet Premier to 13 games. The Hatters dominated for large periods and deservedly took the lead after a quarter of an hour when Stuart Fleetwood slotted home. In the second half Janos Kovacs headed home the Town's second before he tried to cheekily claim Francino Francis' late own goal that put the hosts three to the good. It could have been a lot more too. Kovacs saw another header brilliantly saved, Greg Taylor came close, debutant Andre Boucaud saw a 20-yard drive well-saved and Adam Watkins saw a header hit the post in the dying stages. It was a performance and result as comfortably as the scoreline suggested on a day in which Gary Brabin made four changes to the side that beat Kidderminster 2-1 in the FA Trophy last time out. The game began in sodden conditions as heavy rain teemed down and it was the Town that made the brighter start on a grey day. Tamworth may have had the first chance when a Liam McDonald shot from inside the six-yard box was deflected narrowly wide on nine minutes but that was no more than a sniff and it was the Hatters that took the lead on 15 minutes. Osano drove a shot at goal after being urged to shoot from 30 yards. The ball rolled through into the path of Fleetwood who took a touch eight yards out, rounded Jonathon Hedge and tucked home his 10th goal of the season. The Hatters were now well on top with Boucaud enjoying a fine opening 20 minutes which included two superb cross-field passes setting Aaron O'Connor and Osano flying down the right flank. Osano's afternoon was cut short immediately after the opening goal after taking a knock and was replaced by Watkins. Tamworth, who came to Kenilworth Road having taken four points from their last two away fixtures at Cambridge and Fleetwood, had offered little in attack but they almost silenced the home faithful with an equaliser on 23 minutes when Jean Paul Marna's goal-bound volley was headed clear by Greg Taylor. Half chances came both side's way in a 60-second spell on 34 minutes when Chez Isaac flashed a shot wide for the Lambs before Boucaud did the same for the Town after the visitors had failed to clear a left-wing corner. Fleetwood came close to doubling his and the Town's tally on 41 minutes when the striker combined with O'Connor to poke a weak shot at Hedge. The Hatters were looking comfortable at the back and threatening going forward, but they almost let the Lambs in for an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Kyle Patterson's shot almost found an unmarked Chris Reece for a tap-in but George Pilkington was on hand to clear the danger. After the break a power-cut saw the floodlights fail but with plenty of light left in the skies the Town went about extended their lead. Fleetwood and Kovacs came close to making it 2-0 10 minutes after the restart with two headers before Hedge stopped a Francis header from ending up in his own net on 58 minutes. The impressive Boucaud then saw a low drive beaten away by Hedge shortly after the hour but on 63 minutes the Town made their pressure count when they doubled their lead. John Paul Kissock's floated free-kick found Kovacs unmarked at the back post and he couldn't miss from close range to head his third goal of the season. The Hungarian came close to scoring again on 73 minutes when his close range header was acrobatically tipped away by Hedge as the Town pushed for a third. But that third eventually came 11 minutes from time when a Fleetwood cross from the left was knocked back across goal from the right by Howells and, under pressure from Kovacs, Francis bundled the ball past his own goalkeeper from six yards. The Town continued to probe for further goals with the Lambs offering little in attack. Watkins shot wide on 85 minutes moments after the floodlights turned back on before Taylor came within inches of making it four with a low drive after a surging run forward. Watkins then saw a header hit the post from an Alex Lawless cross and in the end that was that as the Town comfortably secured another three points to further establish their place in the top five. Next up Barrow away midweek. Not for the faint hearted and a real test. See you there. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Luton Town 3 (Fleetwood 15, Kovacs 63, Francis og 79) Tamworth 0 Result FULL-TIME It's all over here and the Town extend their unbeaten run to 13 league games. Standby for full report, photos and reaction. 90 mins - Into the final minute here. 87 mins - And again, closer this time from Watkins who heads a Lawless cross from the right onto the post. 86 mins - Another chance to make it 4-0, this time Taylor inches wide after surging into the box down the left. 85 mins - Still the Town probing looking to extending their lead further. Watkins shoots wide from the edge of the box. 82 mins - The power is back on here. Happy days. The floodlights power up and up goes the cheers. 79 mins  GOAL! TOWN 3-0 Tamworth (Francis og) All over here bar the shouting as the Town lead 3-0. Fleetwood pings a  cross to Howells at the back post who knocks the ball square across goal and with the goal gaping Janos Kovacs nudges the ball onto Francino Francis who puts the ball past his own keeper. The Hungarian deperately tries to claim it! 73 mins - So close to 3-0 here as Watkins and Howells work it well down the left for the latter to hang a high cross to Kovacs who sees a header brilliantly saved by Hedge. The ball then drops to McKoy who heads inches wide of his own goal. Town pressing for a third here. 70 mins - 20 minutes left here but the floodlights are still off, let's hope there's light! 65 mins Town change, off comes Kissock for Craig McAllister. 63 mins  GOAL! TOWN 2-0 Tamworth (Kovacs) But now it is 2-0...If you were a defender would you leave JANOS KOVACS unmarked in the box? Yes? Well Tamworth have done precisely that and it has cost then. Kissock wins a free-kick and then floats it to the back post where the big Hungarian is lurking to head home his third goal of the season. 61 mins - Chance for 2-0 as Boucaud cuts inside on the edge of the box and fizzes a shot goalwards that Hedge has to paw away. 58 mins - Oh, Hedge comes to Tamworth's rescue as a Howells shot from the edge of the box is deflected goalwards by Francino Francis. It's heading into the bottom corner until the goalkeeper's diving stop. 55 mins - Hello everyone, we've got a power cut here but the game is still on despite the floodlights being off. The only chance so far were headers from Kovacs and Fleetwood that caused confusion in the home penalty area. HALF-TIME And that's the break here at Kenilworth Road and the Town have Stuart Fleetwood's 10th goal of the season to thank for putting them ahead. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half. 45 mins - Almost a sniff of an equaliser for the Lambs as Kyle Patterson breaks into the area and gets a shot away but as the ball rolls to goal Pilkington needs to slide clear the danger with Charlie Reece lurking for what would have been a tap-in. 41 mins - Chance for 2-0 and a second for Fleetwood as the goalscorer sees a shot saved by Hedge in the visitors' goal after latching onto a long pass from Pilkington. 35 mins - ...followed by another, this time from the Town as Boucaud bashes a shot from 25 yards out wide after Tamworth had failed to clear a left-wing corner from Kissock. 34 mins - Off target effort - and not by much - by Tamworth's on-loan midfielder Chez Isaac... 30 mins - Don't worry, still here, just not a lot to talk about. Still 1-0. 23 mins - Back come Tamworth and they're unlucky not to test Tyler. Jean Paul Marna's excellent volley his heading goalwards at pace before a flying header from Greg Taylor diverts the danger. Great clearance. 16 mins Straight after the goal, Osano has taken a knock and has been replaced by Adam Watkins. Alex Lawless drops to right back and Watkins goes into central midfield. 15 mins  GOAL! TOWN 1-0 Tamworth (Fleetwood) He's a man in good form in front of goal and he's got another as STUART FLEETWOOD takes Curtis Osano's deflected shot into his path, rounds the goalkeeper, who should do better, and tucks home his 10th goal of the season. Get in 14 mins - Not had 15 minutes yet and there's a Tamworth man in book as Nick McKoy gets a yellow for a foul on Boucaud. 9 mins - First sniff of goalmouth action is for the visitors as Liam McDonald sends a shot towards Mark Tyler that takes a deflection off a Town man for a corner that Tyler punches clear. 7 mins - The Hatters remain on top here as the rain continues to lash down. No chance for either side yet but Andre Boucaud showing some nice touches and passes early doors. 3 mins - Sodden conditions already here, but the Hatters are on top, lining up 4-3-3 with a back four of Osano, Pilks, Kovacs and Taylor, Lawless holding in centre mid behind Kissock and Boucaud, Howells is on the left in attack, O'Connor is on the right and Fleetwood is down the middle. 1 min  As the rain pours, it's Tamworth that kick-off. The Town are shooting towards the Oak Road end this half. Enjoy the updates. 14:56 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides, standby for handshakes, coin tosses and maybe huddles. Then we'll be all set. 14:45 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 3-1 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-1 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 3-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-0 Luton, Lauren Archell: 3-1 Luton. 14:10 FOUR CHANGES Gary Brabin makes four changes to the side that beat Kidderminster 2-1 in the FA Trophy last time out. In come George Pilkington, Janos Kovacs, Aaron O'Connor and Andre Boucaud, who makes his debut. Town: Tyler, Osano, G. Pilkington, Kovacs, Taylor, Lawless, Kissock, Boucaud, Howells, Fleetwood, O'Connor. Subs: Crow, McAllister, Willmott, Watkins, K. Pilkington. Tamworth: Hedge, Tait, Francis, Marna, Reece, McDonald, Patterson, Green, Izaac, Barrow, McKoy. Subs: Courtney, St Aimie, Thomas, Gudger, Christie. 13:45 ON THIS DAY The Town's record on this day isn't particularly inspiring: winning just five of 15 matches. The last victory came at Kenilworth Road in 1995 when a Terry Horlock own goal and two from Dwight Marshall earned the Hatters a 3-0 win over Swindon Town in front of 6,595. Having said all of that the Town haven't lost in five games on this day in history, stretching back to 1967 when Exeter City beat the Hatters at St James Park. 13:25 COMING SOON Wait about 30 minutes and the two teams willbe announced. 12:50 WEATHER WATCH Grey and windy here at Kenilworth Road. 12:00 HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS... ...so the saying goes and, today, after three weeks away, the Hatters are back playing at Kenilworth Road. Not since the 1-0 win over Alfreton Town extended their unbeaten run in the Blue Square Bet Premier to 12 matches have Gary Brabin's side played in front of their loyal faithful. Indeed that was the last time the Hatters tasted league action. But he snow and ice that covered the country over the past few weeks has now disappeared, and the Town go in search of league points against Tamworth this afternoon - barring any freak and unscheduled snow storms between now and 5pm. The last time the two sides met the Hatters came out on top 3-1 at the Lamb, a game sighted by the boss as a turning point in their season. A game and a performance in which everything came together. Given their poor record at Tamworth it also laid a few ghosts to rest. The Lambs visit Bedfordshire having only won once since that match back on 17th December - but their last two results indicate that the bookies' cramped 2/5 odds on a home win today might not be as easy as some may think. That win - Marcus Law's side only win in nine - came at Cambridge United. Two weeks ago they did the Town and Wrexham a favour by holding Fleetwood Town to a draw at Highbury. We have been forewarned... But, as ever - and as Brabin says - it's all about the Hatters. Concentrating on their own game, not of the opposition. Kenilworth Road hasn't been the happiest of hunting grounds for the Town this season as three disappointing defeats highlights. But with the finishing line in sight the Hatters know by making their home a fortress they give themselves a real chance come April. All you need to do is believe. COYH. 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 Gary 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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