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22:59 9th April 2012


Town 4
Fleetwood 13, 44, Keane 53, Gray 72 Hayes & Yeading United 2
Wishart 21, Kovacs (og) 56 The Paul Buckle era at Kenilworth Road got off to the best possible start as the Town recorded their first win in nine games to see off Hayes & Yeading. Stuart Fleetwood put the Town ahead with a fine individual effort on 13 minutes but the visitors levelled through Daniel Wishart eight minutes later. Fleetwood though got his second a minute before half-time with an unerring volley and eight minutes after the restart Keith Keane made it 3-1 from Fleetwood's cross. An own goal from Janos Kovacs three minutes later brought United back in it but Andre Gray's fourth goal in as many games sealed victory on 72 minutes to breathe fresh life in the Town's push for promotion. The new boss made three changes to the side that was humbled 3-1 at Braintree Town on Saturday. Godfrey Poku, Fleetwood and Robbie Willmott were all given starts. Aaron O'Connor and Shane Blackett were dropped to the substitutes' bench while Andre Boucaud missed out altogether. Starting 4-4-2 the Town began with promise: Gray combined well with Alex Lawless that saw the latter cross but a last-ditch clearance denied Willmott a tap-in and the Hatters a chance for an early lead. Hayes & Yeading, fighting for their lives against relegation, had won at Southport in their last away fixture and they almost took a shock lead on 11 minutes when Wishart's fine effort from the edge of the box was turned away brilliantly by Mark Tyler with the ball hurtling towards the top corner. At that stage United were bossing things as the Hatters struggled to contain the lively visiting attack. But, as they say, you need to take your chances when you're on top, and the Town took advantage of the visitors' failure to put their noses in front by going ahead themselves in fine style in the 13th minute through Fleetwood. Faced by a wall of visiting defenders the striker looked up, dribbled past three defenders before hitting a stylish finish beyond the reach of Hayes goalkeeper Steve Arnold. The relief was obvious for everyone, none more so for Fleetwood, who shrieked with delight in front of the Main Stand. It was his 12th of the season. The new manager said in his first press conference that he will insist on his team going out a get another goal straight away but, after Gray had headed a decent chance straight into the arms of Arnold on 20 minutes, Hayes levelled. A free-kick swung in from the left was nodded high, high into the sky by Aiden O'Brien. The ball dropped like a stone in the Town six-yard box and before any man in orange could react, Wishart poked the ball over the line to silence Kenilworth Road. Undeterred by that set-back the Town restoring their advantage. Another last-ditch challenge from a visiting defender denied Willmott a tap-in on 24 minutes but Hayes then almost snatched the lead two minutes later when Dan Spence turned Kovacs to speed clear of the Town defence and roll a cross-cum-shot inches wide of the post. An air of frustration seemed to engulf Kenilworth Road midway through the half as the Town went in search of the lead again only to find their route to goal blocked by the visitors as Curtis Osano and Keane were fired efforts off target from distance. But the Town continued to probe and their patience was rewarded a minute before half-time with a vital goal taken in superb fashion. Gray did the donkey work down right wing, hanging up a deep cross which was flicked on at the near post by a visiting defender. If anything that touch helped Fleetwood as he pulled the trigger: volleying home an unerring finish, in off the crossbar. Goal number 13 for the season for the number 13. Hayes were well and truly unsettled by that goal so close to half-time and the Town almost went in at the break 3-1 up. Jake Howells laid a chance on a plate for Gray 10 yards out, only for the in-form striker to skew a side-foot shot wide. Happily for the Town, encouraged by a smidgen over 6,000 inside Kenilworth Road, they did get that third goal eight minutes after the half-time oranges were consumed. Fleetwood orchestrated the move, flying down the left before cutting a reverse pass into the path of Howells, and his high cross was perfect for Keane to tuck home from five yards having bust a gut to get into the goalscoring position. With a two-goal cushion in the bag the Hatters almost had their lead reduced two minutes later: Lawless coming to their rescue when heading Mark Bentley's goal-bound header off the line. It was a warning not heeded. Moments later it was 3-2 when Kovacs sliced into his own net after the Hatters failed to deal with a set-piece swung in from the left and flicked on by Tom Cadmore. Given their recent form you wouldn't have bet against the Town folding through a lack of confidence but, after the visitors came close to a freak leveller when Poku's clearance hit a defender and needed tipping over by Tyler, they assumed control once more. Gray tested Arnold's reflexes on 67 minutes when he thundered an effort from just inside the box that flew towards the top corner and needed parrying away spectacularly by the Hayes keeper.The, from the resultant corner, Kovacs couldn't guide the ball over the line from a yard out. However, on 72 minutes the Town re-established their two goal cushion with another fabulous strike. Gray's endeavour, raw energy and technique - not to mention his goals - have been a rare highlight for the Hatters in recent weeks, and the striker further enhanced his growing reputation as he hammered an unstoppable effort past Arnold to make it 4-2 having combined well with strike-partner Fleetwood. That goal knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and from that point onwards there was only one winner as the Hatters sensed a fifth. Lawless curled over an effort on 74 minutes, Kovacs sent a bullet header inches wide of the target two minutes later before Willmott blasted a pot-shot wide on 77 minutes. Fleetwood's performance had been a joy to watch and he came a lick of paint away from crowing a man-of-the-match display with a hat-trick when he saw a powerful drive comeback off of the post five minutes from time. Gray and Fleetwood left the pitch to standing ovations as Buckle made his first changes but, try as they might, the Hatters couldn't force home a fifth. It mattered not. It was the Town's first victory since the 2-0 win over Bath on 3rd March and the relief around the ground - in the stands and on the pitch - was evident. Confidence is a wonderful thing. A win, by any means, would have been taken given the turmoil of recent weeks. A new era, a new start, and at last, three points. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from Kenilworth Road Luton Town 4 (Fleetwood 13, 44, Keane 53, Gray 72) Hayes & Yeading United 2 (Wishart 21, Kovacs (og) 56) FULL-TIME All over here, Town back to winning ways, their first win in nine games. Report, reaction and photographs to come. COYH. 90 mins + 2 - Half a sniff for the Hatters as tenacious play from Howells finds Lawless but he fires way over. 90 mins Third and final sub for the Town, Shane Blackett on for Willmott. 90 mins - Into the last minute... 88 mins - And another effort on goal, Kovacs volley straight at Arnold following a left-wing corner. 87 mins Town sub, Fleetwood off to a standing ovation, replaced by Craig McAllister. 85 mins - Town trying to get that fifth but it just won't happen, Fleetwood, has been impressive this afternoon, goes mighty close to getting his hat-trick with a shot from just inside the box after working a yard of space but his shot comes back off the foot of the post. 83 mins - Any touch and it's almost five, Lawless can't guide home Osano's dangerous low cross from the right. 81 mins First Town change of the afternoon, John Paul Kissock replaces Gray. 77 mins - Town now trying from all angles. Willmott's piledriver isn't far off. Arnold was worried, frantically diving to his right. 76 mins - Another chance for the Hatters to make it five. Willmott corner, bullet header a foot wide from Kovacs. 74 mins - Almost five, Howells cuts it back to Lawless who curls over a left-foot shot inches over the bar. 72 mins GOAL! TOWN 4-2 Hayes & Yeading (Gray) - There's the cushion again and it's 4-2 in emphatic style. The Town break at pace, Stuart Fleetwood superb in his work-rate. He sets ANDRE GRAY on his way and after getting the ball back from Fleetwood the young striker hammers a fine, fine goal arching past Arnold. Four in four for Andre. Get in. 70 mins - 6,003 inside Kenilworth Road this afternoon with 79 shouting for the visitors. 67 mins - Great hit and it's almost 4-2 as Gray thunders a shot from the edge of the box that surprises Arnold but the keeper does well to turn the ball over. From the resultant corner Arnold paws the ball to Keane who lofts it to the back stick for Kovacs but, a yard out, the defender chests the ball down but can't guide the ball home. 62 mins - Then the Town break at pace with Fleetwood searing down the left brilliantly. He checks back inside, looks up and spots Gray unmarked in the area with a great pass but the striker's effort is first time and is wayward. 61 mins - Almost a freak leveller for the visitors, Poku's clearance hits Wishart on the edge of the area, loops up and has to be tipped over the crossbar by Tyler. 58 mins - All go here, almost a chance for 4-2 as Lawless does well in the box to tee up Willmott who goes for goal but his effort is blocked bravely by Cadmore, who earns the praise of his team-mates. 56 mins GOAL! Town 3-2 HAYES & YEADING (Kovacs own goal) - Bang goes that cushion as Hayes cut the deficit. A right-wing free-kick is headed on by Cadmore whose effort appears to be heading wide before Janos Kovacs diverts the ball into his own goal. 3-2 now. 55 mins - Almost 3-2 as Lawless comes to the Town's aid, heading Mark Bentley's goal-bound header off of the line. 53 mins GOAL! TOWN 3-1 Hayes & Yeading (Keane) - There's the cushion they've been after. Fleetwood does well to slip a reverse pass into the path of Howells who hangs up a high cross into the box that is met by the on-rushing head of KEITH KEANE who slides home to beatr Arnold 50 mins - Little to report so far here in the second half. 46 mins Annnnd we're off away again as the Hatters kick-off shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end. HALF-TIME Two great goals from Stuart Fleetwood have the Town in front at the break here. It's not been a straightforward first-half but the Hatters are ahead and that's all that matters. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half. 45 mins - Almost a sniff for 3-1, Howells cross on a plate for Gray, side-foot effort wide. 44 mins  GOAL! TOWN 2-1 Hayes & Yeading (Fleetwood) - You're not going to find a better goal than this today, absolutely brilliant technique from STUART FLEETWOOD puts the Town in front again. Gray's cross from the right is flicked on at the near post and finished in style by the striker, on the volley. In off the bar. Thank you very much. 41 mins - Another yellow for the Town, Gray goes in the book for a crunching challenge on the far side. 40 mins - Sustained pressure from the Hatters ends with Lawless firing a shot with the outside of his boot wide after Willmott's knock-down. 38 mins - Town probing here as we approach the break. 35 mins - 10 minutes to the break here. Been far from plain sailing for the Town so far this afternoon. 33 mins - First booking is for Fleetwood, gets a yellow for mouthing off at the ref after a handball decision. 32 mins - Back come the Town, Keane hits one first time, as he is urged to do so, but is effort isn't harming Arnold. 31 mins - Almost a sniff for 2-1 Hayes, as Bentley gets the better of Pilkington before trying his luck with a low shot from 20 yards that trickles inches wide. 30 mins - It is a shot on goal but Curtis Osano won't want to see this again as he shanks a left-foot effort high and wide from the edge of the box. 29 mins - Getting a bit fiesty in the centre of midfield. Excellent play from Poku gets the crowd on their feet once more. 26 mins - Hayes & Yeading are really going for this and threaten once more. This time Dan Dan Spence beats Janos Kovavs to run through down the inside left-channel. He almost doesn't know what to do: shoot or cross. The result: the ball misses everyone and rolls out of play dangerously across goal. 24 mins - Back come the Town, almost back ahead as Gray's low cross looking for Willmott to tap in from close range is cleared by Sam Argent before the winger can get to it. 21 mins  GOAL! Town 1-1 HAYES & YEADING (Wishart) - From almost 2-0 at one end to 1-1 at the other. From a free-kick over on the lef Aiden O'Brien's header loops high towards goal. It drops right in front of goal which allows DANIEL WISHART to prod home from a yard out. Silence at Kenilworth Road. 20 mins - Good move from the Hatters here as Willmott finds Howells down the left with a lung-busting run forward, his cross, headed at goal by Gray, straight at Arnold in the Hayes goal. 17 mins - Town probing for a second now. That's what Paul Buckle asked his players to do when talking yesterday. That's Fleetwood's 12th goal of the season. 13 mins  GOAL! TOWN 1-0 Hayes & Yeading (Fleetwood) - Hayes had done well in the opening 12 minutes but a moment of magic from STUART FLEETWOOD has put the Town ahead. He receives the ball from Alex Lawless 25 yards out, and runs at goal, beating three men in the process before arrowing a fabulous clean strike into the bottom corner. His celebration is noticable too, he shrieks with delight. That goal meant a lot. 12 mins - The visitors definitely on top here at the minute. 11 mins - Almost 1-0 Hayes and the Town have a stunning stop from Mark Tyler to keep it level as Daniel Wishart's effort from the edge of the area is heading towards the top corner before the goalkeepe's intervention. Then, from the corner, Tom Cadmore thwacks an effort from the edge of the box which is blocked in the box. 8 mins - Not a lot to tell you about in truth so far. Neither keeper been called into action here early doors. 4 mins - It's 4-4-2 for the Town today, Lawless on the right wing, Howells on the left, Poku and Keane in the middle. Fleetwood and Gray up top. 3 mins - Early encouragment for the Hatters as they work it well down right, Gray combining well with Lawless for the latter to cross but with Willmott unmarked in the box the midfielder can't pick out his team-mate. 1 min Annnnnnnd we're off here as Hayes get us off and underway here. Town kicking towards the Oak Road end in this first half. 14:55 HERE THEY COME Out to the boys are back in Town... 14:45 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 3-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 2-0 Luton, Mike Simmonds: 2-0 Luton, James Cunliffe: 1-0 Luton, Mark Wood: 3-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 3-1 Luton. 14:30 WEATHER WATCH Rain has gone, it's a bit nippy in the air. Overcast with 30 minutes to kick-off. 14:10 THREE CHANGES Stuart Fleetwood, Robbie Willmott and Godfrey Poku start for the Town in Paul Buckle's first game in charge. Shane Blackett, Aaron O'Connor drop to the bench and Andre Boucaud misses out altogether. Town: Tyler, Osano, Pilkington, Kovacs, Howells, Lawless, Willmott, Keane, Poku, Fleetwood, Gray. Subs: Watkins, McAllister, Blackett, Kissock, O'Connor. Hayes & Yeading: Arnold, Argent, Hand, Cadmore, Williams, Wishart, Bentley, Pele, O'Brien, Spence, Mingoia. Subs: Owusu, Warren, Collins, Beasant, Walsh. 13:35 A BIG DAY IN OUR HISTORY 9th April has been quite a significant day in our history. In 1988 the Town lost to Wimbledon in the FA Cup semi-final. In 1989 Nottingham Forest beat us in the League Cup final. In 1994 Chelsea beat us in an FA Cup semi-final. In 2006 we earned a point at Watford thanks to a late goal from Ahmet Brkovic and last year the Hatters thumped Southport 6-0 at Kenilworth Road. For the record it's played 23, won eight, lost 11, drawn fou, scored 35 and conceded 28 on this day in history. 13:00 WET WET WET Bring a brolly on your way up to the ground because it's raining cats and dogs at the minute. 12:00 NEW ERA If you're reading this and wondering what all the fuss is about, where have you been? As my old journalism lecturer said "have you been living in a cave?" On Good Friday the Town revealed that Paul Buckle was the man to succeed Gary Brabin. On Sunday, after watching the Hatters bashed by Braintree, the new man took over: he met the press and then set about work on the training pitch. Talking to the press, Buckle was honest. He knows that his job in turning around the Town's fortunes isn't going to be easy. On the contrary, "there's a lot of work to be done here to make us successful" he said. You can read the new boss' words of wisdom here, but Buckle will be hoping that yesterday's training session at Kenilworth Road, and the heart-to-heart talks he held with the team after Saturday's defeat, have the desired effect on the pitch this afternoon when Hayes & Yeading United roll into Town. Nas Bashir's side are desperate for the points. Nothing less than victory will be good enough for the visitors this afternoon in their quest to avoid relegation. Seventh in the table and three points off the play-offs the Hatters, too are equally in need of the points. But it's not just the importance of getting three points. A win would mean so much more after a run of six league games (eight in all comps) without a victory. One of Buckle's soundbites from yesterday was "The biggest thing in football, in life, is confidence. If you've got it, you can go forward. If you haven't, you tend to take a step back." He knows - we all know - that the players are currently lacking some of that magical stuff that all great sides need. Invigorated by a new manager and roared on by 6,000-plus supporters together we can all help them: A new era starts today. #COYH. Well, whatever happens today, and indeed for the rest of 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 Paul Buckle 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 - 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 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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