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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:12 14th April 2012

ALFRETON TOWN 0-0 TOWN - REPORT & ANALYS

Alfreton Town 0 Town 0 The Hatters remain unbeaten under new manager Paul Buckle but will be left thinking what might have after spurning a number of good chances at Alfteton. The Town dominated the first period and were unlucky not to be ahead at half-time in front after Andre Gray missed two good chances and hit the post with a thumping effort from 12 yards. But it was a different story after the break as Alfreton got on top and hosts hit the post themselves through Nathan Jarman as the Reds pressed for a winner. Buckle threw caution to the wind on the hour when making a triple substitution and, in the last minute of stoppage time, one of those substitutes, Andre Boucaud, saw a header cleared off the line meaning the Town had to settle for a point. The Town started confidently. Buckle named an unchanged team following last Monday's 4-2 victory over Hayes & Yeading and came mighty close to take a lead on 10 minutes. Janos Kovacs spread a fantastic cross-field pass into the path of Stuart Fleetwood who took a touch before curling a fine curling effort from the edge of the box that flew inches wide of the top corner. Alfreton, who had beaten Wrexham on Good Friday, were failing to deal with the Hatters' pace on the counter and Jon Stewart, the home goalkeeper, did well to prevent the Town from taking the lead on 27 minutes when a fine piece of skill in the penalty area saw Andre Gray work a yard of space before drilling a low shot that the keeper blocked with his legs. A minute later Gray came within a lick of paint from making it 1-0 when he raced into the box, seizing on Keith Keane's pass, but his shot, across goal, bounced agonisingly wide of the target with Stewart beaten. The Town were now enjoying their best spell of the first half and Gray came even closer to breaking the deadlock on 29 minutes when he latched onto Law's awry back-pass and turned another defender in the box before thumping a shot from 10 yards onto the post. There was a real zip and urgency about the Town's attack, especially on the break, and Gray's pace almost created an opener three minutes later when he zoomed past Connor Franklin, the Alfreton left-back, but - possibly caught in two minds - his attempted pass looking for Fleetwood was off target and the ball bounces harmlessly out of play. On 37 minutes Gray wasn't far away from connecting to Robbie Willmott's deep left-wing cross at the back-post before Godfrey Poku went into the book three minutes later. Alfreton had ridden the Hatters' storm as the break approached and, from the resultant free-kic,k Anton Brown's shot from 12 yards was blocked bravely by a combination of George Pilkington and Kovacs. The Hatters started really well after the restart, winning two corners in the first 60 seconds of the second half. From the second from Willmott, Kovacs' header across goal was hooked over the bar by Poku. Back came the hosts though: Daniel Meadows saw two efforts in the space of as many minutes with shots off target but, on the hour, Buckle made a treble substitution, introducing Dan Gleeson, Aaron O'Connor and Andre Boucaud for Curtis Osano, Poku and Willmott. Within two minutes of their introduction the Town thought they should have had a penalty when George Pilkington went down in the box under a challenge by home skipper Darran Kempson but referee Ross Joyce was unmoved. Alfreton though were enjoying the better of possession and they came close to make it 1-0 when Nathan Jarman's header from a right-wing corner. Jarman should have done even better six minutes later on 74 minutes when he rifled a shot wide of the target from eight yards. The Town were struggling to get in behind the Alfreton defence like they were in the first half but they thought they should have had a penalty two minutes from time when Gray's cross from the right looked to be handled by Franklin. Three added minutes were added at the end of the 90 and the Hatters were denied all three points at the death when Kovacs did brilliantly inside the box to beat his man and hang up a cross at the back post for Boucaud who saw his header somehow cleared off the line by Law. It was the last kick of the game and meant the Town's search of a first away win since New Year's Day continues. The season's hotting up now and the Hatters have an absolutely vital game at Kenilworth Road against Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night. BE THERE. For minute-by-minute analysis see below. Result from the Impact Arena Alfreton Town 0 Luton Town 0 FULL-TIME All over here, report, reaction, photographs to follow. 90 mins +  3 - Off the line, Boucaud header hacked clear somehow by Law following Kovacs cross. 90 mins - Three added minutes... 88 mins - Lawless pass down the line, Gray's low cross...handball? That's the cry of the Town support, but nothing is given. 84 mins - Time ticking here, another Hatters booking, Lawless for a foul on Meadows. 79 mins - Kovacs in the book for the Town. 11 minutes left here... 74 mins - Big let-off for the Hatters here as Franks' long throw is flicked-on to Jarman who, with time on his side, shoots wide. 68 mins - Chance, and it's for the hosts, from a right-wing corner Nathan Jarman's near-post header comes back off the post with Tyler beaten. Alfreton on top now. 62 mins - Town win a corner, Pilkington goes in the box under pressure from Kempson. Nowt given. 60 mins Treble sub for the Town on the hour. Dan Gleeson, Andre Boucaud and Aaron O'Connor on for Poku, Osano and Willmott. 56 mins - Another shot from Meadows, this time from a central position, a couple of yards wide. 54 mins - Almost half a sniff for Alfreton as Daniel Meadows robs Osano down the Town right to weave into the box but his shot isn't anything to write home about, as he wildly thrashes a shot high and well wide. 46 mins - Bright start to the second half for the Town. They win two corners, the second of which is knocked down by Kovacs but ballooned over the crossbar by Poku. 46 mins Annnnnnnnd we're off for the second half as Alfreton kick-off. No changes and the Town are now kicking towards their 889 supporters away to our right. HALF-TIME And that's the break, the Town have hit the woodwork and come close many times but it's goalless at the interval. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half live. COYH. 45 mins - One added minute... 43 mins - Once again over half the gate is made up of Town followers, there is 889 of them here in a total crowd of 1,654. 40 mins - First booking of the afternoon is for Poku for a foul on Franklin on the far side. From which Alfreton win their first corner, the ball breaks to Anton Brown in the box and his drive is blocked. 37 mins - Almost another chance for the Hatters, Howells finds Willmott haring down the left and he hangs up a cross to the back stick that Gray can't quite get to. Any touch and it would surely been 1-0. 35 mins - 10 minutes to the break, Town still on top and should be at least 1-0 up here. 33 mins - Nathan Arnold goes down in the box under pressure from Kovacs but the ref's not interested in the home side's claims. 32 mins - And again and it's Gray who speeds clear of the Alfreton defence but faced with either a shot or passing for Fleetwood to tap home...in the end he does neither, caught in two minds possibly he overhits the pass and the ball bounces out of play. 29 mins - Wow, another minute, another chance for Gray as he leaves the post rattling. He scrugs off Connor Franlklin 10 yards out and powers a shot that comes off the woodwork. What a chance. 28 mins - My word that should be 1-0 and it's Gray again with a super chance. Keane strides forward from the centre of midfield slips the ball into the number 27 who drills a low shot across goal. Didn't miss by much. 27 mins - First shot on target for the Town, lovely bit of skill from Gray gives him a yard of space to drill a low shot that Jon Stewart, the home keeper, gets down to block. Good effort and a decent save. 26 mins - Shot off target for the hosts direct from a free-kick as Josh Law curls over from 25 yards. He's the son of the home manager, Nicky. 23 mins - Town are playing 433 with Willmott and Gray on the wings, Fleetwood down the middle, Lawless in an attacking midfield role with Keane and Poku behind. 18 mins - Decent spell of possession for the Town. Osano eventually receiving the ball down the right to hang up a cross for Fleetwood to head goalwards. It doesn't have enough power and finds its way through to Willmott on the penalty spot but he's ahead of the play and is flagged offside. 15 mins - Quarter-of-an-hour gone here still goalless. Pretty even stuff so far. 10 mins - Chance. And the Town come mightly close to going 1-0 up as Janos Kovacs does brillaintly to surge forward from defence, sprays a fantastic pass out to Stuart Fleetwood who cuts inside on the edge of the box and curls a superb effort at goal that is inches away from finding the back of the net. Fabulous effort and unlucky. 8 mins - Not a lot to tell you about so far but then a freak bounce almost catches out Mark Tyler as Daniel Meadow's header hits the turf in the six-yard box. 4 mins - Set pieces have been a concern for the Town in recent weeks but the defence deal with a left-wing free-kick hung into the box. 2 mins - It's as you were for the Hatters, a bright start for Buckle's men early on. Poku, Fleetwood, Lawless and Howells showing some nice touches. 1 min And we're off as the Town kick-off, shooting away from their support in this first half. COYH. 14:56 HERE THEY COME Alfreton in red, Town in white. 800-1,000 in from Bedfordshire give them a cheer. 14:50 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 3-1 Luton, Mark Wood: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 3-1 Luton, Bill Cole: 2-1 Luton, Lauren Archell: 3-1 Luton. 14:20 THE TEAMS Alfreton: Stewart, Law, Franklin, Brown, Arnold, Franks, Jarman, Deverdics, Meadows, Kempson, Cunnington. Subs: Streete, Clayton, Wilson, Mullan, Conneely. Town: Tyler, Osano, Pilkington, Kovacs, Howells, Willmott, Keane, Poku, Lawless, Fleetwood, Gray. Subs: Boucaud, Gleeson, Blackett, McAllister, O'Connor. 14:05 TOWN UNCHANGED Following last the victory over Hayes & Yeading last Monday. 13:52 DAN GLEESON... Has travelled with the squad and has just walked passed the press box. 13:45 NUMBER TO BEAT 3,354 is the gate to beat here at the Impact Arena. That was Alfreton's highest of the season against Mansfield last month. There were over 2,000 from Mansfield here that night. 13:20 YOUNGSTERS DRAW A James Ferguson goal has earned the Hatters Under-18s a point in a 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient in the Youth Alliance this morning. 13:10 WEATHER WATCH A bit fresh here in Derbyshire. Plenty of cloud about but the sun is attempting to peer through them every now and then. 11:45 A WEEK'S A LONG TIME IN FOOTBALL... ...that's what they say. Easter Monday's 4-2 victory over Hayes & Yeading United not only ushered in the new era under new manager Paul Buckle with three points but also the Town's first win in nine games. It was a long time coming and relief positivity reverberated around Kenilworth Road at the full-time whistle. One game, one win. 'Doctor' Buckle's one training session before the Hayes & Yeading game was sufficient time to boost morale and, more importantly, confidence. And it worked. As the new boss said after Monday's victory it was the work ethic and the manner in which take took their goals that impressed him. If one day in the job produced such an encouraging result imagine what a whole week's training could do. But let's not get carried away. The Buckle Effect has begun but this afternoon the Town travel to Alfreton Town in search of their first away win since New Year's Day. That's the next on the manager's tick box. Not that he sees it that way. Just three points will do. Alfreton's form since the turn of the year places them in the top six of the division and Nicky Law's side all but ended Wrexham's chances of the title after earning a 1-0 win at the Racecourse on Good Friday. That's the kind of result that the Town need to be wary of but Alfreton will realise this will be a different team that will visit the Impact Arena this afternoon to the one that nudged past them with a narrow win at Kenilworth Road back in January. #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 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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