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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
00:25 25th April 2012

GATESHEAD 0-0 TOWN - REPORT & ANALYSIS

Gateshead 0 Town 0 The Town will need a point at champions Fleetwood on Saturday to confirm their place in the Blue Square Bet Premier Play-Offs after a goalless draw at Gateshead. The Hatters' goal lived a charmed life, especially at the end of each half. Jake Howells headed off the line in the last minute of the first half while Mark Tyler pulled off a fantastic save to prevent Greg Taylor's goal-bound clearance creeping home on 85 minutes. Then, in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the 90, James Marwood hooked a shot onto the post. It was a major let-off for the Town who had chances themselves, with Stuart Fleetwood and Andre Gray both going close, but the point ensures a dramatic last-day scenario at Fleetwood at the weekend. Paul Buckle kept the faith with the same side that beat Kidderminster at the weekend but it was the hosts - missing top-goal getter and one-time Town target Jon Shaw - that forged the the first chance in the second minute when Josh Gillies steered a shot just wide of the target. Back came the Hatters though. Gray won a corner that Robbie Willmott whipped in and after the ball was half-cleared Keith Keane volleyed wide. On five minutes, as the Town sought an early goal, Fleetwood spurned a good chance to break the deadlock when he fired over from six yards when meeting Alex Lawless' right-wing cross. It was blood and thunder stuff as a minute later Tyler came to the rescue of Adam Watkins after the midfielder's under-hit back-pass was almost met by Alan O'Brien. Back came the Hatters on seven minutes when Gray sped down the left having robbed his marker of the ball but his high cross intended for Fleetwood was headed clear at the vital moment by the hosts. Tyler had to be alert on 13 minutes when that man Gillies -who was becoming more-and-more involved in affairs - angled a drive from the edge of the area goalwards but the midfielder's effort was held well by the Town stopper. It was end-to-end stuff as both sides went in search of the opener: Gray was denied a chance by a last-ditch tackle on 16 minutes before O'Brien swept a shot wide having raced clear of the Town defence seconds later. Six minutes later Fleetwood almost made a chance out of nothing when charging down a weak goal-kick from Tim Deasy, the home goalkeeper, but with the angle against him, the striker's effort bobbled wide. The Town were now enjoying a fine spell and after Gray slid in Fleetwood the striker saw a rasping shot deflected behind for a corner on 24minutes. Back came the Tynesiders though, Gillies feeding Kris Gate who, left unmarked, drove a shot into the hands of Tyler on 25 minutes. Two minute later Willmott found the side-netting for the Town before home skipper Ben Clark found the fingertips of Tyler six  minutes later. And it was the hosts that ended the first half strongly. George Pilkington did brilliantly to snuff out the danger on 40 minutes before Gillies saw a toe-poke from close range deflected over the bar a minute later. But Gateshead continued to pour forward. Phil Turnbull wasn't faraway from finding the target with a well-hit effort on 42 minutes. There was brief respite for the Town on 43 minutes when Lawless fired over from 20 yards but on the stroke of half-time the hosts came mighty close to taking the lead when Cummins' header was cleared off the line by Howells. It was the second time in as many matches that Howells had saved his side with a goal-line clearance. That was the last chance of the first half and, having returned to the pitch from the dressing rooms a good five minutes before ther estart, the Town came close to going ahead 90 seconds later when Gray fired an angled shot from 12 yards that Deasy fumbled behind for a corner. Buckle made two substitutions in the space of three minutes as Godfrey Poku and Greg Taylor were introduced for Watkins and Willmott respectively. But both sides were struggling to fashion chances as time began to tick down and it wasn't until the 70th minute that a chance came a side's way. Cummins' dangerous low cross was cleared by Janos Kovacs before Carl Magnay's header from the resultant corner dropped inches wide to the relief of the Town. Poku's night came to premature end on 72 minutes, 18 minutes after his introduction, when he was on the receiving end of a nasty Gateshead challenge that saw him withdrawn for Craig McAllister. On 77 minutes the Town had their best chance of the game when Fleetwood stole a march on the home defence, beat Deasy to the ball but saw his shot from the edge of the penalty area cleared off the line. A minute later McAllister opted to pass for Fleetwood when free in the penalty box as the Town continued to press for a winner. McAllister was having an impact in attack for the Town and his towering header sent Lawless away in the penalty area and his cut-back was rifled at Deasy by Howells. However, the Town, pushing forward, almost went behind with five minutes left to play when Taylor's sliced clearance arched goalwards. To the Hatters' relief, Tyler pawed away the effort and it remained goalwards. Just like at the end of the first half it was the hosts that upped the ante as time ticked down and after a series of dangerous crosses were pumped into the box, Gateshead spurned one final chance in the first minute of stoppage time when Marwood saw a close range effort strike the post after Cummins' header from a corner caused panic in the Town penalty area. The Town breathed a collective sigh of relief and that was that. A point won, or two points, we will find out on Saturday. A point will be enough. SEE YOU THERE. For minute-by-minute analysis see below.   Gateshead 0 Luton Town 0 Result   FULL-TIME All over here. 0-0. A point for the Town. And so it goes to the final game... 90 mins +  1 - Wow, major let off for the Town, Cummins header drops in the box for Marwood who hooks the ball onto the post. 90 mins - Into the last minute...Three added on at the end of the 90. 88 mins - Hearts in mouth time for Town, Osano block on Gillies in the box. 87 mins - Time ticking, end-to-end stuff here. 86 mins - And again, Magnay shot in the box blocked by Pilkington. Back come the Town, Gray though fires way, way over from 22-ish yards. 85 mins - Wow, mighty let off for the Town as Taylor's clearance is going past Tyler before gets a hand away to clear the danger. 84 mins - Big shouts for a pen in the home end as Hatch goes down under Osano's challenge. Nowt given. 80 mins - Town on top now, McAllister's header tees up Lawless who is forced into a narrow angle, his cut-back to Howells is fired straight at Deasy. 78 mins - And another decent chance for the Hatters, McAllister races away down the left, but instead of shooting tries to pick out Fleetwood but Deasy is there to gather. 77 mins - Chance, big chance for the Town, Fleetwood is almost through, the keeper comes out, but with Deasy straded, Fleetwood's low shot is cleared off the line by Odihiambo. 72 mins Poku, just on, is now coming off having taken a knock. On comes Craig McAllister in his place. 70 mins - Chances for the hosts, dangerous cross from Cummins cleared by Kovacs before Magnay heads inches wide from the resulting corner. 61 mins - Shot from Gateshead but nothing to worry about as Gillies tries his luck from 25 yards + that goes way wide. No panic. 57 mins - First yellow, bit unjust in my book, as Kovacs goes in on Gillies. From the free-kick Gillies only finds the hands of Tyler. 56 mins And here comes Taylor, on for Willmott. 54 mins First Town sub, Godfrey Poku on for Adam Watkins. Greg Taylor also set to come on. 49 mins - Oh, Howells tripped right on the edge of the penalty area by Odhiambo. Very close to being a pen. 47 mins - Early chance for the Hatters, Gray driving a shot from inside the box that Deasy fumbled behind for a corner. Attendance by the way is 703 including 150 backing the Town. 46 mins Annnnnd we're off again here as the Town get us off and underway in the second half. No changes at the break. HALF-TIME And that's the break. Pressure from the hosts has unnerved the Town who have been bright in patches. Still goalless though. Check back in 15 minutes for the second half. COYH. 45 mins - As one minute of time is shown, Micky Cummins header is going in before Jake Howells heads off the line. Second game in a row he's done that. 43 mins - A lot of mistakes from both sides tonight. The Town attack, seizing on an awry pass from a home player, and can't force a chance until Lawless whacks one over the bar from 20 yards. 42 mins - More Gateshead pressure, Turnbull lashes one a yard over the bar. 41 mins - From the corner Gillies gets a toe to the ball and is heading goalwards before Keane gets in the way. 40 mins - And again another half-decent sniff for the Heed, as Pilkington does well to cut out a defence-splitting pass from Clark finding Gillies. 35 mins - Almost a sight of goal for the hosts...centre-back and captain Clark going on a mazy run but his shot from the edge of the box is tame and easy for Tyler. 30 mins - Half-an-hour gone here. Still goalless. Not a lot else to tell you about at the minute. 27 mins - Town still probing though, Willmott this time takes on the Gateshead defence but his left-foot shot only finds the side-netting. 25 mins - Back come Gateshead, Gillies, who is proving a right pest tonight, feeds Kris Gate free in the box but he can only find the hands of Tyler. 24 mins - Chance...Gray slides in Fleetwood down the left. The striker beats one man and then goes for goal but his effort takes a nick off of right-back Odhiambo and behind for a corner. 22 mins - Town upping it now....two corners won in the space of 30 seconds. 21 mins - Almost a chance for the Town, goalkeeper Deasy's short goal-kick to Turnbull is seized by Fleetwood but the Town striker can't guide the ball home as the home keeper narrows the angle. 16 mins - Almost a sight of goal for the Town as they press down the right with Willmott. Gray is then almost in on goal but is denied by a great tackle by Turnbull on the edge of the box. Then Gateshead break as O'Brien races down the left, onside, but his shot, which isn't initially far away, eventually goes out for a throw. 13 mins - Work for Mark Tyler to do as Gillies goes close again for the hosts. A long ball is missed by Kovacs which allows Gillies a sight of goal and his effort frokm 12 yards is stopped well by the keeper. 11 mins - Don't worry still here, both sides trading possession. Gateshead having more it at the minute though. 7 mins - End-to-end stuff, but promising for the Town as Gray robs his marker of the ball on the half-way line to speed down the left. His cross is aimed for Fleetwood for what surely would be a tap-in but the head of home defender Magnay gets a vital touch and the hosts clear. 6 mins - Almost a sniff for Gateshead, Tyler rushes out to kick clear Adam Watkins' poor back-pass with O'Brien hunting it down. 5 mins - Great chance and it should be 1-0 Town. The ball is worked down the right to Lawless whose low cross is perfect for Fleetwood at the near post but he gets underneath his shot too much and the striker blazes over. 3 mins - Back come the Town...Gray wins a corner as the Gateshead defence dallies and after Willmott's flag-kick is half-cleared Keane volley wide. 2 mins - Half an early sniff for the hosts as they break down the left, Josh Gillies steering a shot a few yards wide after taking Micky Cummins' pass in his stride. 1 min  Annnnnnd we're off here as Gateshead kick-off us here at the International Stadium. COYH! 19:41 HERE THEY COME Out come the two sides. Gateshead in white and black, the Town in orange shirts and shorts, white socks. Decent following from Bedfordshire. COYH! 19:30 PRESS BOX PREDICTIONS Andrew Barringer: 2-0 Luton, Simon Pitts: 1-1 draw, Mark Wood: 1-0 Luton, James Bannister: 3-1 Luton. 19:25 24 YEARS ON Today is 24 years since the Town's famous Littlewoods Cup win over Arsenal. Four of the 11 in the starting XI weren't born by then. Messrs Watkins, Gray, Willmott and Howells. Then add three of the five subs: Messrs Poku, Walker and Taylor. 19:20 TRAVELLERS Flicking through the excellent Gateshead programme we note that Hayes & Yeading brought two fans here on a Tuesday night in March. 19:10 THE TEAMS Gateshead: Deasy, Odhiambo, Gate, Clark, Turnbill, Cummins, Hatch, Gillies, Magnay, O'Brien, Dummett. Subs: Farman, Brittian, Baxter, Marwood, Moore. Town: Tyler, Osano, Kovacs, Pilkington, Howells, Willmott, Keane, Watkins, Lawless, Fleetwood, Gray. Subs: Taylor, McAllister, Blackett, Poku, Walker. 18:56 TOWN UNCHANGED With one change on the bench. Dan Walker takes the place of Dan Gleeson. 18:45 PITCH WATCH The International Stadium pitch looks in good condition, contrary to popular belief. A few green lines on the pitch following the rugby game on Sunday. 18:43 WEATHER WATCH Omnous clouds but no sign of rain...yet! 17:00 ALMOST IN SIGHT It's fair to say that not many supporters - or players for that matter - expected the Town to be in the position where a place in the top five needed to be secured with two games to go. Those with hopes of a championship to celebrate have of course already come to terms with the fact that isn't coming the Hatters' way; but a large majority will have thought a place in the top five would have nailed by now. But nailed it is not. The Town need just two points to guarantee their place in the top five and with it a crack at the Play-Offs for the third season running. However, with two games to go, it's by no means a given. Saturday's hard-fought and deserved 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Kidderminster Harriers have given them a chance. The opportunity to extend their season lies in the hands of those players who go into tonight's game with Gateshead knowing victory would seal it. And they'll go into this evening's game with confidence, buoyed by the Buckle Factor that has seen the new (four-game-old) boss turn around the Town's fortunes over the past fortnight with three wins, one draw, no defeats and three clean sheets. Paul Buckle said after Saturdays triumph that nobody was celebrating anything. Darn right. The three points against Harriers were huge but they will count for nothing if the two points aren't collected between now and Saturday. With a crucial game in hand this evening fifth spot is there for the taking and Buckle has, quite rightly, every confidence his side can do the business by encouraging his men to continue the form they've shown since his stewardship started. Gateshead are dangerous opponent, though. A wounded animal having missed out on a shot at the top five having gone down to a disastrous 4-2 defeat at already-relegated Bath City on Saturday. Like Kidderminster, the Heed are another side the Town have already beaten twice this season and no doubt the 5-1 defeat the Hatters handed out to Ian Bogie's side last September will still be fresh in the memory. A number of the top sides in the Blue Square Bet Premier have faltered at the vast International Stadium, leaving without points. Just ask Mansfield, York and Kidderminster. We all know Luton Town never do things the easy way. But, just for once, wouldn't it be great if everything was done and dusted tonight? #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 Paul 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  
    Data provided by Press Association

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