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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
07:28 17th July 2013

The Hatters extended their unbeaten run in the Skrill Premier to 11 matches – but had to settle for a point at Chester.

Leading through Andre Gray’s 11 minutes the Town looked all set to record a second successive win on the road but Chester fought back to earn a draw when Gareth Seddon’s fine finish beat Mark Tyler.

The Hatters enjoyed the better of the chances in the second half and came close to grabbing all three points in the dying stages but couldn’t find a winner.

Despite turning up to the Deva Stadium late after the team coach encountered traffic en-route, the Town started on top.

Gray had his first sight of goal after 90 seconds, firing inches wide after turning in the box before thundering a shot high and wide of goal a minute later having latched onto a superb touch from strike-partner Paul Benson.

As the Town pushed for an early goal, captain Ronnie Henry volleyed over the crossbar on four minutes but, on 11 minutes, their pressure paid off when Gray fired the Hatters in front. After a series of headers inside the box, the ball dropped to the feet of the striker and he turned and smashed home an unstoppable shot past John Danby in the Chester goal. It was his seventh goal of the season.

The goal was no more than the Hatters deserved for an accomplished opening to the game and Gray almost had a chance for a second goal on 18 minutes when he seized on an error from home defender Ross Killock and thumped a shot goalwards – but Killock managed to get back, block the effort and apologise to his team-mates.

However, after that let-off, Chester upped the ante. The Town survived a penalty appeal when a bicycle kick from Seddon deflected off of Steve McNulty behind for a corner – with referee Darren Handley waving away the handball shouts.

But the Hatters weren’t so lucky on 23 minutes when Chester levelled. The Town failed to clear their lines and Seddon arrowed a rising shot past the dive of Mark Tyler to send the home supporters into raptures.

Buoyed by their equaliser, the hosts continue to press. Half-chances came and went as the Hatters were pushed back and Seddon almost created a second goal for Chester four minutes before the break when his flick-on found Craig Mahon but his volley from the edge of the box flew wide.

After such a promising start, the Town allowed the hosts to end the first half on top and right-back Chris Lester raced upfield to shoot wide in the last action of the first 45 minutes.

Seven minutes after the restart, the Hatters almost retook the lead when Alex Lawless’ goal-bound volley was blocked bravely by Danny Higginbotham from the edge of the box. Three minutes later, Danby held a Benson header from a right-wing cross from Parry.

Gray was denied a second thanks to another block – this time Killock denying the striker’s shot from just inside the area following Lawless’ pass. Lawless then curled an effort wide after a well-worked move on 66 minutes.

John Still introduced Mark Cullen on 66 minutes and Jake Howells six minutes later in a bid to find a winner but it was Gray who came within a whisker of making it 2-1 on 76 minutes when he turned brilliantly in the box and saw his fierce drive tipped behind by Danby.

With 10 minutes left Cullen inadvertently got in the way of a goal-bound rocket of a shot from Scott Griffiths after Chester had gifted the Hatters a corner.

As time ticked into three minutes of stoppage time the Town came within a whisker of winning all three points when Jonathan Smith’s volley from the edge of the box dropped inches the wrong side of the post and that was the last action as the Hatters extended their unbeaten league run further.

TOWN: Tyler; Henry, Griffiths, McNulty, Lacey; Smith, Parry; Guttridge (sub Howells 72, Lawless (sub Whalley 82), Gray; Benson (sub Cullen 66). 

Subs not used: Stevenson, Justham.

Attendance: 3,291, including a magnificent 890 backing the Town.

    QUICK FACTS

    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.