Match Reports

Report | Luton Town 0-0 Hull City

The Hatters stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches as a much-changed side drew 0-0 with Hull City on an afternoon of celebration at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.


With away fans in fancy dress as the Tigers were relaxed with their mid-table finish, and the Hatters supporters running through their repertoire of songs before showing their appreciation for the squad, staff and their families on a lap of appreciation after the final whistle, the more serious action of the day was taking place elsewhere.

Eventually, having started with Millwall in sixth place, then West Brom and Coventry at various stages of the afternoon, we found out that Sunderland would be our play-off semi-final opponents, with the Hatters' third place already assured.

In order to keep his squad fit and fresh for the play-offs, manager Rob Edwards made eight changes to the side that drew at Blackburn last Monday.

Forward Joe Taylor made his first start for the club, leading the line in place of Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo.

Defenders Gabe Osho, Dan Potts and Fred Onyedinma started their first game since injury, while James Shea and Luke Freeman start for the first time under Edwards - the former having recovered fully from the serious knee injury picked up over a year ago at Cardiff.

The other changes since the draw at Ewood Park were in midfield as Allan Campbell and Louie Watson replaced Marvelous Nakamba and Luke Berry.

Captain Sonny Bradley, Alfie Doughty and Jordan Clark retain their place from the stalemate in Lancashire, while on the bench, defender Reece Burke returned from injury, while goalkeeper Jack Walton was named among the substitutes for the first time since Deadline Day back in January.

In a cagey opening ten minutes, Hull - who had made four changes themselves - had most of the possession and a couple of shots that were deflected wide for corners, both from Adama Traore, before Allahyar Sayyadmanesh hit the woodwork with Bradley's last-ditch slide diverting his shot against a post.

Freeman had the Hatters' first effort on 19 minutes, his 20-yard shot deflected into the hands of Hull keeper Matt Ingram, one of six men used between the sticks by the Town last season when the Tigers allowed him to come on emergency loan for the play-offs.

Watson's quick-thinking from a free-kick looked to have got Taylor in on 26 minutes, but the Wales Under-21 international's cross-shot found its way to Clark, whose effort was blocked.

Town moved the ball well with Taylor's pace, along with Fred Onyedinma down the right and Alfie Doughty flying down the left, causing Hull concern with creating any clear-cut chances until four minutes before half-time.

A patient build-up down the left saw Campbell and Clark combine to play Doughty in, and he picked out Taylor with his whipped cross, only for Ingram to produce a superb one-handed save to deny the January signing from Peterborough his first Town goal.

Shea was called into action for the first time to push a Traore free-kick away two minutes before the break, and Edwards made his first change during the interval, bringing on Reece Burke to face his former club in place of Osho.

Potts headed Clark's 54th-minute cross down into the ground and over, with the midfielder's delivery his last action before being replaced by Henri Lansbury, with Onyedinma also making way for Elliot Thorpe.

Within two minutes of coming on, Lansbury was attempting to repeat his goalscoring feat from up at Hull earlier in the season, rasping a 20-yarder inches over the bar, before picking up his trademark yellow card for a foul on Traore seconds later.

Edwards introduced 17-year-old Joe Johnson for his second senior appearance on the hour. He went on the left, but it was down the right that fellow sub Thorpe surged seconds later, intercepting on the edge of his own box and racing towards the byline at the opposite end to whip in a cross that just eluded Taylor's head.

Luke Berry was soon on for Taylor, who had put in a tireless shift, and the midfielder almost brought the house down with a 45-yard attempted chip that would have beaten Ingram had it been a foot lower.

Town kept the ball and moved Hull around, with Thorpe sending in a couple of dangerous crosses from the right and Freeman blazing over from the edge of the box with five minutes left.

But the main objective of the day was complete. Every player got through the 90 minutes without injury, valuable minutes were into legs who hadn't played for a while, and 9,000-plus Hatters sent their heroes into the play-offs with a cracking send-off to Sunderland.

Stadium of Light. Next Saturday. 5.30pm. Here we go!

TOWN: Shea, Onyedinma (Thorpe 54'), Osho (Burke 46'), Bradley, Potts, Doughty (Johnson 60'), Clark (Lansbury 55'), Campbell, Watson, Freeman, Taylor (Berry 70').

Subs: Walton, Mpanzu.

TIGERS: Ingram, Coyle, Greaves, Jones, Tufan (Longman 63'), Docherty, Sayyadmanesh (Jones 84'), Vaughan (Jarvis 87'), McLoughlin, Traore (Wood 84'), Simons (Seri 63').

Subs: Darlow, Taylor.

Att: 10,061 (1,010 away)

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