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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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16 December 2017 Venue The New Lawn Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: FOREST GREEN ROVERS V LUTON TOWN

15 December 2017

The Town head to Forest Green Rovers tomorrow afternoon in search of a further three points to improve their healthy position at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

With only one defeat in their last 20 matches in all competitions, Nathan Jones' team are certainly in fine fettle and a 1-1 draw against second placed Notts County last Saturday helped put the Hatters six points clear of fourth.

The Green Devils were bottom of the table after 11 games, but recovered well, picking up 15 points from their last ten games. Results however went against them last weekend, and Mark Cooper's team now find themselves in 23rd place.

A win for the Rovers though could lift them as high as 18th, and with striker Christian Doidge leading the line, Cooper's side have certainly got goals in them.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On tomorrow's hosts: "They're a very difficult side to play against if I am honest, a really difficult side. We don't want to go two games without a win, so we are going there to win the game.

"We know it will be a difficult game as every game at this level is, regardless of league position or form or anything. We know it's going to be a difficult game on Saturday.

"They're an expansive side, they want to play football. They try to play football – Christian Doidge is doing very well up front and I know him very well. He's one of the top scorers in the league. But we have got to make sure we're at it and concentrate on us and that's all we can be concerned with."

On the Hatters' strong away form: "We want to continue that. We started OK, we picked up some draws which have now proved to be good results – Mansfield are a good side, 2-2 away against them was excellent. Lincoln are excellent at home as well and are a difficult side to play against, they usually score as well so that's turned into a very good point.

"We've been in good form. We were disappointed with the Cheltenham result, very much so. We lead right into the 94th, 95th minute and then to concede, that's the only blip on our radar in recent times really. We can't dwell on that, we've bounced back from that and we are ready to go."

For injury updates on Harry Cornick, Scott Cuthbert and Alan McCormack, click here.

WHO?

A fifth-tier outfit for 19 years until their promotion via the National League play-offs in May, Forest Green Rovers are now the smallest town football club in the EFL. Based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, with a population of just over 7,500, the Green Devils are also proud vegans – only serving vegan products for supporters to purchase on a matchday.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday 16th December at The New Lawn.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for this game are now off sale.

LAST TIME WE PLAYED?

All ten of the previous meetings between the Hatters and Rovers have taken place in the Conference, with the Kenilworth Road outfit only losing on one occasion and winning six. The most recent of those ties came in April 2014, when a brace from Andre Gray and a goal each for Cameron McGeehan and Mark Cullen secured a 4-1 win here at the Kenny.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

You can follow the Hatters' Twitter feed on @LutonTown, or stay up to date on the LTFC website in the match centre. iFollow Hatters subscribers can tune in for Simon Pitts' match commentary, whilst international subscribers can watch the game live.

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Match Reports

REPORT: FOREST GREEN 0 LUTON TOWN 2

Sheehan and Hylton on target as Hatters open up a two-point lead at the top

16 December 2017

A goal in each half from captain Alan Sheehan and leading scorer Danny Hylton secured the Hatters a 2-0 win at lowly Forest Green this afternoon, extending their unbeaten run to ten matches in all competitions despite having to play for over half-an-hour with ten men.

Jack Stacey’s 59th minute straight red card, for a high challenge on Rovers winger Dan Wishart, was the only scar on another excellent day for Nathan Jones side, who had to dig in for three big points despite not being at their free-flowing best.

It is six matches since they last suffered defeat in Sky Bet League Two, and this latest victory combined with Notts County being held to a goalless draw at home by Grimsby, means the Hatters now have a two-point cushion over the second-placed Magpies, and eight points over Wycombe in fourth.

With Sheehan's opener in first half stoppage time, the Irishman's second of the campaign, the Hatters also became the first side in the EFL to reach 50 league goals for 2017-18 - Hylton adding No.51 in midway through the second half with the 14th of his own. 

Jones named an unchanged starting line-up for the third game in a row, ignoring the Checkatrade Trophy game against West Ham U21s when he changed the entire XI.

The hosts started playing in their usual expansive style, and they had the first opportunity in the sixth minute when they broke down the right after clearing a Sheehan corner, 17-year-old debutant Jordan Stevens latching onto Charlie Cooper’s lofted pass, but he was unable to beat Marek Stech, who saved with his legs at the near post.

The Czech had to be alert on the quarter-of-an-hour mark as well when Rovers’ top scorer Christian Doidge got on the end of his own flick-on to crack a 15-yard volley straight at the keeper.

Rovers had enjoyed much of the early possession, but the Hatters created a good chance from another Sheehan set-piece, this time a free-kick whipped in from the right, but the recently prolific Dan Potts couldn’t direct his near-post header on target.

The Town left-back and fellow defender Johnny Mullins were soon the first names into referee Lee Swabey’s notepad, for fouls on Keanu Marsh-Brown and Doidge respectively, but Potts was proving his side’s most likely source of a goal, again meeting a Sheehan corner with a towering header around the back in the 31st minute.

This one was on target, but blocked in the six-yard box, and Rovers were soon on the hunt at the other end again, Scott Laird firing a 30-yard free-kick straight down Stech’s throat on 33 minutes.

Town were having more of the ball, however, and Olly Lee and Shinnie – who was startgin to influence proceedings – combined to play Elliot Lee in on the right of the area, but the striker could only find the side-netting with his angled shot.

Hylton was next to have a go for the Town, rounding off a flowing move down the left between Berry and Potts by meeting the latter’s cross with a left-footed half-volley that Brad Collins did well to keep out.

A flurry of Town shots then rained in on the Rovers goal, Shinnie nicking ball from Marsh-Brown and playing Hylton in for a shot that flashed past the far post, before the Scottish midfielder pulled the trigger himself, only to find Collins equal to it.

Elliot Lee was next, seeing a 44th minute effort deflected wide, before a second corner in quick succession lead to the breakthrough a few seconds into added time at the end of the half.

Sheehan trudged over to the left to take it short to Hylton, and the pair’s routine that led to a penalty at Accrington in October, with Hylton going away from goal then back-heeling it into the skipper’s path, presented Sheehan with the opportunity to drive into the box and drill a low shot in off the far post, becoming the 11th different scorer of the Hatters’ last 11 goals.

It had been coming, and the Town kicked off the second half in search of a second, Elliot Lee cutting in from the left and attempting a right-footed curler from 20 yards, but Collins was equal to it.

With 55 minutes on the clock the Hatters had to call on Stech to preserve the lead, the Town goalkeeper flying across his line to keep out Doidge’s header after Reece Brown picked him out in the centre of the six-yard box.

Just before the hour the Town were reduced to ten men when Stacey went in with a high boot on Wishart as the Rovers wide man sprinted inside to meet a cross-field pass.

Ref Swabey wasted little time in producing the red card while Wishart stayed down to have his head bandaged, the game held up for several minutes.

When play resumed in the 63rd minute, Jones made a double substitution, brining James Justin on at right-back and Harry Cornick up front, taking off the Lee brothers, and within five minutes the regrouped Hatters had doubled the lead.

It came in bizarre circumstances, with Hylton closing down keeper Brad Collins as he received a throw-in on the edge of his own six-yard box, nicking the ball after the Chelsea loanee kicked fresh air and rolling it into an empty net for his sixth goal in his last six matches.

Cornick almost added a third after Potts picked him out on the edge of the box at the end of an incisive move down the left, the substitute’s shot drifting just wide of Collins’ right post.

Rovers tried to respond, but Jack Fitzwater volleyed wide in the 72nd minute – as sub Toni Gomes got in the centre-half’s way – then Stech saved Gomes’ 25-yarder comfortably o

Marsh-Brown shot wide in the 82nd minute, just before being subbed, then Jordan Simpson had an effort deflected over before Stech made two good saves in a minute, palming Cooper’s left-wing corner away from the top corner before pushing Luke James’ 20-yard volley past the post.

The Town saw eight minutes of stoppage time out comfortably, however, with Mullins, Sheehan and Potts all putting in big shifts at the back while Cornick saw a great opening, after Luke Berry’s vision had picked him out on the counter-attack, wiped out by a perfectly timed challenge by Simpson.

It’s 12 games on the road unbeaten now for the Hatters in all competitions – and just one defeat in 21 anywhere – as Jones’ table-toppers prove they can grind out a win in difficult circumstances before heading back to Kenilworth Road for next week’s pre-Christmas clash with Grimsby.

 

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Mullins, Sheehan ©, Potts, Rea, O Lee (Cornick 63), Berry, Shinnie (Collins 85), E Lee (Justin 63), Hylton. Subs: Mpanzu, Gambin, D’Ath, Shea (GK)

YELLOWS: Potts, Mullins

RED: Stacey 60

GOALS: Sheehan 45+1, Hylton 68

ROVERS: B Collins, Laird, L Collins ©, Fitzwater, Marsh-Brown (James 83), Simpson, Cooper, Stevens (Gomes 70), Wishart, Brown (Traore 58), Doidge. Subs: Pickering (GK), Bugiel, Roberts, Hendy

YELLOWS: Laird, Doidge

REFEREE: Lee Swabey

ATT: 2,546 (841 Hatters)

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