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09 December 2017 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

SKY BET LEAGUE TWO MATCH PREVIEW: LUTON TOWN V NOTTS COUNTY

8 December 2017

Kenilworth Road will play host to a top of the table clash between the Hatters and Notts County tomorrow as Nathan Jones' team look to extend their lead at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

With the sides both picking up 12 wins, five draws and three defeats in their opening 20 league fixtures, only goal difference puts the Town ahead of the Magpies – both sit on 41 points.

An unbeaten November saw Jones pick up a second consecutive Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month award, having gone last month unbeaten, picking up ten points from the 12 available.

Danny Hylton's form in front of goal has certainly been a major contributor to the fine form the Town find themselves in, netting four in as many games, landing him the PFA Bristol Street Motors Fans' Player of the Month award – again, for the second month running.

Notts' run has been impressive too, their main goalscoring threat coming from on-loan midfielder Jorge Grant, who was a summer arrival from neighbours Nottingham Forest. Having netted 11 times in the division so far this campaign, he finds himself just one behind the fourth tier's top scorer – Hylton.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On Olly Lee, who is set to make 100th appearance for the Hatters: "The response I've had from Olly Lee since I came in has been wonderful. We've earmarked certain things, he's a wonderful footballer. We've asked him to do other stuff which he has. Now he's chipping in with goals, assists and he's a key member of our team."

On receiving the Manager of the Month award for November: "I was very proud to have received it the first time I did, but then to back it up and do it in consecutive months is very good and just shows the type of form the team's in.
"It's a cliche and I think everyone says it, but it's an award that's not just for the manager, it's an award for the staff, for the team and for everyone really, as without everyone's efforts then you don't get that ultimate award.

"I'm very pleased to have done it back to back because it doesn't mean we were doing it for one month, we've backed that up. We had a good month, it really was and I know some others that were there, in terms of Steve Evans, had similar months to us. But I'm just very proud of how the team went about their work.

"We're in good form and we've shown that, so it's very, very pleasing and I'm very proud to receive it."

Click here to read more quotes on the gaffer's thoughts on tomorrow's game. 

WHO?

From a relegation scrap to promotion contenders, it's certainly been a turbulent 2017 for the Magpies, but they now find themselves on an upward trajectory under manager Kevin Nolan. Brought in by new owner Alan Hardy in January, the ex-Newcastle and West Ham United midfielder has helped put County in a strong position to achieve promotion this season.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday 9th December at Kenilworth Road.

TICKET INFORMATION

There are a limited amount of tickets left for the game, however an extra 150 tickets were made available in the Oak Road stand. Cash turnstiles will NOT be in operation for the fixture.

LAST TIME WE PLAYED?

Tomorrow will be the 72nd meeting between the two sides, of which the Hatters have won 35 and lost 16. Our last meeting here in April finished 2-1 to the Town, with Ollie Palmer and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu finding the back of the net.

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.

AWAY SUPPORTERS

Notts County supporters making the journey down from Nottinghamshire can check out our visiting supporters' guide by clicking here.

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Match Reports

REPORT: LUTON TOWN 1 NOTTS COUNTY 1

Hatters stay at the summit after top-of-the-table stalemate with Magpies

9 December 2017

The Hatters remain top of Sky Bet League Two on goal difference after Notts County came up with a second-half equaliser to take a point in front of a sell-out crowd at Kenilworth Road.

In a tight encounter that mirrored the first versus second positions at the summit, Johnny Mullins netted his first goal of the season to give Nathan Jones’ Hatters a half-time lead, to the delight of the majority of the 10,063 fans inside the ground.

But Kevin Nolan’s County, who have been at the top for most of the campaign before being overtaken by free-scoring Town’s recent winning run, had Shola Ameobi on target just after the hour to earn them a deserved point to take back up the M1.

The result extended the Town’s unbeaten run to nine matches in all competitions as Jones, fresh from picking up his second successive manager of the month award, named an unchanged side from last Sunday’s FA Cup win at Gateshead.

The only change as the Town went in search of a sixth successive win in league and cup, looking to move clear of the second-placed Magpies at the top of the table, was on the bench where James Collins returned in place of Jack Senior after a month out with a hamstring injury.

County had the game’s first chance, Ryan Yates meeting Carl Dickinson’s free-kick with a free header, but Hatters keeper Marek Stech was equal to it, tipping over the bar.

The Hatters were struggling to impose themselves, but a promising break down the right involving Danny Hylton, Elliot Lee and Andrew Shinnie saw them win their first corner on nine minutes, although it eventually came to nothing.

The visitors were creating the better opportunities, and Stech had to get down low to keep efforts from Jon Stead out in the 13th and 16th minutes, the second after the County striker had gone one-on-one with Mullins after appearing to shove captain Alan Sheehan from behind 40 yards from goal.

County left-back Dickinson became the first man into ref Charles Breakspear’s notepad when he tripped Elliot Lee to the right of the County penalty area in the 24th minute, but Ameobi rose highest to head Sheehan’s inswinging delivery clear at the far post.

The breakthrough wasn’t long in coming, however, and it was courtesy of the younger Lee brother’s pressing out on the left that the Town won the corner for Sheehan to drill a cross to the far post for Mullins, who produced a towering header to direct the ball into the bottom corner on 26 minutes.

It was the 32-year-old first goal of the campaign, topped off by a kneeslide celebration that got the whole ground rocking, as he became the 22nd different player to net for the Town this season.

As has been the case of late, Elliot Lee was getting on the ball and enjoying himself, wriggling past two defenders on the left to arc a cross towards the far top corner, but just too high, on the half-hour, before the striker, Shinnie, Jack Stacey and Hylton produced a couple of intricate passing moves in the final third as the Hatters got well into their stride.

Dan Potts has been in prolific goalscoring form in recent weeks, earning nominations for two player of the month awards. But the left-back has been equally effective in his own area, and in the 43rd minute he produced a terrific defensive header to clear Ameobi’s cross, before beating the ex-Newcastle striker to the resulting corner.

County finished the half as they’d started it, in the ascendancy with Dickinson testing Stech from 20 yards, but it was Jones’ men who had the all-important advantage to take into the break.

They came out after it in attacking mode, Hylton driving at the retreating County back-four only to find his shot blocked. The top scorer wasn’t giving up though, and he won the ball back twice – after losing it once – to set up another attack.

Shinnie got on the ball and lofted an inch-perfect pass out to Stacey, who was galloping down the right. The full-back beat his man before trying to out-smart Ross Fitzsimons at his near post, only finding the side-netting.

Olly and Elliot Lee combined brilliantly down the right to draw a free-kick on the edge of the box, and a yellow for Shaun Brisley, as the County defender tripped the latter, but Sheehan’s free-kick was cleared.

County upped the ante again and had two chances in the 57th minute, Grant heading a Matt Tootle cross over angle of post and bar before Ryan Yates shot just wide from 20 yards.

Then, in the 61st minute, they had their equaliser when a long free-kick into the Hatters’ box flicked off Ameobi’s head and past a stranded Stech, despite Potts’ best efforts to hook it back off the line.

The Hatters went straight back on the attack and Mullins headed a Sheehan corner wide, before Hylton got his head on a 66th-minute cross from Shinnie, but couldn’t keep it down.

Stech had to be on his guard to keep out Grant’s curling effort in the 69th minute, but the Hatters had a glorious chance to retake the lead in the 72nd minute when Sheehan’s corner dropped at Glen Rea’s feet, but the midfielder blazed his half-volley over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

Six minutes later Shinnie and Elliot Lee combined down the left for Potts to stand a lovely ball up to the far post, but Dickinson did well to head behind just in front of Hylton.

It was Lee’s last involvement, as Jones brought Collins on in the 79th minute to try and prise open the County defence, but it was the visitors who would have the next shot on goal, with a sub of their own, Lewis Alessandra, nipping in front of Potts to fashion a shooting opportunity, only to fire high into the Kenny End from range.

The Hatters’ best opportunity came with 90 minutes on the clock, and again it fell to Mullins, who latched onto Rea’s knock-down from another Sheehan corner, but couldn’t divert it past Fitzsimons who saved well from point-blank range.

The Hatters’ winning run had been ended at five, but they remain on top courtesy of that plus-15 goal advantage and have now lost just once in 20 matches in all competitions.

As importantly, with Exeter and Coventry losing and Wycombe only picking up a point at Stevenage, the draw extended the Hatters’ advantage above fourth place to six points before the trip to Forest Green next week.

 

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Mullins, Sheehan ©, Potts, Rea, O Lee, Berry, Shinnie (Gambin 83), Hylton, E Lee (Collins 79). Subs: Justin, Cook, Mpanzu, D’Ath, Shea (GK)

Yellows: Sheehan

Goal: Mullins 26

COUNTY: Fitzsimons, Tootle, Dickinson, Hewitt, Duffy, Ameobi, Grant, Hawkridge (Alessandra 75), Brisley, Yates, Stead (Smith 90+2). Subs: Pindroch, Forte, Hunt, Jones, Milsom

Yellows: Dickinson, Brisley, Stead, Ameobi

Goal: Ameobi 61

 

REFEREE: Charles Breakspear

ATT: 10,063 (810 away)

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