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24 February 2018 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: LUTON TOWN V CHELTENHAM TOWN

23 February 2018

The Hatters could make it a month unbeaten should they take at least a point from tomorrow's encounter against Cheltenham Town at Kenilworth Road.

Wins over Exeter City and Crawley Town as well as a draw against Stevenage have seen the Town go February unbeaten, which means they currently sit five points clear at the top of Sky Bet League Two.

Apart from Elliot Lee who is still recovering from a shoulder problem, Town boss Nathan Jones has a full complement of players to pick from – including the likes of Danny Hylton, Scott Cuthbert and Alan McCormack, who have all been back in full training aided by the week's break with last Saturday's cancellation at Coventry.

Cheltenham head into the fixture with only one win in their last seven, but have good form against the Town having picked up two draws in our last two games at the LCI Rail Stadium and a victory over us in our last meeting at Kenilworth Road.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On players returning from injury: "Cuthbert will need minutes, but the rest are ready to be involved, so it's a strong squad we go into the game with. We had a practice game last Wednesday, so we got everyone minutes and everyone up to speed, which was a real bonus. Then we gave them a couple of days off, so it's a nice, normal lead into the weekend."

On Hylton's fitness: "It wasn't so much a hamstring [problem], just a neural problem in his back. He had a slight bit of inflammation in there which they've got rid of. There was just a little bit left which was affecting the left side, so they gave it a bigger dose.

"We tend to err on the side of caution with the doses you give them, but if we had have given him a full dose at the beginning, he probably wouldn't have missed the last few games. But we always want to be cautious with them and now it seems to have worked as he's had a full weeks training and is ready to go."

If having a week has benefited his team: "I hope so, we're ready. Whether we're fresh – you'd think so. Sometimes these things can work in your favour and sometimes they can work against you, but we're delighted with the break we had and we're looking forward to getting back to it.

"They're a good group and what it has given us is the chance to get everyone back and that's the main thing. If we had played the Coventry game we still would have been missing Hylton, McCormack, Cuthbert and so on. But they're all back now, so that's a bonus as it's a big squad available."

WHO?

This campaign Cheltenham sit far more comfortably above those bottom spots, a point better off than at this stage last season, with 12 points between themselves and 23rd place.

Capable of beating any side in the division, the Robins have defeated the teams around them such as Port Vale, Crewe and Colchester, as well as those looking for a place in the top seven in the shape of Mansfield, Lincoln and Swindon.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday 24th February at Kenilworth Road.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets are still available for purchase in person and over the phone on 01582 416976 from the Ticket Office, as well as online, which you can access by clicking here.

There will also be cash turnstiles available in some parts of the ground.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Of the 12 meetings, the Hatters have won three, lost the same amount and there have been six draws.

 (Our last meeting ended in a 2-2 draw at the LCI Rail Stadium back in November)
 

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. You can subscribe to iFollow Hatters by clicking here... and supporters who are overseas can buy an individual match pass for the live video stream via the Match Centre.

AWAY SUPPORTERS' GUIDE

If you are a Cheltenham Town supporter heading to Kenilworth Road for this fixture, please check out our Away Supporters' Guide by clicking here, to make sure you get the most out of your trip to Luton!

CAR PARKING

Don't forget to take advantage of the car parking now available at Power Court, make sure you get your permit now by clicking here.

KEECH HOSPICE CARE

Tomorrow is Supporters' Charity of the Season Keech Hospice Care's designated matchday for the season. The players will be wearing their T-shirts in the pre-match warm-up, and volunteers will be collecting around the stadium so please give generously if you are able. To find out more about the work this great local charity does, visit www.keech.org.uk for more details on how you can help fundraise or volunteer for this great local charity, email letmehelp@keech.org or call 01582 707940 #COYH

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: LUTON TOWN 2 CHELTENHAM TOWN 2

Hatters rescue a point with Sheehan's injury-time equaliser

24 February 2018

The Hatters fought back from two goals down to take a late point on an afternoon of controversy at Kenilworth Road as Cheltenham once again proved a bogey side for Nathan Jones and his team.

The Robins, who won 3-2 on their visit here last season, looked like returning to the Cotswolds with all three points once again as Joe Morrell and Mohamed Eisa goals either side of half-time gave them a two-goal advantage.

The second came moments after referee Mark Heywood had awarded the Hatters a penalty, despite Olly Lee was volleying a James Justin cross into the visitors’ net as he was being held by full-back Ilias Chatzitheodoridis and Harry Cornick was being manhandled by defender Will Boyle.

Cheltenham keeper Scott Flinders saved James Collins’ spot-kick, and Eisa doubled the Robins’ advantage five minutes later.

The Town had the character to bounce back to grab a point, however, with Luke Berry netting his eighth goal of the season just before the hour, and captain Alan Sheehan heading in an injury-time equaliser to keep the Hatters three clear of second-placed Accrington Stanley in second place, and seven ahead of Notts County in fourth.

Jones named an unchanged side from the one that beat Crawley 4-1 in the Town’s last outing at Kenilworth Road, which meant goalkeeper Marek Stech started behind a back four of Jack Stacey, Glen Rea, captain Alan Sheehan and James Justin, who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday.

In midfield was Flynn Downes, Olly Lee, Luke Berry and Andrew Shinnie, with Harry Cornick and James Collins up front.

There were two changes on the bench, however, where leading scorer Danny Hylton – who celebrates his 29th birthday tomorrow – returned along with recent signing from Liverpool, Lloyd Jones.

The opening quarter-of-an-hour was a slow, stop-start affair, with the visitors seeing a header from Joe Morrell and a left-foot blast from Chatzitheodoridis fly well wide of Stech’s goal.

The first moment of real quality came in the 16th minute when Berry found space on the Town left and the midfielder delivered a pinpoint low cross for Collins, who opened the face of his right foot on the half-volley, but his angled effort went just over the bar.

A minute later Olly Lee latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out, but his shot lacked power, then Downes, who had been booked early for a foul on Harry Pell, was at the heart of the Hatters’ next chance, playing a sharp pass into Collins, who flicked it inside for Berry to shoot at goal – though his effort was comfortably saved by Flinders.

Lee had another shot on the half-hour that Flinders pushed wide but prevented it going for a corner, before Collins’ low 31st-minute cross flashed across the six-yard box, but neither Cornick or Lee could convert as they homed in on goal.

Lee, clearly confident after scoring against Crawley for the first time in 13 games, was popping up in promising positions all around the penalty area, and when Cheltenham only headed a Sheehan corner half-clear, the midfielder had another go – this time mis-hitting his shot tamely wide.

Cheltenham reminded the Town that they posed a threat on the break when Kevin Dawson raced clear in the 35th-minute and drew a good save from Stech with his outstretched foot, before Cornick led an immediate counter for the Town, that ultimately came to nothing.

The Robins soon had the lead though, Morrell letting fly from fully 25 yards and finding the top corner with a shot that seemed to dip as it flew against the strong wind on 41 minutes.

Town came out for the second half a goal down, but they immediately went on the attack, Sheehan and Shinnie combining to tee up Cornick for a snap-shot from the left side of the area, then Justin fizzed a low cross in from the left that Flinders gathered just ahead of Collins.

The came a moment of real controversy in the 50th minute as Justin crossed from the left once more, and Lee – despite being held by Chatzitheodoridis – volleyed into the back of the net, but referee Mark Heywood already had his whistle in his mouth to award a penalty, although it wasn't clear if it was for that foul or Boyle's on Cornick just in front of them.

Collins, who had scored penalties in the previous two games at Stevenage and against his old club Crawley, saw his effort saved low to his left by Flinders, and Cheltenham somehow managed to smuggle the ball up and over the bar as the Town striker closed in on the rebound.

Almost inevitably amid the uproar, Cheltenham doubled their lead in the 55th minute when Moore crossed from the right and Eisa buried a free header past Stech.

Jones responded straightaway by bringing Hylton on for Collins, and Jake Jervis for Shinnie.

The Town were back in business almost immediately as Stacey dug out a 58th-minute cross from the right that just eluded Hylton, but Berry made no mistake coming in behind him to finish brilliant from eight yards for his eighth goal of the season.

It was all Luton now, and Lee saw another volley fly over the bar into the Kenny end when Cheltenham only half-cleared another Sheehan corner, then Hylton pulled the trigger from 25 yards in the 65th minute, but his shot flashed the wrong side of the post.

Hylton was starting to make things happen, and a snaking run across the edge of the box and one-twos with Cornick and Lee almost saw him put Jervis in.

Jones made his third substitution with 13 minutes to go, throwing Luke Gambin into the fray in place of Lee, and within a couple of minutes the Malta international was teasing his way around the area, whipping in a low cross that was just too far in front of Hylton.

Then, in the 83rd minute, Gambin produced a lovey bit of skill to feed the ball to Hylton to the right side of the area and the top scorer delivered a right-footed blast that Flinders did well to beat away at his near post.

With 89 minutes on the clock, Cornick whipped in an inviting cross that Gambin – the smallest player in among the giants of the Cheltenham defence – got his head on, but couldn’t keep his effort down.

Gambin was the provider for the late equaliser though, as his right-wing corner picked out Sheehan – who would normally be taking the set-pieces – to ram in a close range header at the far post to rescue a point with his third goal of the season.

In the end, a point was better that nothing as the Hatters once again showed the character that has seen them fight back late on several occasions already this season, and extend the unbeaten run throughout February to four matches before next week's trip to Cambridge.

 

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Rea, Sheehan ©, Justin, Downes, O Lee (Gambin 77), Berry, Shinnie (Jervis 57), Collins (Hylton 57), Cornick. Subs: Mullins, D’Ath, Jones, Shea (GK)

Yellows: Downes, Sheehan, Hylton

Goals: Berry 58, Sheehan 90+2

 

CHELTENHAM: Flinders, Moore, Grimes, Boyle, Chatzitheodoridis (Rodon 78), Atangana, Dawson, Winchester ©, Morrell, Pell, Eisa (Odelusi 82). Subs: Wright, Sellars, Graham, Lovett (GK), Onariase

Yellows: Dawson, Winchester, Pell, Grimes

Goals: Morrell 41, Eisa 55

 

REFEREE: Mark Heywood

 

ATT: 8,453 (142 away)

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