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20 January 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 MORECAMBE

Table-topping Hatters host the Shrimps in a 3pm kick-off at the Kenny

19 January 2018

The Hatters look to bounce back from last week’s 2-0 defeat at Chesterfield by making it six home games unbeaten when they entertain Morecambe at Kenilworth Road on Saturday afternoon.

Nathan Jones’ side go into the game against the Shrimps sitting three points clear of Notts County at the top of Sky Bet League Two, and eight points in front of Wycombe Wanderers in the top play-off spot.

The Town have suffered back-to-back away defeats in the league at Port Vale and the Proact Stadium, but home form has been impressive this season with the come-from-behind 4-2 win over Lincoln on New Year’s Day making it ten wins, one draw and just two defeats, both when reduced to ten men, seeing 41 goals fly into the opposition’s net.

That figure, with ten home matches still to play, is three more than the Town registered at the Kenny in the whole of last season and Jones’ side are set to be boosted by the return of 17-goal top scorer Danny Hylton, who missed the Chesterfield reversal with a tight hamstring.

Managed for the past seven years by Jim Bentley, the third longest serving manager in the country behind Arsene Wenger and Paul Tisdale, Morecambe are currently 19th in the table and six points above the relegation zone.

They travel to Bedfordshire unbeaten in their last three matches, with wins over Yeovil and Grimsby followed by last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Stevenage.

THE GAFFER:

On three of the next four games being at home…and the Kenny crowd: “We’ve given them plenty to get behind in terms of some of the performances – in fact, most of the performances – at home. Even the ones we lost, we went down to ten men in both of those, so it was slightly difficult, but we learnt from those and the fruits of that learning were shown in the Lincoln game. There is no magic wand. We are not going to win every home game. It’s difficult, but we’ve got good players so hopefully we’ll have enough to win this weekend and it sets us up then for finishing the month in good form. We’ve got some good games coming up against some good teams, so there’ll be opportunities to cement our position. We’re looking forward to this period.”

On 41 home goals beating last season’s tally already: “It’s a wonderful stat, but we’ve got ten games left now and we want to make sure that we add to that tally of home goals. We want to do that by starting at the weekend because it is a stat that we haven’t scored in a few games as well, so if we manage to make those inroads, that’ll be good.”

On Morecambe: “They are a really committed side and they’ve got some good players, to be fair to them. It will be a difficult game, but we’ll set up to try and win the game and try to be positive right from the off. That’s what we have to try and do. But we know it will be a difficult game because Morecambe are in decent form and they are a difficult side to beat. They have a different system and it will be a good game.”

On their evergreen striker, and eight-goal top scorer, Kevin Ellison: “He’s a test for anyone he plays against. It’s wonderful to see a guy that age – and I played until I was 39, so he’s not far off – be able to do that and go through the rigmaroles of League football. I don’t know him personally. Obviously, I see him and he’s a handful when he plays, but he must be a wonderful pro to play at that age, so credit to him.

(IFOLLOW HATTERS SUBSCRIBERS CAN SEE NATHAN'S FULL PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE HERE)

WHO?

Tomorrow’s visitors have been in the EFL for 11 seasons now after winning the first Conference play-off final to be held at Wembley, against Exeter City. Manager Jim Bentley was Shrimps skipper that day, the crowning moment of his nine years as a player with the Lancashire side before being appointed manager in 2011. They have never been higher than League Two, with fourth place in 2009-10 their best-ever finish before losing to Dagenham & Redbridge in the play-off semi-final. They will hope to better their 18th-place from last term, when ownership and financial uncertainty threatened the Globe Arena club’s existence.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off at Kenilworth Road on Saturday 20th January is at 3pm.

TICKETS?

You can still pre-purchase tickets for the game from the LTFC ticket office in person, by calling 01582 416976 or online, but there will be cash turnstiles operating in all home areas of the ground for pay on the day supporters.

It is a category C match, so prices are:

  • Adult: £18
  • Young adult (age 19-21): £13
  • Senior (age 65+): £13
  • Golden senior (age 75+): £10
  • Youth Under-19 (age 17-18): £10
  • Youth Under-17 (age 10-16): £6
  • Junior Under-10 (age 9 & under): £3

PLAYED BEFORE?

There have been nine meetings between the Hatters and Morecambe. Overall the Hatters have won five times, drawn twice and lost twice to the Shrimps. Last season Town took six points from a possible six against them, winning 2-0 away in November before a 3-1 victory here on the final day of the regular season (see video below). This campaign saw us trek up to the Globe Arena on a Tuesday evening at the end of September, with the game in which Harry Cornick made his first start for the club, and Aaron Jarvis his professional debut as a late substitute, ending in a goalless draw. The Hatters are unbeaten in their last five games against Morecambe.

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 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 Morecambe 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!

PERIOD OF APPLAUSE

Before the game, there will be a period of applause in tribute to Hatters legend John Faulkner, our former player and coach who passed away after a long illness at the end of last month. We will also remember John's fellow former Town players Rodney Fern and Ted Phillips, plus ex-England striker and friend of LTFC, Cyrille Regis, who have sadly died in recent days. 

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.

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Match Reports

REPORT: LUTON TOWN 1 MORECAMBE 0

Mullins heads the winner as Town bounce back from Chesterfield defeat

20 January 2018

The Hatters moved six points clear at the top of Sky Bet League Two with a 1-0 victory over Morecambe at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

Captain Johnny Mullins’ second goal of the season proved enough to extend the Town’s unbeaten home run to six league matches as a fifth win in that sequence was ground out on a dirty day in Bedfordshire.

It certainly wasn’t pretty, and you can't expect seven and eight-goal home wins every other week. But it is on determined afternoons in freezing conditions like these that promotion campaigns are built, so they say.

And as snow, sleet and rain saturated the playing surface, an 11th home victory of the season – with a 13th league clean sheet for goalkeeper Marek Stech thrown in – made it a good day back at the Kenny for manager Nathan Jones after successive defeats on the road, either side of the New Year’s Day success against Lincoln.

The Town boss made three changes to his starting line-up, with Jack Stacey coming back into the team at right-back, Lawson D’Ath into midfield and striker Danny Hylton returning up front after missing last Saturday’s loss at Chesterfield with a hamstring problem.

James Justin, Akin Famewo and Elliot Lee dropped to the bench, with Glen Rea moving into central defence alongside Mullins as Alan Sheehan sat out the last game of his three-match suspension, and Olly Lee playing in the midfield holding role.

Hylton’s return didn’t last long, the top scorer feeling his other hamstring after trying to dummy and turn Shrimps centre-half Max Muller for the second time in the opening five minutes, and he was eventually replaced by Elliot Lee in the ninth minute after trying to carry on following treatment.

The Hatters regrouped and had the first shot on goal in the 14th minute when Andrew Shinnie won the ball in the middle of the Morecambe half and drove towards the penalty area before unleashing a 25-yard drive that Barry Roche could only beat away.

Two minutes later Luke Berry sent in a cross looking for D’Ath, but the knock-down from Morecambe defender Steven Old landed straight at the feet of Elliot Lee, who let fly first time only for the Kiwi centre-half to recover and block, unwittingly, for a corner.

At the other end Stacey, a constant threat down the Town right, did really well to get a deflected block on Aaron Wildig’s attempt to steer Garry Thompson’s low cross home as the Shrimps proved a threat on the break.

Berry had crack just before the half-hour, creating space for himself on the edge of the box before firing over the Shrimps’ bar, but the Hatters were finding clear-cut opportunities had to come by, despite dominating possession.

Glen Rea had the next attempt in the 33rd minute, shooting wide on the turn as Olly Lee’s right-wing corner was half-cleared in his direction 12 yards out.

But Morecambe reminded the Town they were well in the game when right wing-back Aaron McGowan drew a save out of Stech, moments after Luke Conlan – soon to be booked for a foul from behind on Shinnie – had sliced a left-footed shot horribly wide.

The Town ended the half in the ascendancy, Elliot Lee tricking his way inside from the right touchline a minute into added time, although his shot from a tight angle was deflected behind for a corner when a cut-back for the unmarked D’Ath might have been the better option.

His brother Olly then delivered a wicked outswinging free-kick into the six-yard box after Conlan was penalised for handball when charging down a cross on the right, but no-one took up the invitation and the opening 45 minutes finished frustratingly goalless.

McGowan had the first shot of the second half, though it drifted safely past Stech’s left post, before D’Ath led a 54th-minute charge from inside his own half, slipping Olly Lee in on the right but the midfielder’s shot flew high over the bar into the Kenny end.

Stech did brilliantly in the 55th minute when Adam McGurk’s tame shot on the turn took a wicked deflection off Mullins, and the Czech had to get down low to turn it around his left post.

There was a carbon copy stop three minutes later when Conlan’s cross from the left took a couple of deflections en route to finding McGurk inside the six-yard box, and his scuffed effort once again had the Hatters keeper scrambling to turn it behind.

Morecambe were asking the questions at this stage, McGowan drawing another save from Stech with a 25-yard shot, just before Aaron Wildig’s 62nd-minute header flew inches past the near post.

Two minutes later, however, the Town had the breakthrough. Elliot Lee was fouled out on the left and his brother Olly delivered another beautiful ball into the six-yard box for Mullins to bury his header emphatically past Roche and into the bottom corner.

Harry Cornick came on as a substitute in place of D’Ath before the restart, and the ex-Bournemouth man soon produced a beautiful flick past Conlan on halfway to find Collins, who bided his time before feeding the flying sub into the box, but Roche got a fingertip to his angled shot.

Mullins almost doubled the lead with 20 minutes to go when the captain met Olly Lee’s left-wing corner with a flicked header, but this one drifted wide of the far post.

Then, with 72 minutes on the clock, Cornick again called Roche into action, beating Conlan with ease inside the box before crashing a shot on goal that the visiting keeper punched away once more.

Morecambe had brought Kevin Ellison on as a 70th-minute sub and the 38-year-old was presented with a great chance after Rea was caught out of position, but the former Republic of Ireland U21 international soon got back to make a perfectly timed challenge.

Then Ellison had another, even better chance, as Mullins’ poor headed clearance landed straight at the forward’s feet on the edge of the area, but thankfully he dragged his shot wide.

Along with Cornick on the right, Elliot Lee continued to take the game to Morecambe down the left and Roche was called into action again when Lee’s low cross-shot almost caught him out.

Morecambe missed a sitter to draw level when the unmarked Old headed wide from a corner with five minutes left, and the Town were having to soak up some pressure.

But Shinnie relieved it in the 88th minute when he nicked the ball halfway inside his own half and set Collins clear on the right, although the striker’s shot was too high.

Morecambe had one final chance with 90 minutes up, when Elliot Lee fouled Adam Campbell 25 yards out, but captain Michael Rose’s effort was way off target and the Town could breathe a sigh of relief.

With second-placed Notts County losing at home to Exeter, the Hatters doubled their advantage over the Magpies to six points, although the gap over fourth-placed Wycombe remains at eight points with the Chairboys winning 3-2 at Crewe.

On to Grimsby...

 

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Rea, Mullins ©, Potts, O Lee, D’Ath (Cornick 65), Berry, Shinnie, Collins, Hylton (E Lee 9). Subs: Justin, Cook, Mpanzu, Famewo, Shea (GK)

Goals: Mullins 64

MORECAMBE: Roche, McGowan (Lund 85), Old, Thompson, Fleming, Conlan, Wildig (Campbell 70), Lavelle, Muller, Rose ©, McGurk (Ellison 70). Subs: Brough, Kenyon, Winnard, Nizic (GK)

Yellows: Conlan, Fleming

 

REFEREE: Trevor Kettle

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