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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-1
30 March 2018 Venue Weston Homes Community Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: COLCHESTER UNITED V LUTON TOWN

29 March 2018

Town will look to make it back-to-back wins when they travel to Colchester tomorrow afternoon in what could prove to be a vital few days in Sky Bet League Two.

With two games in the space of four days, the Hatters will be looking to increase their lead at the top of the fourth tier, having regained top spot with the win against Barnet on Saturday evening.

A victory for the Hatters would also mean they'd equal their points tally for the entirety of the 2016/17 campaign – with six games left of the current season to better that total.

They come up against a Colchester side though that still have an outside chance of finishing in the play-off places, with seven games left to play John McGreal's team are eight points off seventh.

After a brilliant run between the end of September and into the New Year, the U's found themselves comfortably inside the top seven, but their form in 2018 has seen them drop off and slip down the table to 11th place.

They did however pick up their first win in seven outings last weekend, defeating Stevenage in Dino Maamria's first game in charge of Boro, 1-0 at the Lamex Stadium.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On the team he will pick over the two games: "We won last week so we know we're in decent form. We're going to have to use the squad, I doubt it will be the same 11 for both games as you're very fortunate if you're able do that.

"I know Accrington have been lauded for keeping the same team, and if they're fortunate enough to do that, then fine. But we'll pick a side that we think will try and win both games and we'll see where we are when we come out of it."

On James Shea's league debut: "[He did] Very well, what we said is when one has a dip or one needs to come in, as was the case last week, then we believe we have two first choice keepers, so we expect them to keep challenging. James Shea has shown a wonderful attitude in terms of competing with Marek and pushing him, and that has enabled Marek to have an excellent season.

"So we expect exactly the same from Marek now with James. James has to make sure he keeps his levels. I don't think he could have done any more. So it's just a straight choice of who I think will contribute to getting us a clean sheet. I don't think James could have done any more on his debut in terms of he kept a clean sheet, what he did have to do he did very well in terms of his positioning, and especially the save late on.

"So he's in a good place, and so is Marek now. Obviously his new born is a bit of relief in terms of that, so we've got two real good uns competing."

On Harry Cornick returning after illness: "He caught the Milton Keynes bug, a few of them have had it. He's back, he's trained and we'll see where he is. Providing he has no adverse effects from training, then he'll be fine."

WHO?

The U's fell just a point short of the play-off places last season, with a ridiculous final day of the 2016/17 campaign seeing them move in and out of the top seven, before they ended up in eighth.

After flirting with the bottom places in Sky Bet League One for a number of seasons, Colchester were relegated in 2016. The appointment of John McGreal permanently at the beginning of last season saw the U's go on to a have decent finish in their first season back in the fourth tier, their first in this division since 1998.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm on Friday 30th March at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

TICKET INFORMATION

The Hatters have sold out their allocation 1,946 tickets for this fixture.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Town have played Colchester 27 times, the first of which was a 3-1 win at Kenilworth Road in January 1964 for the Hatters. We have gone on to win ten matches in total, while the U's have come out on top eight times and nine matches have finished all-square.

Dan Potts gave us a taste of what was to come for the rest of the season when he headed in from an Alan Sheehan cross in our 3-0 win here back in August, with James Collins and Olly Lee also getting on the scoresheet, the former scoring a spectacular curling effort. Marek Stech also pulled off one of the saves of the season as he somehow denied Sammie Szmodics from close range.

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.

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Match Reports

REPORT: COLCHESTER UTD 2 LUTON TOWN 1

30 March 2018

The Hatters suffered defeat at Colchester for the second season in a row on a hugely disappointing afternoon, after Luke Berry suffered a serious ankle injury in the opening exchanges at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Danny Hylton’s late penalty halved the deficit and set up a grandstand finish, but ultimately Tom Eastman and Luke Prosser’s first-half goals soon after a 12-minute hold-up for Berry’s injury proved enough for Colchester to take the points.

Hatters boss Nathan Jones made one change to his starting line-up with Glen Rea back into the midfield holding role in place of Alan McCormack, while Luke Gambin and Flynn Downes returned from international duty to take their place on the bench.

The Hatters were dealt an horrendous blow with just a minute on the clock when Berry slid in to make a challenge. His trailing left leg appeared to get caught in the ground and his team-mates immediately signalled for a stretcher, the midfielder clearly in distress.

The other players went into the dressing room while Berry received treatment before being stretchered off to a waiting ambulance. Gambin came on in his place, with Colchester also making a substitution when the game resumed after a 12-minute hold-up, Tom Lapslie – the closest to the injury – going off to be replaced by Brandon Comley.

The hosts took the lead in what officially was the fourth minute, as referee Trevor Kettle had asked for the clock to be stopped while play was suspended, when Eastman met a right-wing cross with a thumping header into the roof of the net.

Their Colchester’s second came in the 15th minute, and this time it was the other centre-half, Prosser, who headed in Ben Stevenson’s left-wing corner after Brennan Dickenson’s 25-yard free-kick had deflected off the Hatters’ wall.

It took a while for the Hatters to get started, but after a James Collins shot had been blocked by Eastman and an Alan Sheehan free-kick had been headed clear, Hylton had the ball in the back of the net on 42 minutes – only for a linesman’s flag to rule it out.

The Town finished the first half the stronger of the two sides, with Olly Lee flashing a shot across the face of goal deep into injury-time, and they made all the running after the break too as the incessant rain started to sit on a heavy pitch.

Olly Lee went close in the 51st minute after a neat one-two with Andrew Shinnie, and just before the hour mark, Hylton glanced a header wide from a Sheehan free-kick on the left.

Jones soon introduced Elliot Lee and he livened things up in attack, getting to the left byline within seconds of his arrival to cross for Hylton, but the striker’s shot was deflected over the bar.

On 68 minutes Elliot Lee engineered a move by feeding Gambin on the right wing, and although Hylton once more met the Malta international’s cross, it was easy for Sam Walker to gather.

Colchester’s only real opportunity of the second half came in the 79th minute when Scott Cuthbert got his head in the way of Stevenson’s goalbound shot, and eight minutes later the Hatters were handed a lifeline when Cuthbert found Gambin to the left of the area, and Colchester defender Ryan Jackson brought the winger down.

Hylton stepped up to chip his penalty down the middle for his 19th goal of the season, and with Cuthbert playing as an emergency centre-forward, another opportunity presented itself two minutes into injury-time when Collins raced onto his captain’s flick, but the striker was denied the chance to shoot as a home defender got back to make the challenge.

The Hatters’ chance of mounting another fightback from 2-0 down had gone, and results elsewhere meant that the gap over fourth place is a healthy seven points, despite Accrington opening up a three-point advantage at the top with their win at Mansfield.

Thoughts, however, were with eight-goal midfielder Berry as his dislocated left ankle was being assessed at Ipswich hospital for possible fracture and ligament damage. Everyone at Kenilworth Road is right behind you Luke, wishing you a speedy recovery.

 

 

TOWN: Shea, Justin, Cuthbert ©, Sheehan, Potts, Rea (Cornick 70), O Lee, Berry (Gambin 13), Shinnie (E Lee 66), Collins, Hylton. Subs: Stacey, Jervis, Downes, Stech (GK)

Goals: Hylton (pen) 88

Yellows: Potts, Sheehan, Cuthbert 

 

COLCHESTER: Walker; Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Vincent-Young, Lapslie (Comley 13), Stevenson (Murray 83), Szmodics, Wright, Dickenson (Senior 46), Mandron. Subs: Barnes (GK), Kent, Mandeville, Ogedi-Uzokwe

Goals: Eastman 4, Prosser 15

Yellows: Jackson, Mandron, Wright, Walker

 

REFEREE: Trevor Kettle

ATT: 5,461 (1,942 Hatters)

 

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