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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

2-2
11 November 2017 Venue LCI Rail Stadium 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: CHELTENHAM TOWN V LUTON TOWN

10 November 2017

The Hatters head to Cheltenham Town tomorrow as they look to strengthen their position in the Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion spots.

With only one defeat in their last 13 games in all competitions, Nathan Jones' side find themselves in a rich vein of form, which also led to the Welshman winning the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month for October, as well as Danny Hylton scooping the PFA Fans' Player of the Month award.

Tomorrow's hosts sit in 15th with 21 points to their name, but have picked up a majority of their points at home, having won five of their eight fixtures at Whaddon Road.

However, Gary Johnson's side come up against a team that have only lost one away league game this season – that defeat coming back in mid-August at Barnet.

A win tomorrow could see the Hatters return to the summit of the fourth tier, whilst the Robins could go as high as ninth.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On going up against Cheltenham: "It's a really difficult game, as difficult a game as we have got this month to be honest. It's a difficult place to go. Last year it was a pleasing point, we didn't play particularly well, we had to grind out things, we had to defend for our lives in terms of the numbers they put in your box and the size. They have a real aerial threat.

"What we have got to do is make sure we do what we are good at and negate their strengths. It's a very, very tough tie. If the weather is bad there it's even tougher. I watched a game down there the other day and the weather wasn't great and it's open because the stands aren't as high – it's an open ground. It's a tough place to go and we know that and we have prepared for that tough type of game.

On facing the Robins after their shock Emirates FA Cup first round exit to Maidstone United: "I think it's not a good time to cross them in terms of that. We would have preferred a Maidstone type of performance from them, but I doubt we will get one of those.

"All we can do is prepare us. We don't tend to be too preoccupied with other people, what we have got to do is make sure we are at it and we know how we can be hurt by Cheltenham so we have worked on that and obviously we want to impose ourselves on the game."

On Alan McCormack returning to first team duties: "Macca's back in full training, we've had a good week out of Macca.

"Whether we get him involved for Saturday in terms of a bit of experience is another thing, so we've got options. It's a boost to get him back.

"How we recruited this year there's no passengers really, no-one we think, 'he's back in the side, it doesn't really make a difference.' They're all big players, all players who can contribute. So when you've got all of them available you've got better options, you've got more options, it makes us stronger."

WHO?

Promoted in the 2015-16 season from the National League, they were the first club in 27 years to achieve the feat of bouncing straight back up as champions after relegation from the EFL – they managed it with 101 points. The Robins avoided relegation by just four points as they finished 21st in Sky Bet League Two last season with a poor run of form from late October through to the New Year put them in danger of slipping back down to the fifth tier.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday 11th November at Whaddon Road.

TICKET INFORMATION

The Hatters have sold out their allocation of 995 tickets for the fixture. Supporters who have not purchased a ticket are strongly advised not to travel.

LAST TIME WE PLAYED?

The last meeting between the two ended in a 3-2 defeat for the Hatters at Kenilworth Road back in January, as Will Boyle, Jack Barthram and Billy Waters got on the scoresheet for the Robins. Of the 11 games between the two sides, the Hatters have won three, drawn five and lost three.

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

MATCH REPORT: CHELTENHAM TOWN 2 LUTON TOWN 2

Last-gasp Cheltenham equaliser denies Town a return to the top of League Two

11 November 2017

The Hatters spurned a host of chances to move back to the top of the Sky Bet League Two table as Cheltenham twice fought back from a goal behind to take a point from this afternoon’s clash in the Cotswolds.

Nathan Jones' Town led twice through Dan Potts, who headed in his third of the season early on, and Elliot Lee, who scored what appeared to be a winning goal with five minutes left, as they travelled in search of a first-ever win at Whaddon Road.

But five minutes into time added on, the Robins struck a second equaliser when centre-half Will Boyle turned goalkeeper Scott Flinders’ goalbound header home and the Hatters – who would have returned to the summit with a win – dropped out of the automatic promotion spots to fourth.

Fresh from picking up the Sky Bet League Two Manager of the Month award, boss Jones made two changes to his starting line-up for today’s return to league action at Cheltenham.

Coming back into midfield after serving a one-match ban in last week’s 1-0 FA Cup win over Portsmouth was Glen Rea, with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu dropping to the bench, and replacing Andrew Shinnie – who played at the tip of the diamond last Saturday – was Harry Cornick as part of a front three.

The Hatters opened the scoring with their first real attack – and first corner – of the game. Alan Sheehan, as ever, strode over to the right to swing it in with his trusty left foot and Potts found himself in oceans of space at the far post to direct his header back past Robins keeper Flinders.

It was the left-back’s third goal of the season, and within a couple of minutes the only outfield player in the starting line-up not to have netted for the Town so far this season, Rea, was trying his luck from distance, but his 25-yard volley didn’t dip enough to trouble Flinders.

Cheltenham were proving a threat when throwing balls into the Hatters’ box, without creating a real chance, while the Town were stringing together some incisive passing moves down the right, exploiting Cornick and Jack Stacey’s pace.

It was from the left, however, that the next glorious chance arose in the 21st minute as Berry skipped past his man to the byline and stood up a beautiful cross to the back stick for Hylton, who didn’t make a clean connection with his header, perhaps put off by Jordan Cranston’s jump in front of him.

Two minutes later, after another rapid break down the right involving Stacey and Cornick, Olly Lee whipped a dangerous low ball across the six-yard box that Cheltenham defender Jamie Grimes did well to slice over his own bar, rather than into the roof of the net, at full stretch.

The hosts’ first opportunity came just before the half-hour when Brian Graham pulled off onand rose to meet Harry Pell’s clipped cross, but his header drifted wide of the far post, watched closely by Stech, who had been commanding his area by coming through crowds of players to claim several crosses and relieve any pressure.

He could do nothing about the left-wing delivery that led to Grimes’ equaliser, however, in the 37th minute as first a long throw, and then a deflected cross from Daniel O’Shaughnessy, saw the ball find its way to the right-back, who stabbed home from almost on the line at the far post.

The Hatters went in search of a second goal and as half-time approached, Hylton – who had set Rea up for another 20-yard shot just before the leveller – led a quickfire counter-attack from inside his own half, before playing Cornick in on the right to cross low for a sliding Olly Lee, who couldn’t steer his stabbed effort on target.

Then, in time added on for stoppages, the Town spurned two great chances. First, Cornick slipped Collins into the area and, after checking back onto his right foot, the striker’s curling shot went over the bar.

Second later, Cornick raced onto a fine throughball from Lee and bore down on Flinders one-on-one, but couldn’t beat the onrushing Cheltenham keeper who smothered the ex-Bournemouth forward’s shot almost as it left his boot.

Collins had gone down injured in the build-up to that last chance, and the striker didn’t reappear for the second half, replaced by Elliot Lee, who joined Hylton and Cornick in the Hatters’ front three.

The first sight of goal in the second half came when Sheehan stepped forward to take a 25-yard free-kick, but couldn’t clear Cheltenham’s mountain range of a defensive wall, then Cornick burst into the box but couldn’t keep his right-footed shot down as the ball nestled in among the 1,007 travelling fans.

Town were attacking at break-neck pace, and Cornick saw another shot from the edge of the box blocked after Elliot Lee and Hylton combined to set him up, before the younger Lee brother had a go – with the same end result – in the 56th minute.

Cheltenham grew into the half and threatened again in the 65th minute when Boyle rose highest to meet an inswinging right-wing cross from Jerell Sellars, but his header flew over the bar into the home fans in the Speedy Skips Stand.

The Hatters had plenty of possession without creating any further chances, and the next decent opening went Cheltenham’s way in the 77th minute when, after another aerial bombardment on the Town box, sub Danny Wright’s knock-down found Mohamed Eisa, but the Robins striker made a hash of his attempted shot.

Cornick had the Town’s next opportunity, although his 78th minute effort as he drifted along the edge of the Cheltenham box was always rising.

Then, just inside the final ten minutes, Olly Lee hit a rasping left-foot drive from 30 yards that only just cleared the angle of post and bar as Cheltenham keeper Flinders flew across his line.

The hosts’ captain, Kyle Storer, called Stech back into action with an 83rd-minute free-kick after Stacey had been penalised for a foul on Sellars.

It was a free-kick at other end that led to what everyone though would be the key moment for the Hatters two minutes later, after Berry had been fouled by Grimes 20 yards from the Cheltenham goal.

Sheehan’s curling effort made its way around the wall, but it hit a Cheltenham defender further back and fell invitingly into Elliot Lee’s path and the former West Ham youngster gobbled up the opportunity to bundle home his second league goal of the season in front of the gleeful Hatters fans in the Hazlewoods Stand behind that goal.

A bemused Sheehan was booked in the aftermath (*it was later clarified that it should have been given to Cornick), then Berry became the third Hatter to go into ref Robert Lewis’ notepad before Jones brought Mpanzu on in place of Cornick in an attempt to see the game out.

It didn’t go accordingly to plan, as five minutes into injury-time Cheltenham grabbed a second equaliser as a right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post and home keeper Flinders, up for one last throw of the dice, headed goalwards and Boyle turned it in from almost on the line for a share of the spoils.

 

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Cuthbert ©, Sheehan, Potts, Rea, O Lee, Berry, Cornick (Mpanzu 90), Hylton, Collins (E Lee 46). Subs: Justin, Cook, Shinnie, D’Ath, Shea (GK)

Yellows: Hylton, Cornick (card originally shown incorrectly to Sheehan), Berry, Stech

Goals: Potts 11, E Lee 85

CHELTENHAM: Flinders, Grimes, Cranston (O’Shaugnessy 34), Storer ©, Pell, Winchester, Boyle, Sellars, Eisa (Hinds 79), Graham (Wright 75), Moore. Subs: Flatt (GK), Bower, Davey

Goals: Grimes 37, 90+5

REFEREE: Robert Lewis

ATT: 3,900 (1,007 Hatters)

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