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04 November 2017 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

EMIRATES FA CUP PREVIEW: LUTON TOWN V PORTSMOUTH

The Hatters prepare to defend unbeaten FA Cup record against Pompey!

3 November 2017

The Hatters entertain Sky Bet League One side Portsmouth tomorrow in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup, looking to extend the club’s unbeaten record in the world’s oldest cup competition against the Hampshire side.

Historically the Hatters have never lost to Pompey in the FA Cup, having beaten them at the same stage in 1921-22 in a replay, then in the third round in 1950-51 and a quarter-final in 1987-88, when current chief recruitment officer Mick Harford was on the scoresheet.

This time around, Nathan Jones men have been in excellent form of late, sitting third in Sky Bet League Two with last week’s 3-0 home defeat to Coventry City their only set-back in their last 12 games in all competitions.

A young Town side bounced back with a 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon to progress to the Checkatrade Trophy knockout stages in midweek, and Jones is keen to see his squad test themselves against a team who won the fourth tier title last term and currently sit mid-table in League One under new manager Kenny Jackett, who replaced Wigan-bound Paul Cook in the summer.

 

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On the FA Cup? “Like anyone who’s my era and older, it’s a real nostalgic one. The FA Cup final used to be the only game we could watch on TV. It’s that kind of competition – it’s held in high regard all over the world. It’s maybe lost a slight bit of gloss in the latter rounds, because big Premier League teams now with things like Champions League slightly rotate in their earlier rounds, and so do a few Championship clubs because it’s so important in terms of getting to the Premier League. But I still think it’s held in massive regard and it has that excitement, especially these rounds now where Non-League clubs are in it. They, and the League One and League Two clubs, are striving to get to the third round. There is no draw like it. It’s more eagerly awaited than the Champions League Draw.”

On facing a League One club? “This is a real, real good test because they won the league last year and probably deservedly so. Over a season the league doesn’t lie. They nicked it on the last day, but they had that momentum going into the final stages and that’s what you’ve got to do. They were a good side and they’ve changed manager, but he’s very experienced at this level and he’s got a real work ethic about him, so you know exactly what you’re going to get from a Kenny Jackett team. They’ll be organised, they’ve got very good players and it’ll be a real difficult game, but we're looking forward to it and I think it's the tie of the round. Obviously I'm slightly biased, but I really think it's the tie of the round – it hasn't quite got the romance, but in terms of a football match, I think it's as big as it comes.”

On picking his strongest possible side in order to progress in the competition? “Of course, because this is another game. If you ask me ‘Do I want to win the FA Cup or do I want to get promoted this year?’ Realistically, it would probably do my reputation no end of good winning the FA Cup with a League Two team, but the be-all and end-all is us getting promoted. Look, we won’t let anything distract us from that, but this is not a distraction. This is a real good game; good for the fans and good for the football club. It’s a real mouth-watering tie and we’re looking forward to it. Our players will be, because they’ll be looking to bounce back.”

 

WHO?

The Fratton Park outfit were winners of this competition ten years ago, when Harry Redknapp led the then-Premier League side all the way to Wembley and a 1-0 success over Cardiff City. Their infamous financial meltdown then led to them plummeting to the bottom division inside five years, however, where they stayed for four until they finally beat us to escape the EFL basement last May as League Two champions. After 16 games in their first League One campaign since 2012-13, they currently sit in 14th spot, five points off the play-offs and five above the drop zone. Top scorer is summer signing Brett Pitman, who has nine goals in 14 appearances so far for the club, but like the Hatters, Pompey have failed to score in their last two league games – and have lost three in a row.

 

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off at Kenilworth Road is at 3pm on Saturday 4th November.

 

TICKET INFORMATION

With Portsmouth having sold in excess of 1,100 tickets, the LTFC ticket office are advising supporters to purchase tickets in advance if possible. They can be purchased online or from the Ticket Office by phone on 01582 416976 or in person. Tickets will be available on the day, but to avoid queues, please BOOK EARLY!

Prices are:

Adult: £20
Golden Senior (75+): £12
Senior (65+): £15
Young Adult (17-21): £15
Under 19: £12
Youth (Under 17): £8
Junior (Under 10): £5 

 

LAST TIME WE PLAYED?

It was the first game of this year, on January 2nd, when the Hatters travelled to Fratton Park and were beaten 1-0 by a Christian Burgess goal, with 11-goal midfielder Cameron McGeehan suffering a broken leg during the first half. The result saw Pompey complete the double on Town, having won 3-1 here at Kenilworth Road just under a year ago.

 

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' audio match commentary, although overseas subscribers should note that they will NOT be able to watch a live stream of tomorrow’s match as it is a cup competition.

 

MINUTE’S SILENCE FOR REMEMBRANCE DAY

Supporters should be aware that as it is our home game closest to Remembrance Sunday, there will be a minute’s silence prior to kick-off in memory of the servicemen and women who have lost their lives serving their country. The Royal British Legion held a collection at last Saturday’s game against Coventry, but poppies are still available around the ground.

 

ANY OLD POUND COINS TO GET RID OF?

The club will accept the now redundant coins for the final time at tomorrow’s match. The coins can be used in the Club Shop at the ground, in the Ticket Office, to purchase food, drink or a programme and even to get your Golden Gamble ticket. Make sure you take advantage of this chance to get rid of that loose change!

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Match Reports

EMIRATES FA CUP REPORT: HATTERS 1 PORTSMOUTH 0

Collins cracker seals the Town's Bonfire weekend passage to Round 2

4 November 2017

James Collins produced a Bonfire weekend special to settle a cracker of an Emirates FA Cup first round tie at Kenilworth Road this afternoon as the Hatters claimed yet another higher-level scalp in Nathan Jones’ near two-year tenure at the club.

Reigning League Two champions Portsmouth, currently 14th in the third tier, played their part in an end-to-end affair after Collins had struck a beauty, his ninth goal of the season, on the stroke of half-time to put the Town in front.

But the Hatters saw the game out – and could have added to the winning margin several times – to make Pompey the seventh victim in a list of cup conquests that already numbers Aston Villa, Gillingham, West Brom, Swindon, Chesterfield and AFC Wimbledon since the beginning of last season.

Jones made three changes to the team that started the Sky Bet League Two game against Coventry last week as the Town set off on the road to Wembley.

Coming into the side were Alan Sheehan, who returned after serving a one-match suspension last Saturday, and midfielders Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Andrew Shinnie, who netted twice in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win at Wimbledon.

Glen Rea misses out as he serves a one-game ban following his late red card against Coventry, defender Johnny Mullins is sidelined by the ankle injury suffered in that defeat while Harry Cornick drops to the bench.

Portsmouth had the afternoon’s first shot on goal, Brett Pitman’s fifth-minute effort comfortably saved by Marek Stech – but it was four minutes later that the game really burst into life tempers flared in front of the Main Stand.

Pompey’s Nathan Thompson flew in late on Alan Sheehan, picking up a yellow card from ref Seb Stockbridge while James Collins received the same punishment for getting involved in the aftermath.

The Hatters were moving the ball well, but the first opportunity for the men in orange arrived courtesy of a Sheehan free-kick, whipped in from the left with its usual precision, that found Collins unmarked in the six-yard box. Sadly, the striker’s glancing header drifted well wide of the far post.

Portsmouth’s top scorer Pitman was looking their biggest threat, as you’d expect of a striker with his higher-level experience, and the ex-Bournemouth and Ipswich man called Stech into action again in the 20th minute, the Czech keeper spectacularly tipping Pitman’s angled drive over.

Some superb defending by Mpanzu helped keep the scoreline blank on the half-hour when Pompey midfielder Ben Close tricked his way into the Hatters’ box, only to find the Hatters’ holding midfielder blocking his path with a perfectly timed tackle as Close prepared to shoot.

Mpanzu was soon up at the other end registering the Town’s first shot on target, as Hylton laid Berry’s low cross into his path to strike, but Portsmouth keeper Luke McGee was right behind the side-footed shot that travelled 25 yards along the ground.

The Hatters’ best chance of the half arrived in the 43rd minute when Shinnie dug a delightful cross out from the right that just cleared Matt Clarke’s head to find Hylton, perhaps taken by surprise that the centre-half missing it, who couldn’t generate enough power with his header to beat McGee.

The breakthrough came on the stroke of half-time, and it was Shinnie – found bby a terrific ball from Cuthbert – who again crossed from the right for Hylton, who laid an inviting volley back into striker partner Collins’ path to fire left-footed into the bottom corner.

The visitors’ winger Jamal Lowe was the next to go into ref Stockbridge’s book, closely followed by Christian Burgess

Town had the ball in the back of the net again in the 54th minute through Hylton tapped in Stacey’s low cross after a flowing move down the right, but the right-back was flagged offside as he raced onto Berry’s defence-splitting pass.

A minute later another pinpoint passing move brought a chance for Berry, Olly Lee playing a one-two with Collins on the edge of the box before spreading the play left to the former Cambridge man, whose shot was tipper onto the bar by McGee.

Portsmouth responded as a real end-to-end cup tie developed, Stech brilliantly tipping Clarke’s 59th-minute header onto the bar and a Pitman volley around the post either side of Sheehan clearing Lowe’s shot off the line.

Shinnie had a great chance to add to his midweek double at Wimbledon when he pounced on a long clearance down the right by Mpanzu – and some hesitant defending by Pompey left-back Brandon Haunstrup – but couldn’t steer his right-footed shot on target as McGee raced out to close the angle.

Stech was at his best again to beat Close’s 70th-minute drive away, sub Conor Chaplin firing the rebound high into the Oak Road End before midfielder Stuart O’Keefe became the fourth Pompey player to be shown a yellow card when he brought Olly Lee down after the Town man beat him with an outrageous piece of skill on the touchline in front of the Enclosure.

The mounting yellows proved costly in the 84th minute when Thompson picked up his second of the game, and subsequent red, for a foul on Collins, but the Hatters couldn’t profit immediately when Pompey only half-cleared Sheehan’s free-kick, Olly Lee’s shot flying high into the Kenny End.

Two minutes later Berry did exactly the same as Hylton broke from halfway, only to find his path to goal blocked as he prepared to shoot. The ball broke to Berry, whose right-footed shot from 15 yards was always rising.

Lee had a glorious chance to seal the tie in the 89th minute when he raced clear onto another ball down the right by Mpanzu, Hylton using his body to assist in allowing the ball to pass him on halfway, but McGee got a hand on Lee’s attempted 30-yard chip to turn it away for a corner.

Stech was at his brilliant best a minute into stoppage time, and just after he’d been announced as the sponsors’ man of the match, when he flew across his goal-line to push Close’s 25-yard piledriver around the post to ensure it would be the Hatters who deservedly progressed into the second round

They will find out just after 7pm on Monday night who awaits on the first weekend of December. The Hatters will be ball number 11 in the draw live on BT Sport 1, BT Sport 4K UHD and BBC2.

 

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

Yellows: Collins, O Lee

Goal: Collins 45+1

POMPEY: McGee, Clarke, Burgess, O'Keefe, Pitman (c) (Chaplin 62), Hawkins, Kennedy (Bennett 62), Lowe, Thompson, Close, Haunstrup. Subs: Rose, Lalkovic, Donohue, Evans, Bass

Yellows: Thompson, Lowe, Burgess, O’Keefe

Reds: Thompson

 

REFEREE: Seb Stockbridge

Att: 5,333 (1,143 away)

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