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12 September 2017 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 19:45

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: LUTON TOWN V PORT VALE

Town take on the Valiants tonight at Kenilworth

12 September 2017

The Hatters welcome Staffordshire-based Port Vale this evening to Kenilworth Road as Nathan Jones and his side look to put Saturday's defeat to Swindon Town behind them.

Michael Brown's Valiants are currently bottom of Sky Bet League Two after six games, having only picked up three points – courtesy of an opening day win over Crawley Town.

The Town will be looking to put right the wrongs from the weekend, as they will push to make it three wins from four home league games tonight.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On taking on the Valiants: "It's a game that I don't take for granted in any way, shape or form, because we are on an absolute hiding to nothing. Never mind our league position, never mind what has gone on in the past or they've come down – these are very tricky games.

"I believe I have picked a side and worked on a side that will not be complacent in anyway. Our style and how we go about the game – I will be very disappointed if we have any complacency about us."

On not being complacent: "We expect to win football games. We are a proud bunch and we want to win games, but it's never like that. They could quite easily go on a five-game winning run, it's sides that do that and you watch the games and think 'how have they done that?' Swindon for example had played Crawley the week before and Crawley won 3-0, but Swindon could have been 3-0 up within 15 minutes. They had a tenth of the chances they had against Crawley when they played us and yet they won 3-0 here.

"It's a strange league, it's a real, real strange league, but we don't take anything for granted. We never do because we have been bitten on the bum a few too many times to ever be complacent and we won't be tonight."

WHO?

Back in the fourth tier for the first time since 2013, the Valiants have only picked up one win from their opening six league games. Port Vale will be hoping former Leeds United and Sheffield United midfielder Michael Brown is the man to lead them straight back, having taken over midway through last season.

Former Stevenage midfielder Michael Tonge is joint top scorer at Vale Park this season alongside Dan Turner, with both on two goals.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 7:45pm tonight at Kenilworth Road.

TICKET INFO

Tickets are still available from the Ticket Office in person, over the phone and online, which you can access by clicking here. They will also be available on cash turnstiles around the ground.

LAST TIME WE PLAYED?

Tonight's game will mark the 36th time the Hatters have played the Valiants, with the Hatters triumphant in 16 of those games. Vale have won 11 and the other eight have ended in draws. Recent history certainly favours the Hatters, having picked up six wins from the previous ten games between the two. The most recent of those was a 3-1 win at Vale Park back in February 2009.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

Supporters who aren't heading to Kenilworth Road tonight 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. ­­

AWAY SUPPORTERS 

We look forward to welcoming supporters from Port Vale into the Oak Road end of the stadium. All the information you require ahead of your trip to Kenilworth Road can be found on our website by clicking here.

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Match Reports

REPORT: LUTON TOWN 2 PORT VALE 0

Hatters return to winning ways as Stacey bags stunning first for the club

12 September 2017

The Hatters turned in a thoroughly professional performance against bottom club Port Vale to return to winning ways at Kenilworth Road tonight.

A goal in each half and a third clean sheet of the season ensured that Nathan Jones’ men bounced back from Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat by Swindon in perfect fashion, an own goal from the visitors’ Ben Whitfield and a terrific first Hatters strike for right-back Jack Stacey securing victory.

Jones made two changes to the side from Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Swindon as his side went in search of a first win since Colchester were beaten here three weeks ago, with excellent draws on the road at Mansfield and Lincoln preceding Saturday’s reversal against the Robins.

One was enforced, with Glen Rea coming into the starting line-up as a replacement for captain Scott Cuthbert, who was serving a one-match suspension following his red card against his former club. The other change saw Luke Berry return to the midfield in place of Olly Lee, who was among the substitutes.

The Town bossed most of the early possession, but it took until the 13th minute to engineer an attempt on goal, Berry - who seemed to be constantly on the ball in the opening exchanges - picking out Andrew Shinnie in oceans of space in the Valiants’ penalty area with a pinpoint cross, but the Scottish midfielder’s header was way off target.

Shinnie was next to have a crack at goal too, Stacey making good progress down the right to reach Rea’s pass and tee the attacking midfielder up, but his 25-yard drive was straight at Sam Hornby in the Vale goal.

There was a two-minute break in play while Dan Potts received treatment midway through the half after taking a blow to the head while clearing a dangerous looking cross from David Worrall on the Vale left.

Berry was the architect of the Town’s next opening just after the half-hour, whipping in a cross from the left that found Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu breaking into the visitors’ box, but the midfielder couldn’t get a clean connection on his attempt.

The breakthrough came in the 36th minute and it started with Shinnie being dumped on his backside as he flicked the ball around the corner to Mpanzu, but referee David Webb played a great advantage.

He allowed play to go on, with Hylton popping the ball off to Berry as Vale midfielder Whitfield arrived at exactly the same time to inadvertently steer it past his own stranded keeper from the edge of the area.

Marek Stech had been a virtual spectator at the other end, but in the 42nd minute he had to fly across his goalline to not only keep out an Anthony de Freitas free-kick that looked bound for the top corner, but hold on to the ball as well.

The Czech keeper, already a firm favourite with the Kenilworth Road faithful, then drew further applause as he came to claim a high cross almost on the edge of his penalty area as the Hatters saw the half out maintaining the upper hand – but more plaudits would come his way in the second half.

The Town’s lead was doubled five minutes after the break – and what a goal on the break it was!

After having to deal with some early Vale pressure, Potts again heading one cross clear at the far post, McCormack – who was dictating the midfield – broke free from his own area as the Town managed to repel a Vale corner.

The Irish midfielder initially lost the ball to Whitfield as he tried to outpace him 35 yards from his own goal, but his determination won it back instantly and he set Stacey haring off down the right flank from inside his own half.

As he reached the right edge of the Vale penalty area, the former Reading and Exeter man unleashed a right-footed rocket into the roof of the net at Hornby’s near post, the keeper straying off his line in the belief Stacey would cross to the unmarked Mpanzu in the box.

Within seconds, Worrall fired a warning shot from 30 yards, but the Hatters were soon up at the other end again, looking to put the game beyond doubt, Collins playing Mpanzu in on the right side of the Vale area, although Hornby managed to repel the midfielder’s blast on this occasion.

Vale boss Michael Brown made his first substitution in the 62nd minute, taking striker Tyrone Barnett off and replacing him with Dan Turner – but it was captain Nathan Smith who had their next half-effort on goal, a looping header that sailed safely over Stech’s crossbar.

As the Town went in search of that killer third goal, Mpanzu pounced on a loose ball just outside the area and played Shinnie into the box, but the Birmingham loanee’s shot on the stretch went into the side-netting.

Vale reminded Town they still carried a threat, Worrall seeing another powerful shot from range deflected wide in the 68th minute, before Stech had to make two first-class saves in three minutes – first tipping de Freitas’ header over, then getting down low to turn another Worrall shot around the post.

There were no more scares as the Hatters saw the game out professionally, with the excellent Berry coming closest to adding to the scoreline in the 88th minutes as a Potts cross was only headed clear as far as the edge of the penalty area, but the midfielder’s volley was always rising.

Mpanzu and Stacey then combined down the right with 90 minutes almost up, but the right-back’s pull-back towards Hylton was cut out as the intended target waited frustrated as he went in search of his second goal of the season.

The Town had done enough, though, and the three points took them back up to ninth place ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Wycombe, who sit one place and one point above them.

 

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Rea, Sheehan ©, Potts, McCormack, Mpanzu, Berry, Shinnie (Cornick 84), Hylton, Collins (E Lee 90+1). Subs: Justin, Mullins, O Lee, Gambin, Shea (GK)

Yellows: McCormack

Goals: Whitfield OG 36, Stacey 50

 

PORT VALE: Hornby, Anderson, Davis (Pyke 85), Pope, Worrall, Barnett (Turner 62), Smith ©, de Freitas, Whitfield, Gunning, Middleton (Stobbs 73). Subs: Wilson, Denton, Kay, Boot (GK)

Yellows: Middleton

 

REFEREE: David Webb

ATT: 7,046 (136 away)

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