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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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04 August 2018 Venue Fratton Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | PORTSMOUTH V LUTON TOWN

The Town head to Fratton Park tomorrow for the opening game of the 2018/19 Sky Bet League One season

3 August 2018

The Hatters kick-off their Sky Bet League One campaign tomorrow as they head to Fratton Park to take on Kenny Jackett's Portsmouth.

The Town's first third tier game in ten-years, the match marks the start of a three-game run of facing former Premier League teams – with Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion taking on the Town in the upcoming weeks.

Nathan Jones' second placed finish in League Two last season was enough to win promotion to League One, whilst Portsmouth enter their second campaign in the division – having won the fourth-tier title in 2017.

A well built squad already, Jackett has added former Burton Albion midfielder Tom Naylor to his side as well as ex-Bristol Rovers defender Lee Brown, bolstering a side that boasts Brett Pitman and Christian Burgess.

The Hatters have added real quality in Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley and Jorge Grant, as well as securing former loanee Andrew Shinnie on a permanent two-year deal.

THE GAFFERS SAYS:

On taking on Portsmouth, before Sunderland and West Brom: "It is [a great start to have]. You've got to play all the top teams and they have got to play us, which is what we tend to think about ourselves. It's a difficult start in terms of the calibre of opposition, but they're all difficult.

"First games of the season are always different as you saw last year with our game so you never know. You can never gauge who is going to be in good form early on, but it's an exciting start. We go into League One with an absolute bang.

On his league expectations: "We don't know how this season is going to pan out, Sunderland are a big pull in this league with a huge budget, but they're going through certain transitions, so you don't know.

"Portsmouth are a very good club, Scunthorpe narrowly missed out last year, they'll be strong again. You've got Charlton who are a massive club at this level, Peterborough with a manager who's used to being at the top end and have bought 14, 15 players, so it's a real tough test to come in.

"There'll be some real stern tests here, it'll be a good league, a competitive league, but realistically every league in England is competitive."

WHO?

The Fratton Park outfit were a Premier League side as recently as 2010, but three relegations in four years saw them stuck in the fourth tier for four seasons.

Promotion as champions on the last day of the 2016/17 campaign under Paul Cook set themselves up well for life in the third tier, before Cook left for Wigan Athletic and Jackett took over. An eighth placed finish last year followed, with Pitman finishing second in the goalscoring charts in the division with 24 goals, three behind Jack Marriott.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Fratton Park on Saturday 4th August.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for tomorrow's game are on sale from the LTFC Ticket Office until 2.30pm. The match is an ALL-TICKET affair, so please ensure you have a ticket before travelling.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Our last meeting was back in November last year, when the Hatters defeated Pompey 1-0 in the first round of Emirates FA Cup. James Collins fired in emphatically from Danny Hylton's pass on what was an entertaining afternoon at Kenilworth Road.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

Regular updates from Fratton Park will be provided via the Match Centre on the club website.

Simon Pitts and Darren Salton will be on hand to provide commentary for iFollow Hatters which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

The main moments from the game will appear on the Hatters' social media feeds:

Twitter – @LutonTown
Facebook – www.facebook.com/LutonTown/
Instagram – www.instagram.com/ltfc_official/

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT & GALLERY |PORTSMOUTH 1-0 LUTON TOWN

4 August 2018

Rarely will a defeat for the Hatters feel so positive after they dominated Portsmouth on their own patch but couldn't find the net on their return to League One.

Ten years they've been away but it has been even longer since Town have hit the net at Fratton Park - a hoodoo that has endured since 1995.

And having bagged 94 goals in their promotion-winning campaign last term, it will stick in the craw that they came up potless at Pompey again. They deserved so more.

In each half, the woodwork rattled, first from captain Alan Sheehan and then from James Collins.

Harry Cornick had a golden chance to level after a concerted period of pressure for 30 minutes either side of the break, but his shot was far too close to keeper Craig MacGillivary at the near post, when a far stick finish looked the best option. It was their last good chance because then centre back Matt Clarke marshalled the hosts to the final whistle.

Even more frustrating for Luton was that Jamal Lowe made them pay, 16 minutes in, for their only defensive lapse. Those are the tighter margins at play in League Two and they will have to learn from that, but their attacking play was scintillating at times.

Town started brightly but had only a glancing Cornick header, off-target, to show for their efforts before tense moments when Ronan Curtis and Sheehan tussled in the air. The Pompey player hit the deck, clutching his face and rolling around and referee Gavin Ward consulted his assistant for what seemed like an age before ruling it was nothing more than a free-kick for the hosts.

But then Town fell behind. Sheehan slipped and debutant Matty Pearson was beaten at the byline all too easily by Curtis who cutback for a waiting Jamal Lowe to stroke in from close range.

But from there, the Hatters were impressive and only an unbelievable headed clearance from Nathan Thompson, under his crossbar, denied Collins a surefire equaliser from Jorge Grant's whipping cross.

Dan Potts did likewise from the other flank and, this time, James Collins got a connection but succeeded in only heading upwards.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, dynamic and exciting in the centre of midfield, skimmed a shot just wide of the upright from the edge of the penalty area, but Sheehan came ever closer. The captain's devilish free-kick smacked off the far post and back into play where, agonisingly, a host of Hatters in the penalty area couldn't get to the rebound.

Town dominated again after the break and thought they'd equalised on the hour when Elliot Lee teed up Collins, but the striker was denied by the underside of the crossbar.

Town's number 10 was then at it again, moments later, with another precision assist, threading the ball through to Cornick who was denied by keeper Craig MacGillivary.

The stopper used his feet to snuff out a low Pelly cross and a curling free-kick from Sheehan and, as the final whistle loomed, boss Nathan Jones threw on summer signing Sonny Bradley and sent the towering defender straight upfront. But the Fratton Park goal drought continued.

With a performance this good, that surely won't last.

Portsmouth: MacGillivary, Walkes (Close, 60), Brown, Clarke, Naylor, Pitman (c) (Hawkins, 45), Lowe, Curtis, Whatmough, Thompson (Burgess, 71), Haunstrup

Subs not used: McGee, Donahue, Chaplin, Evans

Goals: Lowe, 16

Yellows: Brown

Reds: None

Luton Town: Stech, Justin, Potts, McCormack (Jervis, 86), Pearson, Lee, Cornick (Shinnie, 77), Mpanzu, Grant, Collins, Sheehan (c)

Subs not used: Shea, Bradley, Stacey, Rea, Gambin

Yellows: Potts, Justin

Reds: None

Attendance: 19,018 (2,392)

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