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22 December 2018 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | LUTON TOWN V BURTON ALBION

21 December 2018

Town will look to round off 2018 at Kenilworth Road in style tomorrow afternoon when they welcome Burton Albion.

Having played 22 times in the league at home this calendar year, the Hatters have been defeated just twice, winning on 17 occasions.

Part of that run has been the unbeaten sequence Town find themselves on in front of the Hatters faithful here, having not witnessed a defeat in League One in 11 outings at Kenilworth Road this campaign.

Ten wins from the last 12 has catapulted the Hatters into the top two, just four points off highflyers Portsmouth, having at one stage been 11 behind Kenny Jackett's team.

That incredible form saw Nathan Jones nominated for Manager of the Month, Elliot Lee win the Player of the Month award and James Justin scoop the Young Player of the Month in the EFL awards for November.

Burton have had mixed results throughout the campaign, but will no doubt have got a huge left after their Carabao Cup exploits in midweek, when they defeated Middlesbrough to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

Nigel Clough has said in the build-up to the game though that his side are now quite heavily depleted for tomorrow – with injuries, as well as a sickness bug that has affected his squad.

From their ten away games in League One this season, they have picked up eight points, as they sit 15th, with 27 points after 21 games.

Supporters will be able to purchase a number of homemade products tomorrow including cottage pies and burritos, as well as 'Bad Santa' and 'Good Santa' burgers – definitely worth a try.

Contactless payment will be available around the ground, with some food and drink kiosks operating a card only till to speed up serving times – make sure you take advantage of these.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On the Christmas schedule: "It's kind of unfortunate at times if you want to maintain levels, there's so many in quick succession and it's the Christmas period, it's the festive period. The time is traditional in this country, it's crazy, it really is. As a player, you never really thought about it, but when you're a manager trying to look after a squad and a group of individuals, it's a tough run of fixtures.

"We saw last year that we're going to need the squad, and we're going to need the squad to be at a level, because it's very difficult to keep the same side playing four games in 11 days. But they are at a good level and we know we're going to need everyone.

"Last year we took six out of the nine points possible over the Christmas period. We had a fantastic performance away at Swindon and then we swapped things up because we knew about the quick succession and then we lost to Port Vale, then we went back to the stronger XI we felt at the time and we beat Lincoln, which in hindsight was the one we wanted to win out of the two.

"We wanted to win all three, but we just didn't perform away at Port Vale for whatever reason, so we've got to be careful. I don't think there's any right or wrong. If you try to keep the same side for all four games, invariably I am not sure you can win all four games with the same XI in such a short period. But, when you do change things up and it doesn't quite go right, then you open yourself up to something. We will gauge it as we go along. We believe in every single player we have here and I don't envisage it being the same XI over all four games."

On Burton: "They're a good side, they're a side that came down from the Championship, filled with the same players from the Championship last year. They've taken good loans, they're a well structured, well disciplined side and they've got some very good players, so it's another real tough game.

"Coupled with the result they had in midweek, I'd imagine they'd be buoyed by that, but we cant be in any better form. I don't think that will go for us or against us in any way. It'll just be another tough game, against a very good League One side."

WHO?

Formed in 1950, the club only reached the EFL in 2009, having spent a number of years in the Conference. Their ascent was masterminded mostly by current boss Nigel Clough, who took over in 1998, before leaving during their Conference winning season of 2009 for Derby County. At that stage they looked set to go up, but their 13-point cushion at the top of the table was ebbed away and it took until the final day of the campaign for them to clinch promotion.

Whilst the club rose through the divisions, they also provided a springboard for a number of young managers, including Gary Rowett and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, both of whom have gone onto manage in the Championship. It was under the latter they were promoted to League One in 2015, before Clough returned and took them up to the Championship the following season.

They managed two seasons in the Championship – which was remarkable given the gulf in budget they had compared to a majority of second tier sides. It was only a final day defeat in the last campaign that confirmed they were heading back down to League One.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Kenilworth Road on Saturday 22nd December.

TICKET INFORMATION

We're closing in on a sell-out in home sections for tomorrow's game, so please contact the Ticket Office at the earliest opportunity if you want to come to tomorrow's game, as we cannot guarantee cash turnstiles will be in operation!

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Tomorrow's game will be refereed by Craig Hicks, who has overseen 24 games, dishing out 81 yellow cards and five red cards.

POWER COURT CAR PARKING

Take advantage of the fantastic car parking deal we have on for supporters, click here for more info!

AWAY SUPPORTERS

If you're a Burton Albion supporter heading to Kenilworth Road for tomorrow's game, click here to have a look at our away supporters' guide.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Of the two meetings between Luton and Burton, Burton have won on both occasions, most recently a 1-0 win here at Kenilworth Road back in April 2015.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

The main blow-by-blow account of the action from Kenilworth Road will be provided via the Match Centre on the club website, which you can access by clicking here. (*Please note that the club's Live Text will appear only by accessing through an internet browser, users of the Luton Town FC app will receive updates from Opta... the EFL Digital team assure us they are working on a fix to get club updates onto the app)

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/

And of course Simon Pitts will be on hand to provide commentary for iFollow Hatters which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

If you're an international subscriber, make sure you purchase a match pass so you can watch the game live!

SALVATION ARMY

The Salvation Army will be providing some festive atmosphere at the game tomorrow, singing carols on the Kenilworth Road forecourt before the match and at half-time on the pitch. Please give generously to their collection if you feel able.

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | TOWN 2 BURTON ALBION 0

Stacey and Collins on the scoresheet as Town make it six league wins in a row

22 December 2018

The Hatters recorded their ninth win in ten league matches in another win at fortress Kenilworth Road to stretch the gap in second spot to four points.

This time is was Burton who fell victim to the home side’s ruthless home form, making it 16 unbeaten in the league since Accrington last season and the squad’s suxth straight win. 

Jack Stacey’s goal in the first half and James Collins’ penalty towards the end means the Hatters will sit in an automatic promotion spot on Christmas Day, something the team achieved last season in Sky Bet League Two. 

It was an unchanged starting XI for the eighth game running for Nathan Jones’ men, understandably due to the phenomenal run of form his side have been on so far this term, consisting of James Shea behind a back four of James Justin, Sonny Bradley, Matty Pearson and Jack Stacey.

Glen Rea, whose afternoon was unfortunately cut short due to injury, sat just in front of the defence with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie and Elliot Lee completing the diamond, followed by Harry Cornick and James Collins who made up the eleven on a relatively pleasant afternoon in Bedfordshire.

Burton made one change to the side that knocked Middlesbrough out of the Carabao Cup midweek, with Devante Cole coming in for the injured Buxton.

Both teams spent the opening exchanges of the first half sussing each other out with Burton holding the ball well, not threatening the goal as such but keeping possession in the Hatters’ half and making the back four work.

It was in the tenth minute that Rea sustained a clash of knees with Scott Fraser. He spent a small amount of time off the field but trudged back onto the pitch in the hope of running it off. It was not meant to be for the holding midfielder though, helped straight down the tunnel a little while later.

Jorge Grant replaced the skipper, who was able to see Stacey’s 18th minute goal before his game came to an end. A sensational pass from Shinnie (maybe even assist of the season) fell perfectly to Stacey who took one touch and slotted it under Bradley Collins.

The Hatters were on the attack two minutes later, with a well-timed challenge from John Brayford on Cornick. As he turned, Collins was there to nick it off him. Cornick managed to get to his feet in time to receive the ball, although his tame effort bobbled harmlessly along the floor into the keeper’s hands.

Stacey was electric down the right-hand side of the pitch, receiving passes from Grant and Bradley in similar positions to that of Shinnies’ which lead to the goal. On one occasion, Stacey fizzed the ball across the six-yard box that the shot-stopper had to be ready for, claiming well just off his goal line.

Marcus Harness looked lively for the visitors, winning the ball off Lee and twisting cleverly past Grant too. His cross was not enough to trouble the defence though as Shea collected without hassle from the Burton attackers.

Cole possibly had the best chance of the half for his side, unleashing his pace after a fortunate ricochet off Bradley allowed him to stretch his legs. His progress was halted by Pearson and the ball was bundled on by Shea, that meant the home side went in at half-time one goal to the good.

The Brewers had the first chance of the second 45, just three minutes after the restart. Lucas Akins managing to win a corner for the team in white. Jamie Allen lofted a lovely ball in at the near post that Cole couldn’t keep under the bar.

Cornick exploited the Burton defence with his acceleration, getting the better of Ben Turner who pulled the number 14 down outside the left-hand side of the box. Justin stood over the ball and curled an effort towards the top corner of the near post that the keeper could only claw out to Lee. Unfortunatley the number 10’s header was not strong enough to find its way into the net.

Burton were not finished though in what was a hotly contested encounter at Kenilworth Road. Pearson had to be ready to head away in a crowded six-yard box and Reece Hutchinson was able to go on a mazy run, past a couple of orange shirts before sending a low effort into the arms of a grateful Shea.

Two minutes later, Cole was in action once more as he turned and forced an important block from Pearson. The resulting corner was whipped in, but Turner couldn’t get his header towards goal. There was some promising football on display from the Brewers who were on a high from reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

As we reached the last 20 minutes of the match, niggly fouls here and there from both sides slowed the speed of the game. The Brewers picking up all of the yellows on this ocassion.

The introduction of Danny Hylton proved to be the game changing moment once more, winning a penalty just three minutes after his arrival. Another top pass from Grant found Collins out on the left-hand side, allowing him to thread the ball into Hylton who was blatantly tripped by Stephen Quinn.

Collins coolly stepped up, lifting the ball into the top left corner, also sending the shot-stopper sharing his surname the wrong way, putting a killer blow to the plans of Burton who were looking to grab something from the match late on.

The Burton keeper also found his way into the referee’s book when Collins tried to lob the ball over his head. Flying through the air, he was able to stop the ball from going over but in turn, gifted the ball to Hylton who he had to trip to stop a third going in.

It was almost three from the free-kick though, as Elliot Lee’s shot deflected off Hylton into the net but the number nine behind the defence on that occasion, resulting in the linesman raising his flag for offside.

But the game was won by this point as the Hatters now look to their Boxing Day clash away at Scunthorpe United. The only thing to spoil another wonderful win is that Rea was unable to finish the match on the pitch due to his injury. All at the club are hoping it is nothing serious and wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley, Justin, Rea (C) (Grant 28), Mpanzu, Shinnie, Lee (Berry 88), Collins, Cornick (Hylton 70). Subs: Stech, Potts, LuaLua, Sheehan

Goals: Stacey 17’, Collins (PEN) 73’

 

BURTON: Collins, Brayford, Allen, Turner, Fraser, Hesketh (Fox 46), Akins (C), Harness, Hutchinson, Quinn (Wallace 74), Cole (Miller 82). Subs: Bywater, Buxton, Sbarra, McCrory

Yellows: Turner, Hesketh, Quinn, Collins

 

REFEREE: Craig Hicks

 

ATT: 9,538 (173 away)

 

 

 

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