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16 February 2019 Venue Highbury Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | FLEETWOOD TOWN v LUTON TOWN

The Hatters head to Highbury looking to set new club record

15 February 2019

The Hatters head to Fleetwood Town tomorrow with the opportunity to set a new club record of 20 EFL matches unbeaten if they win or draw at Highbury Stadium.

In the week that Mick Harford's spell as interim manager was extended to the end of the season the Town players have the opportunity to write their names further into the club annals after equalling the 19-game record set twice in successive years in 1968 and 1969.

Chief recruitment officer Harford, whose extended appointment was announced on his 60th birthday on Tuesday, has overseen five successive league victories since picking up a more-than-useful point at promotion rivals Sunderland in his first game in charge on January 12th.

Since that 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, the Town have beaten Peterborough, Southend, Portsmouth, Shrewsbury and Wycombe to open up a six-point gap over second-placed Barnsley, and a nine-point cushion over the play-off places at the top of Sky Bet League One.

With Harry Cornick, Elliot Lee and Kazenga LuaLua all having returned to training this week following injury lay-offs, the Town are almost at full strength heading up to the Fylde Coast, with Glen Rea the only absentee following the knee surgery that ended his season just before Christmas.

Joey Barton's Fleetwood are ninth in the table, eight points off the final play-off spot, but are in decent nick having just recorded back-to-back league victories for only the second time this season with solitary goal successes over Charlton and Bradford.

Their top scorer is Paddy Madden, who has 17 goals for the season - two less than Hatters leading marksman James Collins.

 

MICK HARFORD SAYS:

On the pressure of being top: "There is pressure, especially when you are top of the league. But we are six points clear, we are in good form and I believe the pressure is on everybody else. They are the ones who are playing catch-up. But yes, there is a pressure on to win games, and there's a tough game at the weekend as we well know. I think there is pressure from everywhere and I'd rather have this pressure than when I was here ten years ago as the manager. It's a good pressure and I'll try to transfer that to the players, that you are there to be shot at. You are, at the moment, the best team in the league so let's enjoy it, let's embrace how far you've come and how far we've got this season."

On Fleetwood: "They are in good form. I think it's the second time this season they've had back-to-back wins, they've only lost one in their last six games. It's a tough place to go. Joey gets them playing, absolutely. He gets them playing in a certain way. They've got a structure now that I think the players have bought into and hsi team is playing well, so it will be difficult for us. They are a lively front three and a well-balanced team."

On whether he knows Joey Barton: "Not really. I have spoken to him in the past. I wouldn't say we are personal friends, but I've got a lot of respect for him, he's had a great career and he's doing well in management in his first job. His team, if it matches the way Joey was, will be aggressive, they'll try and play football a certain way. We will make our players aware of their strengths and weaknesses and be ready for the challenge."

YOU CAN WATCH MICK'S PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE ON IFOLLOW BY CLICKING HERE.

WHO?

It’s difficult to talk about the Cod Army without mentioning their ridiculous climb up the leagues. A North West Counties League Division One side in 2004, they won six promotions in ten years to climb all the way up to League One, where they have resided since 2014. The club has folded and begun again twice since its inception in 1908, spending a majority of their existence in the lower reaches of Non-League, mainly the Lancashire Combination League.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Highbury Stadium on Saturday 16th February.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Select Group 2/Championship official Peter Bankes will take charge of tomorrow's game. He has overseen 28 games this season, dishing out 124 yellow cards and four red cards. The last time he took control of a Hatters match was when we travelled to Blackpool in December 2016.

TICKET INFORMATION

The match is 'all-ticket' for Hatters fans and tickets went off sale at 2pm on Friday, with just a handful unsold. Supporters are advised that tickets on the day will only be available to members of Fleetwood Town FC, so please do not travel on the day without a ticket.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Of our five meetings in total, Town have won on three occasions – including our 2-0 victory earlier on this campaign when a Harry Cornick strike and a Craig Morgan own goal secured the three points for the Hatters – with Fleetwood winning the other two. The Hatters have been successful on our previous two visits to Highbury, with a 3-0 win in 2010 before a 2-0 victory secured a Conference play-off place under Paul Buckle on the final day of the 2011-12 season - a match which saw Jamie Vardy and Andre Gray come up against each other!

FOLLOW THE ACTION

The main blow-by-blow account of the action from the Fylde Coast 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 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!

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | FLEETWOOD TOWN 1 LUTON TOWN 2

Moncur and Mpanzu on target as the Hatters set new club record of 20 EFL games without defeat

16 February 2019

The Hatters set a new club record this afternoon by making it 20 EFL games without defeat by beating Fleetwood Town 2-0 at Highbury Stadium.

That result meant that the Town, who extended their cushion over third place to 11 points, have not been beaten since the trip to Barnsley in mid-October and have broken the 19-game unbeaten Football League with a sixth successive victory - a record that has stood for 50 years.

George Moncur, with his fourth goal for the club on his first start, set the ball rolling just before half-time, and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu - with a long-range shot that Fleetwood keeper Alex Cairns couldn't deal with - bagged the second that sealed the win four minutes into the second half.

In truth, it was relatively comfortable from then on in as the Hatters recorded a 16th win in that 20-game run, Paddy Madden's 18th goal of the season two minutes into injury-time proving a consolation for the hosts.

Harford made one enforced change to his starting line-up; with Moncur coming in to the midfield at the tip of the diamond following his two-goal substiutute's performance against Wycombe last week in place of Luke Berry, who was sidelined by the hamstring niggle that forced him off late in the second half of that 3-0 win.

The other changes were on the bench, where Elliot Lee returns after missing the last five matches through injury, and Kazenga LuaLua after being absent last Saturday with a tight hamstring.

That meant James Shea was in goal, with a back four of Jack Stacey, Matty Pearson, captain Sonny Bradley and James Justin.

Alan McCormack anchored the midfield with Mpanzu and Andrew Shinnie either side of him and Moncur at the tip of the diamond, behind a front two of 19-goal top scorer James Collins and Danny Hylton.

The hosts had the first shot on goal in the seventh minute, as Ross Wallace fired straight at Shea from 25 yards.

The Town's first attack of note came soon after when Mpanzu, Shinnie, Moncur and Stacey combined down the right and the full-back's dangerous cross caused consternation in the home defence, as Lewie Coyle eventually turned the ball back to his goalkeeper Cairns, with referee Peter Bankes ingnoring appeals for handball from the travelling fans behind the goal.

The Hatters' first corner saw Justin roll it low to the edge of the box where Shinnie let fly with a first-time effort that was goalbound until it struck a Fleetwood defender in the six-yard box, but the Town were starting to find their rhythm.

Wallace, who was shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Shinnie by the left touchline, tried his luck with a volley from fully 40 yards after Shea's clearance from just outside his area flew straight to the Scottish midfielder. Bradley managed to deflect the effort wide for a corner, which the Town defended well.

A deep free-kick from Wallace on the right led to another chance for the hosts as Paddy Madden volleyed over the bar, then Wes Burns and Alan McCormack were both booked in a stop-start period, with Burns the third home player to be yellow carded for fouls, Jack Sowerby the other.

The Town were in front four minutes before half-time, and it was Moncur who once more came up with the goods for his fourth goal in a Luton shirt.

It came after Hylton had flicked McCormack through the middle with a delightful touch, with Shinnie wiped out to the right of the box as he cut inside onto the Irishman's sideways pass.

Jason Holt became the fourth Fleetwood player to be booked for a foul, but Moncur didn't need a second invitation - coming up with another stunning free-kick, Justin again acting as the decoy as he did against Portsmouth, and Moncur whipping a brilliant right-foooted shot around the wall into the top corner.

Fleetwood tried to respond, and Wallace had another go from distance, but this one went well wide of Shea's near post and the Hatters were comfortable until the break.

The lead was extended four minutes after the interval when Mpanzu netted his second of the season, albeit with a helping hand from Fleetwood keeper Cairns who seemed to be deceived by the movement of the ball from the midfielder's 25-yard shot.

The Town had done well to work the ball down the right initially, with Shinnie preventing it from going wholly over the line and Collins eventually switching the play to the left, where Mpanzu let fly and the ball was soon nestling in the bottom corner, Cairns palming it away from the centre of the goal where the powerful shot had been hit straight at him.

Again, Fleetwood went for an immediate reply, but Shea was equal to James Husband's low drive, then right-back Lewie Coyle hit a 68th-minute shot that only troubled the top of the Percy Ronson Stand housing the standing majority of the 1,083 travelling Hatters.

The Hatters came close to adding a third in the 76th minute when McCormack led a blistering counter-attack from a Fleetwood corner, charging down an attempt to play the ball back into the Town box on the edge of the centre circle.

The midfielder carried the ball to the 30-yard mark and slipped Stacey into the area to his left, with the right-back crossing low for Elliot Lee - just on as a sub for Moncur - but Fleetwood sub Ashley Hunter did brilliantly to get back and block at point-blank range in the six-yard box.

Harford brought George Thorne on for the excellent McCormack, but Shea was the next keeper called into action, diving at Ched Evans' feet as the ex-Wales international striker looked to pull the trigger after controlling a deep cross on his chest.

Shea needed treatment for his trouble as he tried to preserve a 16th league clean sheet of the season, but he was soon picking the ball out of the back of his net in injury-time when Madden volleyed in for the hosts.

It mattered little as the Town lads wrote their names further into the club's annals. Well done you history-making Hatters!

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley (c), Justin, McCormack (Thorne 82), Mpanzu, Shinnie, Moncur (Lee 68), Collins, Hylton (Sheehan 86). Subs: Potts, Cummings, LuaLua, Isted.

Yellows: McCormack, Moncur, Collins

Goals: Moncur 41, Mpanzu 49

FLEETWOOD: Cairns, Coyle, Holt (Nadesan 58), Eastham (c), Burns, Souttar, Wallace (Hunter 76), Husband, Sowerby (Sheron 84), Madden, Evans. Subs: Morgan, Biggins, Garner, Jones (GK)

Goal: Madden 90+2

Yellows: Wallace, Sowerby, Burns, Holt

REFEREE: Peter Bankes

 

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