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29 January 2019 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | LUTON TOWN V PORTSMOUTH

29 January 2019

Town take on Portsmouth tonight in a top of the table clash at Kenilworth Road in Sky Bet League One.

A win for either side will put them back at the top of the pack – a win for the Town would put them five points clear, whilst a victory for Pompey would put them top by a point, but with a game in hand.

Form wise Town boast the best record at home in the EFL, undefeated in 14 outings, winning 11 times. Portsmouth on the other hand have the best away record in the third tier, losing just two of their 14 games on the road, winning nine.

Undefeated in 16 games, Town's magnificent climb up the table from 12th after ten games to top spot has seen them wipe out an 11-point gap Portsmouth had over them.

Pompey though have beaten sides across the division – including the Hatters on the opening day – and have been especially good against teams in the top six, picking up ten points from five games.

Homemade food will be available around the ground, so make sure you get your hands on some to keep warm throughout the game! In addition to this, card only tills with contactless payment will be in operation to speed up service, take advantage of these to get to the front of the line a lot faster.

Tickets for the ten year anniversary for the Hatters' Johnstone's Paint Trophy final victory have now gone on sale, which includes a Q&A with Mick Harford. Click here for more information.

MICK HARFORD SAYS:

On the impact supporters can have: "The result is most important, but we'll be aided by a full house, by a magnificent set of supporters who will 100 per cent get behind the team and that will give us a massive advantage."

On knocking Pompey off top spot: "Mentally [it will be a blow for them to be knocked off top], you have to chase a team and you have that in the back of your mind. If you lose, you go five points behind, not two. So the gap does open up then. So yes, it's hard to chase teams, we'll hopefully thrive on that. It's going to be a great evening, it will be a full house, something that the fans will embrace and definitely the players are going to embrace it and enjoy it.

"They weren't at the top of the league for such a long time for nothing, they're a good outfit. They've got a real good manager who's well organised, who knows this league inside out, they play the Kenny Jackett way and they're a hard team to break down and they've got some real good individual players, the likes of Lowe, Pitman, Hawkins and Curtis, they're a good outfit, absolutely."

On being top of the league being a boost for the players: "Being top of the league does give everyone a little spring in their step and all that and we're absolutely delighted. I've got to say we're there on merit in my opinion, in terms of the style of football we're playing and the way we've been beating teams, so hopefully it will continue."

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

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 Brett Pitman finishing second in the goalscoring charts in the division with 24 goals, three behind Jack Marriott.

Top of the table until Saturday when the Town overtook them, Portsmouth have been consistent throughout the campaign, averaging just over two points per game.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 7.45pm at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday 29th January.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Tonight's game will be refereed by Simon Hooper, who generally oversees games in the Premier League and the Championship. In total he has taken charge of 19 games this campaign, dishing out 60 yellow cards and three red cards.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tonight's game is a sell-out – so no tickets will be available on the night! The only way to follow the game if you haven't got a ticket is on the match centre on the club website!

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 Portsmouth supporter heading to Kenilworth Road for tonight's game, click here to have a look at our away supporters' guide.

PLAYED BEFORE?

The Hatters lost 1-0 at Fratton Park earlier on this season, which was Pompey's 34th victory against us. We've also won 34 of our matches against Portsmouth, whilst drawing 15 times.

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.

Supporters in the UK and abroad can watch the game live by purchasing a match pass.

 

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | TOWN 3 PORTSMOUTH 2

Hatters go five points clear at the top with a stunning win in the snow

29 January 2019

Kenilworth Road witnessed another memorable night of football under the lights as the Hatters came out on top in a sensational game in the snow to beat Pompey 3-2.

The victory means the Town now sit five points clear at the top of Sky Bet League One having stretched their unbeaten run in the division to 17 matches - while extending their record without defeat at home to 19 games dating back to last March.

Even the wintery showers throughout the match could not deter the Hatters' home form, the team now snowballing their way to what could be a stunning season in the third tier.

James Collins bagged a brace to take his tally up to 16 for the season and George Moncur stole the hearts of Luton fans, scoring his first goal in orange since his move from Barnsley - a ferocious late free-kick to send every Hatter home smiling.  

Mick Harford named an unchanged starting XI from the side that beat Southend United on Saturday and Pompey’s newest addition, Omar Bogle, began the match on the bench.

The second half provided a real top of the table clash after the first 45 belonged to Luton, who could have been out of sight at the midway point after a dominant display.

Kazenga LuaLua had the first of many chances, making the most of the conditions with some neat footwork to twist and slip away from his marker. His low cross was cleared, but Jack Stacey collected on the edge of the area and powered his strike well over into the Kenilworth Road end.

LuaLua looked lively moments later with another decent cross where Collins went for the spectacular. Unfortunatley though, his flailing leg could not send the ball goalward in an awkward attempt at a bicycle kick.  

A minute later it was the Hatters again who pounced on a Pompey mistake, this time James Justin fizzing a shot at goal that Craig MacGillivray had to be ready to deal with, parrying away to Berry, who couldn’t control the rebound.

It was on 20 minutes when Justin picked the ball up on the left and found LuaLua outside the area. His smart flick and turn pulled another fine stop from MacGillivray down to his right, as the visitors struggled to soak up the Luton pressure.

Berry got involved in the avalanche of Luton chances too, curling his shot wide of the left post. Stacey also teed up the midfielder a little later on, creating space on the wing and finding Berry in the area who put a glancing header just wide, but close enough to have MacGillivray sprawling to his right to avert the danger.

The work rate of this Hatters side in the first 45 minutes was remarkable, Collins heading a Pompey cross clear in his own area and chasing it down, blocking the last defender's attempted ball forward to create another chance for the hosts, but Shinnie couldn't get a shot away.

McCormack’s low drive couldn’t find its way into the back of the net, as all that was missing from the Hatters at this point was a goal. LuaLua took a heavy touch from a superb through pass from Stacey and couldn’t get his shot past the keeper.

The goal arrived eventually though, a terrific team effort involving five players beginning with McCormack. The midfielder won a challenge midway inside his own half, which allowed Mpanzu time to thread the ball wide to Stacey.

The move then made its way to LuaLua after a driving run from Stacey gave the forward the chance to find Collins, who received a well weighted pass, and ended the passage of play with a tremendous finish which nestled sweetly in the bottom right corner.

But the Hatters weren’t done. The onslaught continued and Portsmouth just couldn’t deal with the home side’s dominance. Gareth Evans, with the only shot of the half for the Blues, summed up their miserable start at Kenilworth Road, slipping whilst hitting his shot onto the roof of the Oak Road.

On the stroke of half time, Collins nearly notched a second when a poor back pass had him chasing the ball down once more. His strike rebounded off the keeper to the feet of LuaLua, who was swarmed by blue shirts and could not force the ball towards the goal. The referee then called time and gave Portsmouth a chance to regroup.

And they did just that, taking advantage of a slow Luton start, dominating the next 25 minutes. It was the polar opposite of what the first half had seen, with Bogle - signed on loan from Birmingham on Monday - and midfielder Dion Donohue on for Brett Pitman and Evans. Donohue with the first chance, a low effort which stung the palms of Shea, who held onto it well considering the pace it had gained on the icy pitch.

The introduction of Bogle certainly bolstered the attacking line, creating the chance for Curtis, who levelled in what can only be described as Pompey’s first real chance of the match, side footing home in the exact some corner as Collins’ strike in the first half.

Shea was called into action just after, keeping the Hatters in the match that had turned so quickly in the favour of Portsmouth. A swift counter attack found its way to Morris on the right, who forced a delightful save from the Luton keeper - reaching highest to tip the ball over the bar.

Curtis was on the prowl once more and reacted quickest in the Luton penalty again, this time Shea saving well at his near post for another vital stop.

It wasn’t until the 71st minute that Justin had the Hatters' first chance of the second half. LuaLua picked the defender out with a firm square ball, and he cut inside upon receiving it and bent it in search of the top corner, only for MacGillivray to spoil what would have been a belter.

The Hatters began to play some better stuff as the minutes ticked into the final quarter of the match but were still suffering from a shock 25-minute spell which showcased why Pompey have the best away record in the division. But the Town were given a lifeline in the form of a penalty.

LuaLua was clearly tripped in the area to allow Collins the chance of grabbing his 16th goal of the season. He duly obliged and scored the spot kick, but back came the visitors.

Literally within a minute, and it was the half-time substitute and new-boy Bogle who took advantage of a Luton mix-up, tapping the ball home from close range.

But the Hatters had a new boy of their own in Moncur. His introduction in the 80th minute proved to be pivotal when the Town won a free-kick on the edge of the area four minutes from time.

Up stepped Moncur - the hopes of a sold-out Kenilworth Road on his shoulders - and he delivered, coolly curling his free-kick around the wall and into the far right of the goal to cue pandemonium in the home end and affirm himself a new Hatters hero.

A nervy four minutes of stoppage time were endured by the home defence, but they held on to earn a crucial three points that keeps the Hatters at the top of Sky Bet League One in front of the biggest crowd of the season at the Kenny.

The hard work continues though as the side now turn their attention to Shrewsbury away on Saturday...once the final 48 hours of the transfer window have been negotiated!

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley (c), Justin, McCormack, Mpanzu, Shinnie (Sheehan 88), Berry (Potts 73), Collins, LuaLua (Moncur 80). Subs: Jones, Read, Tomlinson, Isted.

Goals: Collins 39, 77 (pen), Moncur 86

 

POMPEY: MacGillivray, Brown, Whatmough, Clarke, Walkes, Naylor, Evans (Donohue 46), Lowe, Curtis, Pitman (Bogle 46), Morris. Subs: Bass (GK), Burgess, Haunstrup, May, Donohue, Dennis.

Yellows: Donohue, Naylor

Goals: Curtis 52, Bogle 79

 

REFEREE: Simon Hooper

 

ATT: 10,078 (1,033 away)

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