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02 March 2019 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 ROCHDALE

1 March 2019

The Hatters could make it a year unbeaten at Kenilworth Road in league action as they welcome Rochdale tomorrow afternoon.

Prior to the match, there will be plenty going on outside the Kenilworth Road end for both sets of supporters, as we host another family fun day.

Balloon modelling, face-painting, a band and all sorts will be on show to keep kids and adults alike entertained, with Rochdale supporters and their families more than welcome to come and enjoy.

Town haven't suffered a defeat in front of their home crowd since 10th March last year, when Accrington Stanley defeated us 2-1.

13 wins from 17 league outings at Kenilworth Road so far this season have helped the Town maintain their place at the top of Sky Bet League One, with the potential this weekend to move eight points clear of second placed Barnsley.

Rochdale fell into the relegation zone in recent weeks, but are very much a tough test and were somewhat unfortunate not to take all three points when the Hatters visited Spotland back in November – an inspired performance from James Shea denying Keith Hill's side the win that day in a 0-0 draw.

Hill's team certainly have their threats, notably Ian Henderson, who currently sits third in the goalscoring charts in the third tier.

As always, there will be plenty of homemade food available around the ground at our food and drink kiosks, as well as contactless card tills to help speed up service. Please take advantage of these.

Our iFollow Hatters service will be available as usual, Simon Pitts' full match commentary will be on for supporters in the UK, whilst international subscribers can watch the game live.

MICK HARFORD SAYS:

On the Town squad: "The squad is good, the squad is fit. They've trained very well after a tough game against Coventry. They've all been nice and fresh, nice and lively. We're looking forward to a big challenge.

"Glen is obviously out long term, a few niggles here and there. Overall we are pleased with the fitness and the health of all the squad. So it's challenging picking the team at the moment with a full squad.

"We prepare for every game and try and get a victory every game, we try and set up the team to win games. It will be no different over the weekend and the coming weeks. So it's a big challenge, yes we have got a big challenge in front of us, it's not going to be easy, there is going to be some ups and downs, it's going to be a rocky road, but hopefully we come out of it in a good place.

"There's a lot of competition in training and people are fighting for their places – everyone wants to play. People are going to be disappointed, but that's the nature of the game, we have a good quality squad and we pick the best team we believe for the opposition, and the best team for the benefit of the team and the club.

On Rochdale: "We've got the utmost respect for Rochdale. It was one of our toughest games of the season when we went up there, we drew 0-0, James Shea was excellent on the day. So we will not be underestimating Rochdale to any extent. They've got a very good manager, they set up the team well and come and have a go at us, so if we underestimate them, it will be at our own peril. So we will be fully prepared, we will be fully focused for what is going to be a big challenge."

WHO?

The Spotland based outfit have been on a difficult run of late, winning only once since the turn of the year, slipping to a 5-1 defeat last weekend at Plymouth. That saw them fall into the relegation places and are now two points shy of safety. Their run in though does give them the opportunity to beat teams that are directly above them, so it's very much a case of having their destiny in their hands.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Kenilworth Road on Saturday 2nd March.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Tomorrow's game against Dale will be refereed Lee Swabey, who has overseen 21 games so far this campaign, dishing out 70 yellow cards and two red cards.

TICKET INFORMATION

Only seats with a restricted view are now available to buy in home sections, so please contact the Ticket Office at the earliest opportunity to secure your seat!

POWER COURT CAR PARKING

Parking at Power Court on Sunday will be available with a permit, which you can download by clicking this link!

BOBBERS TRAVEL CLUB CHALLENGE

The Bobbers Travel Club are fundraising for this season's Supporters' Charity (Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at the L&D) by giving supporters tubes of Smarties, and after enjoying the Smarties, asking for them to be returned filled with 20p pieces.

For every full tube returned, the supporter is entered into a raffle. The prizes are Club Shop vouchers for £50, £30 & £20. In addition a framed signed photo, two pairs of tickets (Wimbledon game) & a Smarties hamper.

You can still enter before 2.30pm tomorrow by visiting the Bobbers Travel Club office tomorrow morning on the Kenny Apron.

The winners will be announced at half time tomorrow.

AWAY SUPPORTERS

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

PLAYED BEFORE?

The Dale are one of the sides to give the Town a real headache this campaign – our game back in November saw James Shea put in a Man of the Match performance as he pulled off a number of saves to help the Hatters keep a clean sheet in a goalless game. On another day, Rochdale may have taken all three points by a comfortable margin. In total we have played 18 times, winning nine, drawing five and losing four.

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 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.

 

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | LUTON TOWN 2 ROCHDALE 0

Hylton and Collins net as the Hatters beat Rochdale at the Kenny

2 March 2019

The Hatters made it 22 league games unbeaten to s

Danny Hylton was back on the scoresheet for the first time in four months to net the first just before the hour, then James Collins netted his 20th of the campaign to seal the three points in injury-time.

The win maintained the five-point advantage over second-placed Barnsley, who had won at Southend in the day's early kick-off, and seven ahead of third-placed Sunderland, who beat Plymouth at home.

Harford made one change to his starting line-up, with Elliot Lee returned to start a game for the first time since the FA Cup third round replay with Sheffield Wednesday in mind-January, with George Moncur dropping to the bench.

That meant James Shea would make his 50th appearance for the club in goal, behind a back four of Jack Stacey, Matty Pearson, captain Sonny Bradley and James Justin.

Alan McCormack anchored the midfield with Andrew Shinnie, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Lee behind a front two of Hylton and top scorer Collins.

The Hatters started on the front foot, and Rochdale picked up their first yellow card after just 31 seconds when midfielder Ethan Hamilton went into referee Lee Swabey’s notepad for a foul on Lee.

Collins, with Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy in the directors’ box watching him, came close to opening the scoring in the fifth minute when Hylton, Mpanzu and Lee combined to set him up for a shot from the edge of the box, but a deflection took it just wide of Andy Lonergan’s left post.

Soon after surviving a scare at the other end when Matt Done looked to go round the onrushing Shea at the end of an incisive Rochdale move, only to lose his footing, the Hatters launched their most fluent move of the opening quarter-of-an-hour.

Justin played the ball into Collins’ feet, and the striker fed Mpanzu on the overlap down the left. The midfielder whipped a low cross perfectly into Hylton’s stride, but the Hatters’ forward was just off target with his first-time effort on the stretch.

Some determined play from Hylton, chasing a lost cause into the corner, earned a free-kick wide on the left that Justin delivered in the direction of Bradley’s head in the 27th minute. Rochdale managed to clear, but only as far as McCormack, whose volley from the edge of the box flew just over the bar.

Shea made a good save just after the half-hour, smothering at Ian Henderson’s feet as Rochdale looked to make inroads to the Hatters’ defence.

But the Town were soon on the attack again, Hylton latching onto a ball over the top and the ricochet off Jim McNulty falling back to the feet of Collins, whose right-footed shot veered wide of the far post.

Collins was next to have a go, too, as the Hatters really upped the tempo in the 39th minute, Justin playing the top scorer into the left-side of the area, but Lonergan was equal to his left-footed piledriver and Lee couldn’t dig the ball out of his feet to get a rebound shot off.

Lonergan was off his line again quickly in the 43rd minute as Mpanzu’s directness in the area took him into the six-yard box, and Shinnie raced in ahead of his midfield partner to force the ball goalwards, only for the goalkeeper to smother.

Longergan was soon picking up a yellow card for a subtleless piece of time-wasting, as referee Swabey grew tired of the visitors' delaying tactics when taking free-kicks.

And as the half flew to a close, Lee fired the Hatters' final opportunity over the bar as Collins laid the ball off beautifully into his pat 25 yards out.

We had a yellow card 31 seconds into the first half, and by the same point of the second Mpanzu had been presented with the best chance to open the scoring, when Shinnie slipped him into the Rochdale area. Lonergan, once again, was quickly out to spread himself and save well, however.

The next best chance arrived quickly, Hylton laying the ball off for Shinnie to play a fantastic through ball for Stacey to race onto from inside his own half. The right-back was clean through, but just delayed his shot long enough as he reached the penalty area for Joe Bunney to slide in and deflect wide for a corner.

The breakthrough finally came just before the hour, and it ended Hylton's goal drought that dated back to his hat-trick against Accrington at the end of October.

Stacey did wonderfully well to burst between two players on the right and get to the byline, Hylton diverting his cut-back towards goal only for Lonergan to save well again. The rebound flew to Lee, whose header came back down off the crossbar for Hylton to prod over the line ahead of Mpanzu.

In the 64th minute Hylton raced onto a McCormack ball into the corner then arced in a fantastic cross for Collins to head at goal, Lonergan saving low by his post.

Lee was keen to get in on the act, bending a right-footed 25-yarder over the bar as Collins lay prone in the penalty area, following an off-the-ball clash with Rochdale sub Jordan Williams.

Harford introduced Dan Potts for Mpanzu in the 75th minute, making the last 15 the first league minutes the midfielder has missed this season, and within two minutes the Town had fashioned another chance for Collins to add to his 19 goals, but the striker dragged his left-footed shot across the face of goal.

Henderson gave Shea something to do at the other end in the 78th minute with a tame 25 yarder that the keeper was right behind, but Lee was soon leading the charge again for the Hatters, Lonergan diving to his right to tip the ex-Barnsley man's low shot wide.

Lee was having an excellent game, but his number was up after 81 impressive minutes on his return, with Kazenga LuaLua on in his place.

Rochdale were reduced to ten men with five minutes of normal time remaining when Hamilton was shown a second yellow for a foul on Shinnie, and in injury-time Collins put the seal on the win.

LuaLua did brilliantly to keep the ball in the corner and drew a couple of defenders in, skipped past them along the byline and cut the ball back for Collins to sweep it into the top corner, left-footed, from ten yards out and equal his tally of last season - only this year is better, in his eyes, as he has all 20 in the league.

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley (c), Justin, McCormack, Shinnie, Mpanzu (Potts 75), Lee (LuaLua 81), Hylton (Berry 89), Collins. Subs: Moncur, Cummings, Sheehan, Isted

Yellows: Mpanzu, Shinnie

Goals: Hylton 59, Collins 90+1

ROCHDALE: Lonergan, McNulty, Delaney, Dooley, MJ Williams, Camps, Done (Andrew 63), Inman, Hamilton, Bunney (J Williams 63), Henderson (Clough 71). Subs: Holden, Adshead, Wade (GK), Matheson

Yellows: Hamilton, Lonergan, MJ Williams

Red: Hamilton

REFEREE: Lee Swabey 

 

 

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