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02 October 2018 Venue The Kassam Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | OXFORD UNITED V LUTON TOWN

2 October 2018

The Hatters make the journey to Oxford United tonight as they look to get their first away win of the Sky Bet League One campaign.

Supporters are strongly advised to leave as early as possible, with traffic around the ground and going into Oxford expected to be particularly bad this evening.

Tonight's hosts have had a particularly difficult start to the season, picking up five points from their opening ten third tier fixtures – their one win coming against Burton Albion at the end of August.

In front of goal they haven't been too bad, averaging a goal a game so far, but it's defensively that has seen the U's struggle. They have conceded three or more goals on three occasions, keeping just one clean sheet.

The Hatters will be hoping to take advantage of this as they go in search of their first three points on the road, having picked up two points from five away games thus far.

Nathan Jones' side have done well against bottom half sides this campaign, winning three of the four and drawing the other against teams who are 13th and below.

Town's new assistant manager Steve Rutter will be in the dugout for the first time alongside Jones this evening – you can read everything about his appointment by clicking here.

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On Oxford: "I can't comment on Oxford. I'm more surprised that we've only got 13 points, that's the biggest thing. It's a tough league and you get punished for certain errors. I've watched them, I know they're not a bottom two, bottom three side, they're not. With the squad, the structure, with what they do, they're not that. So what we have to do is be wary of them finding a bit of form or starting a run off, because we want to start our own run off. But all we do is concentrate on us, see how we can affect Oxford and that's what we have to concentrate on."

On the away form: "Since I've come here we've been good away from home. I was just talking to Alan McCormack about when we started here, we were better away from home than we were at home, that's kind of skipped now.
But we picked up some real good away wins last year and we've got to start doing that if we want to start to climb the table. You can't rely on your home form. Yes, if we were to win every home game and draw every away game then your points tally would be very good, but that doesn't happen. We've drawn a couple at home, so we've got to supplement that with a couple of away wins, it would be nice place to start that now."

On Oxford pair Johnny Mitchell and Jon Obika: "Johnny was here for a brief spell, we had him, he got recalled. He started very well here and would have benefited from that. We've had a disaster with loan keepers, with good ones that we've got in and have been recalled, so we don't tend to go to the loan market for keepers.

"Jon Obika, I know very, very well. We gave him his debut at Yeovil, Terry Skiverton and myself gave him his debut and we also signed him for Brighton as well. I believed in Jon in terms of his goalscoring, in terms of what he has. He's a real great lad, fantastic character, good family and did very well for us at Yeovil. He was a big part of us staying up that year because when we first took over that year we were in a precarious position but the signings of himself and Andros Townsend at the time were big signings for us."

YOU CAN NOW WATCH NATHAN JONES' PRE-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE ON IFOLLOW HATTERS FREEVIEW BY CLICKING HERE

WHO?

The U's have been comfortable in League One since their promotion two seasons ago. The goals of Danny Hylton and Kemar Roofe helped fire them up, with both leaving that summer – Hylton coming here and Roofe getting a move to Championship side Leeds United. Oxford fell into Non-League football in 2006, but climbed out in 2010 under Michael Appleton, who has since departed and been replaced by Pep Clotet and then Karl Robinson.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 7.45pm at Grenoble Road on Tuesday 2nd October.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for tonight's game can be purchased from the LTFC Ticket Office until 2pm this afternoon. Tickets will also be available on the night at Oxford.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Tonight's game will be refereed by Michael Salisbury, who has overseen ten games so far this season, handing out 26 yellow cards and no red cards.

PLAYED BEFORE?

From the last two league meetings, Town have taken four points from the six available as they drew with the U's at home, before beating them 3-2 at the Kassam Stadium. It wasn't quite enough to help the Hatters into the play-off places and not sufficient to disrupt Appleton's side's promotion push, in what was their last defeat in League Two. Of the 39 meetings between the two, the Hatters have won 17 matches, drawn nine and lost 13.

The most recent meeting was the 3-2 defeat to Oxford in the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final in 2016/17. Two of the most famous triumphs against the U's came in the 1987/88 season, when Town were triumphant in both meetings, the first a 5-2 away victory, before Mark Stein scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture in 7-4 win.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

The main blow-by-blow account of the action from Grenoble 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.

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | OXFORD 1 LUTON TOWN 2

Potts marks 100th appearance for the Hatters with a 98th-minute winner

2 October 2018

The Hatters recorded their first away win of the season in dramatic style tonight as Dan Potts marked his 100th appearance for the club with a 98th-minute winner at Oxford United.

The Hatters spurned a host of good chances and looked like having to rely on James Collins' second goal in as many matches to rescue a point, after conceding first for the eighth time in 11 league matches when Ricky Holmes fired the struggling hosts in front just after half-time.

But Potts chose the perfect moment to net his first goal of the season on a landmark night, just a couple of minutes after having a goal disallowed for a foul in the box, to send 1,171 travelling Hatters wild as they celebrated a last-gasp winner just three days after seeing Charlton deny them three points with an injury-time goal at Kenilworth Road.

Town boss Nathan Jones made one change to his team from Saturday's draw with the Addicks, with Harry Cornick returning to the starting line-up after his first goal of the season in place of midfielder Jorge Grant.

That meant James Shea was in goal, behind a back four of Jack Stacey, Matty Pearson, Sonny Bradley and Dan Potts. Captain Glen Rea was anchoring a midfield that also included Andrew Shinnie and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, with Elliot Lee and Cornick in attack alongside  Collins, who had also registered for the first time this season at the weekend.

The Town are looking to make it four matches unbeaten, with a first away victory of the season the aim as Jones and his side look to improve their 12th place in the table.

Potts, making his 100th appearance for the Town, made a crucial block in the opening minute as Oxford started brightly, the Hatters left-back getting in the way of his opposite number Luke Garbutt's shot.

The Town were quickly on the front foot though, with Stacey racing to the right byline and cutting a ball back to the near post, where Collins' attempted flick was smothered by former Hatters loanee Jonathan Mitchell in the Oxford goal.

Mpanzu called the Derby loanee into action again with a curling effort from the edge of the box on 14 minutes, then Potts saw his header from the resulting corner cleared off the line by Jamie Hanson.

Lee fired another effort on goal after Potts did well to dig out a cross in the 17th minute, but Mitchell was again equal to it, then Cornick fired wide after Shinnie's low cross was cleared only as far as the edge of the penalty area by Tony McMahon.

Although the Town were dominating possession and territory, Oxford reminded Jones and his men of the threat they carried, particularly livewire striker Gavin Whyte, who cut in from the right touchline and unleashed a 25-yarder that Shea had to dive full length to turn away on 22 minutes.

Cornick was soon leading another quickfire break down the left, however, stretching his legs from midway inside his own half before playing Mpanzu inside, but the midfielder's shot was blocked before Rea sent a left-footed curler into Mitchell's arms.

Chances were coming thick and fast as the Hatters impressed, and Mpanzu found himself in a promising position again just after the half-hour when Lee fed him in the middle of the goal, 18 yards out, but he blazed his shot over the bar.

Oxford defenders were having to put their bodies on the line, and when Rea released Stacey down the right four minutes before half-time, the full-back found Lee infield and the ex-Barnsley forward's shot was rocketing towards goal when Hanson threw himself in the way to deflect the ball for a corner.

All the possession and chances created counted for nothing when the hosts took the lead in the 48th minute - the Town conceding the first goal for the eighth time in 11 league matches - when Holmes picked up the ball up midway inside the Hatters half and fired a low shot across Shea into the bottom corner of the net.

Cornick tried to lead the response, bursting into the right side of the area and unleashing a low drive that Mitchell turned behind for a corner, and the equaliser wasn't long in coming.

Potts drove into the left side of the penalty box and looked to be tripped, but Mpanzu gathered the loose ball and surged towards the byline, playing across the six-yard box to Cornick, whose stabbed effort rebounded off the bar straight to Collins, who gobbled up the opportunity of his second goal of the season from three yards out.

Garbutt had an attempt on goal for United, but it flew high over the bar, shortly before Stacey went into the book for a foul on the goalscorer Holmes.

Another glorious chance came Mpanzu's way in the 70th minute when Stacey progressed down the right again, beating his man and driving inside to cut the ball back to the edge of the box, where Mpanzu fired high over the bar and into the car park behind the goal.

The hosts were reduced to ten men when captain Shandon Baptiste was shown a second yellow card in the 72nd minute for a foul on James Justin, who had come on for Shinnie only a couple of minutes earlier, before Hanson and Rea quickly followed him into ref Michael Salisbury's notepad for late challenges as tempers started to fray.

Jones introduced Kazenga LuaLua for his debut with just over ten minutes to go, and the former Brighton winger played Stacey in again in the 86th minute, but Collins couldn't turn the right-back's low cross in at the near post and Oxford manager to avert the danger.

The Town thought they'd grabbed what would have been a deserved winner four minutes into time added on, when LuaLua arced in the left-wing cross for Potts to head home, but ref Salisbury had his whistle in his mouth for an infringement.

A couple of minutes later it was Potts whipping in a dangerous cross that just eluded both Collins and Cornick, and with that it seemed the Town's hopes of taking that elusive first away win back to Bedfordshire had gone.

We counted without that wand of a left foot that belongs to captain Alan Sheehan, who had come on to a rousing ovation from the Town fans to take a trademark mayhem-causing corner with three minutes of normal time to go, for Rea in the holding midfield role.

Inside the final minute of the eight due to be added, LuaLua was fouled on the lef touchline, Sheehan - who whipped in a delicious free-kick and Potts rose in the middle to power a header into the top corner to mark his 100th appearance in fine style.

The Hatters were taking three points back to Kenilworth Road for the first time since Yeovil away on April 7th, and were up to tenth in the table. On to Scunthorpe at home on Saturday!

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley, Potts, Rea (Sheehan 87), Mpanzu, Shinnie (Justin 70), Lee (LuaLua 78), Cornick, Collins. Subs: McCormack, Grant, Jarvis, Isted (GK)

Goals: Collins 55, Potts 90+8

Yellows: Stacey, Rea

 

OXFORD: Mitchell, Garbutt, Dickie, Nelson, Hanson (Ruffels 77), Brannagan, Holmes, Whyte (Mackie 77), Obika (Carruthers 83), Baptiste, McMahon. Subs: Shearer (GK), Smith, Mousinho, Henry.

Goals: Holmes 48

Yellows: Baptiste, Hanson, Brannagan

Red: Baptiste

 

REFEREE: Michael Salisbury

ATT: 6,769 (1,171 Hatters)

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