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15 September 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 BRISTOL ROVERS

14 September 2018

The Hatters welcome Bristol Rovers to Kenilworth Road tomorrow afternoon in Sky Bet League One, as they look to extend their excellent run of form at home.

Unbeaten in front of the Kenilworth Road faithful in all competitions so far this campaign, the Hatters have picked up seven of their eight points at home in the third tier this season.

The current run at home in 2018 has seen the Town only defeated twice in 14 outings, with Nathan Jones wanting to see this continue – you can read his quotes from yesterday's press conference below.

Rovers have had a difficult start to the season, having been victorious in just one of their opening eight games, with five points to their name.

A reminder to supporters that contactless card payment will be available around the ground at our food and refreshment kiosks!

THE GAFFER SAYS:

On whether he will make changes this weekend: "We've got a strong squad, they're all in competition week-in week-out. I don't think it's any individual that's making massive errors, it's not.

"It's weird, there's a few little things that have gone against us and with the added quality we're coming up against, we're getting punished for that. Doncaster probably had three opportunities all game and scored from two of them.

"So it's making sure that we eradicate those and then taking ours (chances) down the other end, because we had enough chances to have won the game. As Grant McCann said, we're the best side they've come up against, because we've watched the game they've played and they've dominated pretty much every game they've played. They didn't dominate Saturday, it's just they were slightly more clinical than us in front of goal."

On the good home form and improving the away form: "We want it to play a big part, but we want our away form to supplement that excellent home form. We can't just rely on winning games at home, we've been excellent at home in all competitions in terms of three wins and a draw, then away from home we've had three defeats and a draw.

"So there's a stark contrast. What we have to do is make sure we maintain our home form, because we are good at home and eradicate the away form, because the away form will stop up from doing whatever we want to do."

On Bristol Rovers: They might have had a sticky start, but it's early days, it's seven games in, so we won't be over judgmental on our performances or anybody else's. We know it's going to be a real tough game. I know Darrell Clarke and Marcus Stewart, I have played with and against both, so I know it's going to be a very tough game. Early form will be slightly out the window, but we have to concentrate on what we do.

"If we're at our maximum then I will be happy with that and we've not been far off our maximum in lots of games, there's just one or two things we need to brush up on."

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

WHO?

It was a season of consolidation last season for Gas after their impressive climb from Non-League football just three years ago. Two relegations in four years saw Rovers drop into the Conference in 2014, but they made an instant return to League Two, winning back-to-back promotions when they went up again the following season. A tenth placed finish in 2016/17 saw them slow down their upward curve, but last season's mid-table finish is by no-means a failure.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Kick-off is at 3pm at Kenilworth Road on Saturday 15th September

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for tomorrow afternoon's game are still available for purchase from the LTFC Ticket Office in person, over the phone on 01582 416976 and online by clicking here. Prices are set at category B. We are expecting a large home crowd for the game, so please purchase your ticket in advance. Subject to availability, cash turnstiles will be available for the Main Stand and the Oak Road.

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Tomorrow's edition of This Is Our Town includes all the info on Gas and their squad – whilst Dan Potts takes centre spot, as he answers the questions you sent in via social media for him!

MAN IN THE MIDDLE?

Tomorrow's game will be refereed by Robert Lewis, who last took charge of a Town game in the 2-2 draw at Cheltenham Town back in November. He has overseen six games so far this campaign, dishing out 20 yellow cards and one red card.

PLAYED BEFORE?

Of the 122 meetings between the Hatters, Town have beaten the Pirates on 46 occasions, losing 47 times and drawing 29.

CAR PARKING

If you're driving to the game tomorrow, don't forget you can take advantage of the car parking now available at Power Court. Make sure you get your permit now by clicking here.

AWAY SUPPORTERS

If you're a Bristol Rovers supporter heading for Kenilworth Road tomorrow, check out our away supporters' guide by clicking here.

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.

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Match Reports

REPORT & GALLERY | HATTERS 1 BRISTOL ROVERS 0

Shinnie strike seals points for the Town, but O'Kane suffers serious injury

15 September 2018

The Hatters made it three successive home wins and four unbeaten at Kenilworth Road in Sky Bet League One this season with a 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers this afternoon.

Andrew Shinnie was boss Nathan Jones’ only change from the side that lost at Doncaster last week, and it was the Scot who delivered the knockout blow with his first goal in ten months, as the Town turned in an impressive performance that merited more than the narrow winning margin.

Shinnie’s last goal came against Carlisle last November, and the goalkeeper that night was Jack Bonham – the man in between the Pirates’ posts on this occasion, and the main reason why the Hatters didn’t rack up a more impressive scoreline.

Results elsewhere meant that the Town stay 11th in the table, but the afternoon ended on a sad note, with on-loan midfielder Eunan O’Kane suffering a broken leg with just over ten minutes of normal time to go.

Matty Pearson had the Hatters’ first sight of goal in the fifth minute, heading Jorge Grant’s corner well over, before the centre-half played a part – along with Glen Rea, Shinnie, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Elliot Lee and Jack Stacey – in a patient build-up that led to an attempt for Grant, which went wide of Bonham’s near post a minute later.

The Town were playing some delightful football, and Grant was to go closer still in the 15th minute when Shinnie dug out a delightful cross from the right touchline that the midfielder met with a thumping header, but Bonham was in the right place to beat it away.

Grant was revelling in his role at the tip of the midfield diamond, sending two Rovers players the wrong way with a clever drag-back when receiving a pass infield from Potts, who had been found on the left touchline by a raking pass from Rea.

Second later the Nottingham Forest loanee was delivering another pinpoint corner, this one met by the head of Sonny Bradley, who couldn’t direct it at goal when Potts steaming in behind him might have been better placed to get an effort on target.

Another fine passing move ended with the ball in the back of the Rovers net on 22 minutes, but referee Robert Lewis had adjudged James Collins to have pushed his man before Stacey volleyed Potts’ left-wing cross into the bottom corner.

Lee was soon flashing a cross-shot across the six-yard box, the ball eventually finding its way to Rea, whose shot from the edge from the box was deflected wide.

Rovers made an early switch, taking off right-sided midfielder Sam Matthews before half-an-hour was up and putting a second striker on, with Tom Nichols joining Stefan Payne in attack.

But it was the Hatters who continued to play with all the attacking intent, however, Potts and Collins combing down the left to set Shinnie up to deliver another terrific cross that Collins headed straight at Bonham.

Collins was at the heart of the next positive Town move, in the 34th minute, blocking Bennet’s effort from a short free-kick on the edge of the Hatters’ area, then breaking quickly as Lee flicked it to him on halfway, making ground and feeding his strike partner to draw another good save from Bonham.

Two minutes later it was a Lee cross from the right that found Mpanzu at the far post, but the midfielder’s half-volley was somehow kept out by Bonham at point blank range before Collins’ glancing header from Potts’ follow-up cross went well wide.

With half-time approaching, Shinnie fed Mpanzu into the box, but Bonham was quickly off his line to make another fine save, before Rea’s 20-yard shot had the goalkeeper flying across his goalmouth, but the ball was inches too high as the Hatters’ last chance of taking a lead into the break disappeared.

The second half started in much the same vein, the Hatters asking all of the questions and a clever free-kick from Grant played Mpanzu in down the left side of the wall, only for the Pirates’ defence to head clear as Potts lurked, looking to take advantage.

Then Shinnie and Grant combined brilliantly to get the Hatters up the left in the 59th minute, the latter eventually sending in a cross that found Mpanzu 15 yards out, but by the time the midfielder had chested the ball down, three Rovers defenders threw themselves in the way of his half-volley.

Rovers sounded a warning on the hour when Nichols rose at the far post to meet James Clarke’s right-wing cross, but the substitute’s header was thankfully too high.

The breakthrough finally came in the 62nd minute, and inevitably it was Grant and Shinnie at its heart, the former delivering the free-kick from the left side of the area after Shinnie had been fouled by James Clarke, who was already on a booking.

The Rovers defence managed to get the ball half-clear, but only as far as Shinnie, who was lurking in exactly the same position Mpanzu had found himself in moments earlier, and this time the Scotsman crashed his right-footed volley in between Bonham and his near post for a terrific goal.

Four minutes later Lee, in his trademark position cutting into the left-side of the area and looking to bend one with his right foot, almost doubled the lead, but Bonham managed to push his effort away once again.

After Tom Lockyer had headed just over at the other end, the ex-Barnsley striker tested the visiting keeper again in the 71st minute, latching onto a flick-on from Collins, but the keeper tipped this one past the far post.

The Hatters were battling to protect their clean sheet at the other end, and moments after O’Kane had come on for Grant, Pearson threw himself in the way of an Ollie Clarke shot, allowing James Shea – a virtual spectator all afternoon – to gather comfortably in his six-yard box.

Shinnie was another putting his body on the line, winning a crunching challenge on the edge of his own box in the 80th minute, O’Kane picking up the loose ball but then over-running it and having to go in for a tackle with Clarke that resulted in an injury to the on-loan Leeds midfielder.

After an eight-minute hold-up as the Irishman had his leg put in a brace and was carried off on a stretcher, James Justin came on in his place.

Referee Lewis announced 11 minutes of injury-time would be played, and Pearson was on his mettle again deep into that period to head a Nichols cross over his own bar, before Jones replaced man-of-the-match Shinnie with captain Alan Sheehan to help see out a second clean sheet of the season.

A second goal would have put the icing on the cake, and Bonham again denied Collins with virtually the last kick of the game after Justin had done brilliantly to wriggle free of his man on the left byline.

The points were secure and Fortress Kenilworth remains unbreached this season, but thoughts of all Hatters were at the L&D with O’Kane and hopes for a speedy recovery.

 

TOWN: Shea, Stacey, Pearson, Bradley, Potts, Rea ©, Mpanzu, Shinnie (Sheehan 90+8), Grant (O’Kane 75, Justin 88), Lee, Collins. Subs: McCormack, Cornick, Jarvis, Isted.

Goals: Shinnie 62

Yellows: Shinnie

ROVERS: Bonham, Lockyer ©, Craig, Upson, O Clarke, Payne (Reilly 54), Lines, J Clarke, Bennett, Matthews (Nichols 28), Martin. Subs: Leadbitter, Broadbent, Smith (GK), Sinclair, Jakubiak.

Yellows: J Clarke

 

REFEREE: Robert Lewis

ATT: 8,912 (519 visitors)

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