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26 December 2019 Venue Kenilworth Road Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW | LUTON TOWN V FULHAM

24 December 2019

The Hatters welcome Fulham to Kenilworth Road on Boxing Day hoping to get back to winning ways.

After suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Swansea a matter of days ago, Town will look to rekindle their strong home form in-front of a sold-out crowd.

Fulham will have plenty of confidence coming into the game after beating Leeds United 2-1 on Saturday as they continue pushing for promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

International supporters can follow and stream the Boxing Day action live on iFollow Hatters, while domestic subscribers can tune into Simon Pitts’ full match commentary.

GRAEME JONES SAID:

(Please note these quotes are taken from Graeme’s press conference after Saturday's game against Swansea)

On Simon Sluga returning to the side: “It was a solid performance, I’ve never doubted his ability, his mentality was right for it, it tells me he’s learned his lessons while he’s been out. I thought his individual preparation was different today, in terms of where he is mentally, compared to two months ago and overall solid.

"I thought he deserved a clean sheet, but the game’s not romantic. He’s a Croatian international, now I know early in the season he’s maybe struggled to adapt, but I was really satisfied with his performance today, as you just want people to learn their lessons in life.

“I think the Championship caught him out. English football caught him out. He’s had to sit back and watch James play. I thought he gave a very, very acquired, controlled display. I was really happy for him.

“He seems to be a crowd favourite here, I thought the crowd were brilliant, even coming off. You can’t fool Luton Town supporters. They know when everyone’s giving everything they’ve got, that’s what’s going on.”
 
On his time in charge so far at Kenilworth Road: "Apart from Brentford, which was a freak, we’ve been competitive in every game. I have seen huge improvements, but there have been improvements in other teams, it’s been a tough challenge. I think we were one win away today from 23 points from 23 games, which would have been fantastic.

"We’re still fourth from bottom, so if the season finished today, we’d be where we want to be. But we know we have got to pick up, we know we have got to find a different way with the players we have got and then hopefully with some help in January, because that’s the industry we’re in."

On facing Fulham: "Fulham is a new start again for everybody. We'll have to get back to the drawing board and assess what's coming and make sure we get a team out that's competitive, and hopefully we'll turn a close game into a winning game on Boxing Day.
 
"We'll have to dust ourselves down because we know how potent they can be, but we gave them a right game in the second half down at Craven Cottage last time. We are now, sitting on 23 games, all the information on every single team, so at least now there are no surprises for the players. They know what's coming. You should be better for your experiences."
 
On responding to Saturday's defeat: "You need to be able to respond and I certainly won't be lying down. I don't think my players will be lying down because it's not in their nature. It's a tough one and we've got a tough challenge coming up on Boxing Day, but in football you never know. What we have to do is give everything we've got."

 

WHO?

Former FA Cup and Europa League finalists, Fulham suffered relegation from the Premier League last season but look in good shape to try and get back to the top flight first time around, arriving at Kenilworth Road in fourth place.

 

WHEN & WHERE?

Kick-off is 3pm at Kenilworth Road on Thursday 26th December.

 

MAN IN THE MIDDLE

In 15 games so far this campaign, Dean Whitestone has dished out 45 yellow cards and two red cards - both of those coming in his last outing in Swansea's 3-1 victory against Middlesbrough ten days ago.

 

TICKET INFORMATION

A handful of tickets for this fixture are available as part of the season ticket buy-back scheme. These will remain available from the ticket office until 1pm on Christmas Eve, and online - subject to availability - over Christmas.

 

PLAYED BEFORE?

The two sides met in October and Fulham stole the bragging rights that day, winning 3-2 courtesy of an Aleksandar Mitrovic hat-trick.

In terms of overall record, the Cottagers claimed their 29th victory against Luton two months ago, while the Hatters still have 22 wins, as well as seven draws.

 

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.

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/

 

WATCH LIVE ON IFOLLOW HATTERS

As ever, Simon 'Statto' Pitts will be on hand to provide commentary for iFollow Hatters which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

As the match is a Bank Holiday, supporters in the UK and Ireland who can't make it to Kenilworth Road or haven't been able to get a ticket can watch the live stream along with overseas viewers.

To do so, click here to purchase a £10 match pass so you don't miss a kick!

As a Boxing Day special, Simon will be joined on co-commentary duties by Hatters fan and English middleweight boxing champion Linus Udofia!

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Match Reports

REPORT | LUTON TOWN 3 FULHAM 3

Hatters lead three times but Cottagers hit back to grab a late point

26 December 2019

The Hatters ended a decade of home matches with a 3-3 draw against Sky Bet Championship promotion chasers Fulham this afternoon in a brilliant Boxing Day encounter.

Luton led three times with goals from Kazenga LuaLua, top scorer James Collins and substitute Harry Cornick, but each time the Cottagers hit back, levelling through Bobby Decordova-Reid and Aleksandar Mitrovic before the former broke Town hearts with a third equaliser four minutes into injury-time.

Jones made three changes to his starting line-up, with Ryan Tunnicliffe, Callum McManaman and LuaLua all returning to the starting XI in place of Jacob Butterfield, Andrew Shinnie and Harry Cornick.

The Town made a dream start on four minutes when Collins LuaLua pressed Fulham as they tried to play out in their own six-yard box. LuaLua won the ball from Ream bang in the centre of the goal, it rolled to Collins who controlled it back into LuaLua's path to stab home past Rodak, who got a touch but couldn't keep it out.

The visitors were level within five minutes when Ivan Cavaleiro crossed from the right and Decordova-Reid was allowed the freedom of the Hatters' penalty area to head past Simon Sluga.

Collins soon sent a glancing header just wide as Town continued in a positive vein, but they had to call on Sluga to race off his line and clear with his feet when Bolton's short backpass put Cavaleiro in the clear. 

The Croatian keeper was soon turning a Joe Bryan 20-yarder over the bar before making a terrific one-handed save low to his right to keep out a Tom Cairney drive.

LuaLua was enjoying himself up against Cyrus Christie and in the 2st minute he sent one of several low crosses dangerously across the six-yard box that went begging.

Cairney tried his luck again in the 25th minute, but Sluga gathered on the skiddy surface at the second attempt.

The Town's lead was restored just before the half-hour when Berry's free-kick from deep on the right found James Bree challenging Alfie Mawson, and the ball spurted out to Collins, who controlled and finished into the top corner from eight yards out.

Collins thought he had his ninth of the season on 36 minutes when he met another Berry free-kick, this time from the left, and turned it in off a post, but a linesman's flag ruled this one out.

It was the best 45 minutes of the season from the Hatters at Kenilworth Road, and Jones side deservedly headed in at the break with a 2-1 lead.

Sluga had to be alert inside the first minute of the second half to first keep out Decordova-Reid and then a scramble from the resulting corner, before Bolton produced a timely block as the former Cardiff forward looked to get on the end of a cross into the box.
 
The Town keeper was soon tipping over another shot from Decordova-Reid, before Jones made his first change of the afternoon, Cornick coming on for McManaman in the 65th minute.
 
Within two minutes Decordova-Reid was repeating the same trick, this time bending a low effort wide of Sluga's far post, before Cairney fired from distance and the Hatters' stopper gathered once more.
 
Sluga was proving in brilliant form, pushing a Bryan piledriver away as Fulham cranked up the pressure with 20 minutes to go.
 
Town had a great chance to extend their lead in the 74th minute when Cornick set LuaLua free on the left from inside his own half. The forward checked back and sent in a low cross that just eluded Berry, but ran to Tunnicliffe beyond the far post. The midfielder bided his time and rounded Rodak, but his cut-back went right through the box and Cornick's effort was blocked.
 
Fulham were back in front in the 77th minute when, seconds after Lloyd Jones had been introduced for LuaLua, Mitrovic found a pocket of space in front of goal and headed in from close range.
 
The Hatters were back in front with six minutes left. Collins won the ball on the edge of his own box after a couple of scuffed clearances had gone straight to Fulham players. He laid it back for Pearson, who clipped it into the channel and Mpanzu put pressure on Ream. The Fulham centre-half's pass inside saw Berry putting pressure on the Cottagers defender, and his loose pass went straight to Cornick who slotted in his sixth goal of the season for 3-2.
 
Collins went close a minute later when, after Berry had produced an outrageous bit of skill on the left, he cut in and attempted a curler that just missed the top corner.

We were into the 90th minute when Cornick pounced on another mistake by Ream and raced clear, but his shot across Rodak also beat the far post.

Fulham would deal that late blow when Cordova-Reid followed up and turned in the rebound from another Sluga save to salvage a point for the visitors.

Coupled with Stoke's win at home to Sheffield Wednesday, it meant the Town dropped into the relegation zone on goal difference.

But as the final home game of a decade that kick-off here at Kenilworth Road with a 3-2 defeat to Ebbsfleet United in the Conference, the reality is that we go into that cherished year of 2020 with so much to be hopeful - and thankful - for.

 

TOWN: Sluga, Bolton, Pearson, Bradley (c), Bree, Tunnicliffe, Mpanzu, Berry, McManaman (Cornick 65), LuaLua (Jones 76), Collins.

Subs: Shinnie, Moncur, Butterfield, Sheehan, Stech.

Goals: LuaLua 4, Collins 28, Cornick 84

 

FULHAM: Rodak, Mawson, Mitrovic, Cairney (c), Ream, Decordova-Reid, Cavaleiro (Kebano 76), Reed (Knockaert 69), Christie, Bryan (Kamara 89), Onomah.

Subs: Bettinelli (GK), Johansen, O'Riley, Sessegnon.

Goals: Decordova-Reid 9, 90+5, Mitrovic 77

 

REFEREE: Dean Whitestone

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