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7 September 2013

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The Town earned a fourth successive clean sheet but couldn’t break down a resolute Grimsby in a goalless draw played in front of the live BT Sport cameras.

A point earned against one of the favourite promotion could have been all three had home debutante Paul Benson’s effort in the dying moments of the first half crept over the line. 

That was the best chance in a match of few opportunities for both sides, but despite the frustration of not finding the target, the Hatters can take heart from yet another solid defensive display. Mark Tyler was rarely tested and the last time his goal was breached was 387 minutes ago.

John Still kept the faith with the same side that won at Kidderminster last Saturday and the Town began well. A series of dangerous crosses whipped in from the right-flank put the visitors’ back line at ill ease as the Hatters hunted an early goal.

Benson had the Town’s first chance on 14 minutes when his header from a left-wing corner from Luke Guttridge bounced wide.

Three minutes later as the Hatters continued to dominate, Jonathan Smith sent a low shot into the arms of Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown.

Jake Howells, fresh from two goals at Kidderminster shot high and wide with a right-foot shot on 22 minutes before Benson thundered a first-time shot just past the post two minutes later after Grimsby failed to clear a dangerous pass into the box by Andy Parry.

Half chances continued to fall the Town’s way with Guttridge shooting straight at McKeown on the half-hour before going closer on 36 minutes with a header that bounces inches wide following a fine right-wing centre from captain Ronnie Henry.

As half-time approached the Hatters press in search of that elusive goal and Benson headed straight at McKeown from eight yards following a left-wing corner from Guttridge on 39 minutes before Howells sent a header wide moments later.

However, in first half stoppage time Benson was denied a first goal in Luton colours when he saw a deft effort cleared off the line by Mariners centre-half Shaun Pearson.

During the first half Alex Lacey went down with a nasty injury and at the break he was replaced by Jim Stevenson in a move that saw Parry drop back to centre-half to partner Steve McNulty.

Grimsby started the brighter of the two sides after the restart but failed to make their brief dominance count as Tyler remained untroubled.

Stevenson was making a likeable impression on his debut and came close to putting the Town in front on 54 minutes when his first-time shot from distance bounced wide.

The former Histon youngster came even closer with 16 minutes left. He swapped passed with Benson before hammering a low shot from the edge of the box that swerved a yard wide of the post with McKeown beaten.

Still sent on Alex Wall with six minutes left and within seconds of his introduction he barged his marker out the way before sending a fierce low drive into the hands of McKeown.

The Town huffed and puffed in search of a late winner but the watching television audience and those watching inside Kenilworth Road were left to contemplate a goalless draw.

HATTERS: Tyler; Henry, Griffiths, McNulty, Lacey (sub Stevenson); Smith, Parry, Guttridge (sub Wall); Howells, Benson, Gray (sub Whalley)

Sub not used: 

GRIMSBY: McKeown, Kerr, Pearson, Doig, Colbeck, Disley, John-Lewis, Bignot, Goodall, Rodman, McLaughlin. 
Subs: Cook, Neilson, McDonald, Hannah, Thanoj.

ATTENDANCEl 6,131 (265 Grimsby)

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