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REPORT: LUTON TOWN 1-1 PETERBOROUGH UNITED

1 August 2014

Hatters pinned back by late Posh penalty

Luton were pinned back by a late Peterborough rally as they ended their home pre-season games with a draw.

Mark Cullen profited from a cute Matt Robinson through ball to put Town 1-0 up on the stroke of half-time.

However, a strong last quarter from Posh resulted in the visitors getting back into the game, Britt Assombalonga smashing home a penalty after McNulty had brought down Washington in the box.

Darren Ferguson named  a strong line-up, with Assombalonga, Posh’s top scorer from last season, spearheading their attack.

Peterborough, beaten semi-finalists in the League 1 play-offs last season, saw more of the ball early on. An early risky header back from Connolly threatened to put Washington in, but Tyler was alert to gather up.

Andy Drury was given far too much space in midfield in the seventh minute and his curling cross was headed over by Cullen from 12 yards out.


Town should have taken the lead in the 14th minute. A marauding Scott Griffths run saw him pull the ball across goal for Benson, but the normally reliable poacher got his feet in a tangle and somehow scooped the ball over from six yards.

It was becoming very wet at Kenilworth Road, with flashes of lightning bringing back memories of the deluges in the Barnet and Nuneaton homes games last season.

Peterborough were posing an intermittent threat. A wayward volley from Jack Payne was no trouble for Tyler on 18, and Posh drew applause from the away fans when Conor Washington outpaced McNulty four minutes later. However, the angle was too narrow for the former Newport man’s shot to make an impression.

Matt Robinson took one on the volley on the edge of the area on the half hour mark following Lawless' corner, but it bobbled wide of Alnwick's post. His midfield colleague Lawless provided more of a test two minutes later though, lashing a half-volley that Alnwick had to parry away, with the ball falling invitingly to the Welshman after the Peterborough wall blocked a Drury free-kick.

Alex Lacey was being trialled in a holding midfield role and he nearly provided a collector’s item in the 37th minute. Unleashing from thirty yards, his shot sailed wide of the posts.

Tyler had to get his jersey dirty to tip away Taylor’s drive in the 43rd minute after the midfielder had run to the edge of the area unopposed.

Mark Cullen was causing trouble by playing on the shoulder of the Peterborough defence and the Geordie was not to be denied his goal. His clever movement got its reward on the stroke of half time. Peeling away from his marker, Cullen burst through onto Robinson’s delicate pass and he kept his composure to confidently stroke past Alnwick.

It was the perfect way to sign off the half and Barry Fry and Darren MacAnthony left their seats in the directors’ box with much to ponder.

The by now customary mass exodus of players took place at half time, with only McNulty, Lacey and Rooney – who had replaced Alex Lawless in the 33rd minute – remaining from the first half team.

And it was Rooney who came to Luton’s rescue after Steve McNulty misjudged a ball down the left hand side, allowing Taylor to burst clear. Rooney’s excellent positioning helped to avert the danger, intercepting the ball once it was pulled back.

Alex Wall was playing in typical rumbustious fashion, the powerful striker spinning off his marker and lashing a shot across goal just before the hour mark.

The game was becoming a little pedestrian, with Town happy to conserve their energy as they kept Peterborough at arms-length.

However, the League 1 side had plenty left in their locker and they made it an uncomfortable last 25 minutes for Luton. Firstly, substitute Mendez-Laing hit a firm shot from outside the area but it missed the target, before Conor Washington stung Justham's gloves on 71. With the ball loose, Fraser Franks was there to scramble it away before Assombalonga could tap it in.

Pelly Ruddock was showing he’d lost none of his aggression over the summer, fighting for the ball and squirming past defenders in the danger zone, before forcing a corner on 73.

Unfortunately though, that came to nothing and moments later Justham was picking the ball out of the net. Washington was adjudged to have been pulled over in the area by McNulty, and Assombalonga had no hesitation to smash home after the referee had pointed to the spot.

Peterborough’s tails were up and Ntlhe should have hit the target from Taylor's dangerous inswinger with Assombalonga stealing into the box to touch the ball on.

Town were struggling to get to grips with Taylor, and the right-sided midfielder shot against the outside of the post after cutting inside in the 79th minute.

Posh were appealing for another penalty with ten minutes left, but Lacey seemed to just get his toe on the ball ahead of Washington who had burst through.

Despite the assault though, Luton were able to see out the last few minutes and will be pleased to go into next Saturday’s season opener at Carlisle on the back of an unbeaten run of pre-season games.

TOWN: Tyler (Justham, 46), Wilkinson (Franks, 46), McNulty, Lacey, Lawless (Rooney, 33), Drury (Howells, 46), Benson (Wall, 46), Griffiths (Stevenson, 46), Cullen (Lafayette, 46), Robinson (Guttridge, 46), Connolly (Ruddock-Mpanzu, 46).

Subs: Franks, Smith, Wall, Howells, Rooney, Justham, Ruddock-Mpanzu, Lafayette, Guttridge, Stevenson.

PETERBOROUGH: Alnwick, Bostwick, Baldwin, Zakuani, Ntlhe, McEvoy (Mendez-Laing, 61), Payne, Anderson, Taylor (Conlon, 90), Assombalonga, Washington (Vassell, 90).

Subs: Day, Conlon, Mendez-Laing, Richens, Vassell.

Attendance: 2,154

Man of the match: Matt Robinson



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