Report: Salisbury City 0-0 Luton Town
The Town stretched their lead at the top of the table to 15 points and their unbeaten run to 26 matches but had to settle for a point in a goalless draw at Salisbury.
The first half was one which was dominated by the home side. Chasing a Play-Off place and with just two home defeats all season, they should have gone in at the interval ahead.
Dan Fitchett missed their first chance, Mark Tyler doing well to get his fingers on the home striker’s shot on the turn on 10 minutes following a left-wing corner.
Tyler, the only Town man who played in their only previous visit to the Raymond McEnhill Stadium in September 2009, comfortably gathered Scott Sinclair’s low strike from the edge of the box 11 minutes later.
Salisbury were enjoying the better of the ball and the chances for the home side kept on coming. England C winger Elliott Frear sent a shot scuttling narrowly wide on 23 minutes but five minutes later the Whites spurned an even better chance. The Hatters had just engineered their best move of the match to win a corner but City broke: Sinclair threading Fitchett through one-on-one with Tyler but his shot was weak and the Town keeper could save.
After that near miss the Hatters upped the ante and out of nothing came mighty close to taking the lead. Andre Gray, making his 100th appearance for the Town let fly with a rocket of a shot from 25 yards that beat home goalkeeper Will Puddy but not the woodwork, with the shot crashing back off the post. It was the Town’s only real chance of the first half.
As the first 45 minutes came to a close Gray saw a low free-kick from distance blocked and Jake Howells saw the follow-up also charged down, whilst the hosts’ Frear found the side-netting on 44 minutes.
The second half was much the same. The home side continued to pepper the Town goal but failed to really test Tyler.
After the Hatters keeper caught another Salisbury shot on 53 minutes the Town went 4-4-2 in a bid to make the breakthrough.
Salisbury, however, threatened again when Ron Sinclair’s well-hit shot from distance was also calmly taken by Tyler.
All of a sudden, though, the game was swinging from end to end with both sides realising there was a game there for the taking. Salisbury’s shoot-on-sight policy continued with Tyler catching another potshot before Gray raced up the other end but failed to get a shot away.
As time ticked away, the Town upped the ante. Paul Benson, Gray and Alex Lawless combined well on 76 minutes that saw Gray prod home but the strike was ruled out for an offside against Benson.
Gray then sensed a chance three minutes later but after wrestling his marker out of the way he couldn’t find a finish from close range with just the keeper to beat.
The final 10 minutes belonged exclusively to the Town as they hunted a late winner and they almost got one in the third minute of stoppage time. Salisbury failed to clear their lines from a right-wing corner, allowing Pelly Ruddock to loft a dangerous ball back into the box but Benson, unmarked and on the stretch inside the six-yard box, poked a shot over the bar with the goal gaping.
That would have been harsh on Salisbury but any disappointment from a goalless draw was soon forgotten with news that Cambridge had lost at Forest Green and that the Town’s lead at the top was extended a point further.
TOWN: Tyler; Henry, Griffiths, McNulty, Franks; McGeehan (sub Robinson 75), Ruddock, Lawless (sub Cullen 90); Howells, Gray, Benson.
Subs not used: Charles, Shaw, Justham.
ATTENDANCE:2,633, including 1,536 supporting the Town.