Simon Pitts looks back at the past year in numbers
Whilst preparing for this article I read an online statistical review of 2014 that stated Luton Town were the fifth best team – by points per game – of the 94, that had played in the four main divisions of English football during the year. I have since highlighted to the website editor that the correct statistics actually put the Hatters in third place with an average of 2.05 points per game, from the 44 league matches played.
A review of the year shows there were 51 matches played in all competitions, with 43 players combining for a total of 690 appearances and 84 goals. The year started with a 2-1 victory over Barnet, with Andre Gray and Paul Benson scoring, and who can forget that day? This was the first of 19 victories from 28 home matches.
There were just two draws at Kenilworth Road, including the last game of the year versus Portsmouth, the sixth 1-1 draw of 2014. There were seven defeats at home, albeit two of those against higher league opposition in two Cup competitions this season, compared to just four away defeats.
Mark Tyler made the most appearances, 48, missing only the two FA Trophy ties against Cambridge and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy fixture against Crawley this season. He was closely followed by Stephen McNulty with one less appearance. Three players only featured once in a Luton shirt during the year: Zane Banton and Luke Trotman both featured against Cambridge in an FA Trophy replay, whilst Dave Martin was a used substitute against Nuneaton in a 3-0 win.
The most common scoreline was 1-0, which occurred eight times, five at home and three from away trips. Coincidently the last game of last season was a 1-0 win away at Hyde, and the scoreline was repeated on the opening day of this season at Carlisle. Mark Cullen of course scored at Brunton Park, and he’s also since netted the only goal of the game against both Cheltenham and Cambridge.
Cullen netted 13 goals during the year, and this was only bettered by last season’s top scorer Andre Gray who scored 17 goals from just 20 appearances in the four months that he played. Gray netted two hat-tricks during this spell, against Nuneaton and Hereford, with Cullen also achieving this feat against Dagenham & Redbridge.
In total 18 players scored for Luton in 2014, with Paul Benson the only other player to reach double figures, 10 goals, with only four players netting just once during the year. Scott Griffiths, Ryan Inniss, Jim Stevenson and who can forget Jonathan Smith’s superb goal at Wycombe exactly a year after breaking his leg at Barnet, also on Boxing Day.
The two main attendance records were both broken in the final two games of the year. Firstly the 2,566 that travelled to Wycombe on 26th December made up the biggest away support of the year, whilst the home attendance of 10,071 two days later against Portsmouth was the largest attendance at Kenilworth Road of 2014.
The Hatters played in six competitions during the course of 2014, Skrill Premier, Capital One Cup, FA Cup, FA Trophy, Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and Sky Bet League 2…can they add another competition to the list in 2015?
Simon Pitts is the official voice of the Hatters on Hatters Player and DiverseFM. You can also buy his and Roger Wash's book - Luton Town Football Club - The Full Record from the club shops and online here.