REPORT: TOWN 1 - 0 DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE
The Hatters ended their 3 matching losing streak with a 1 – 0 victory against Dagenham and Redbridge at Kenilworth Road this evening, thanks to a super strike from Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.
Following on from a positive first half display against Accrington Stanley, Nathan Jones named a largely unchanged XI, with only Cameron McGeehan making way for Danny Green.
The result leaves The Daggers routed to the bottom of League Two, while the Hatters move up a place to 14th in the table on 56 points.
With the return of John Still to Kenilworth Road, there felt like there was a little extra to play for this evening as things got underway with the Hatters shooting towards the Kenilworth Road end.
Luton started brightly enough, and on two minutes Stephen O’ Donnell was brought down on the edge of the box with Widdowson at fault, for dragging him back. Danny Green stepped up to take the resulting free kick which was then penalised in turn for an offside.
The bright start continued as the Hatters enjoying the better of the first ten minutes, with Smith looking determined in midfield and Marriott making one or two dangerous looking runs into the box.
On nine minutes Luton show some more invention, with Sheehan spraying the ball out wide to O’Donnell who heads down to Smith. His return header goes back to Green and his cross over the top and down the line narrowly eluded O’Donnell on the wing. Some neat play from the Town.
Soon after, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu picked up a deflected cross from Dagenham, and his pass over the top found out O’Donnell. The Hatters number 2 then put a cross in, but it was too long and too close to the Dagger’s keeper who collected at the far post.
The first half continued along the same lines, with lots of neat passing play from the Town. Despite this, they were still finding it hard to break through and penetrate the Daggers defence.
The Daggers themselves showed little in the way of invention or threat. One minor moment of danger for the Town came as a speculative shot from Labadie was blocked comfortably by Lee. Subsequent shots by Hemmings were also blocked comfortably by Rea, and Justham respectively.
Throughout the first half, the Town exploited the good link up play between Pelly, Stephen O’Donnell and Danny Green with Smith cleaning up any spills.
John Still standing in the away dugout cast a familiar shadow, barking his orders from the corner of the technical area.
Then finally, a breakthrough. Olly Lee picked up the ball just outside the Luton box defending a Dagenham attack. Taking the ball on the run Pelly picked up the ball and blasted the ball against the bar, ricocheting back into the top left hand corner of Cousin’s goal. 1-0 to Luton.
The Hatters dominating large periods of this match so far, and were deservedly a goal to the good with a cracking strike from Pelly. As the visiting management team left the pitch, John Still received a warm round of applause from the Luton supporters, which he reciprocated.
At the beginning of the second half, John Still made his first substitution of the match, with Muldoon coming off, replaced by Cureton. Right from the outset, the Daggers looked to have the bit between their teeth, and they almost manufactured an early reply just two minutes in as a cross from Cash found its way to Cureton. Fortunately, his shot was cleared off the line by Justham. Very close.
Moments later, Danny Green was penalised for a tackle from behind. The free kick, 30 yards out, was taken by Labadie who hit it first time but sent his shot wide to the left of Justham.
On 50 minutes, it was time for Nathan Jones’ first substitution with Jack Marriott making way for Joe Pigott up front.
Throughout the second period, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu showed what an asset he can be to the Luton side. It seemed as though each time the ball came to Pelly an opportunity was not far off. Dagenham seemed to be unable to close him down, and on 54 minutes Labadie resorted to a foul to get the better of the Hatters midfielder resulting in a yellow card.
On 66 minutes Jones made another substitution as Smith makes way for Alex Lawless. Making his 199th appearance in a Luton shirt, he was greeted with a huge cheer by the Hatters faithful.
Joe Pigott also had his fair share of opportunities during the second half, but unfortunately opportunity after opportunity went by without a shot on target.
As the clock ticket down, the Daggers had a double substitution. With Richards coming on for Chambers and Hawkins on for Doidge. Luton also made their last change, with Zane Banton welcomed warmly once again, this time replacing Danny Green.
The Daggers’ best chance of the match came on 82 minutes as Labadie whipped in a free kick and Hawkins smashed a shot off the Luton crossbar, from close range.
The match closed out with other half-chances for McQuoid after a strong run into the box as well as another chance for Pigott.
After the final whistle, John Still made his way to the tunnel and paused to applaud the home crowd, who sent him off enthusiastically, but Nathan Jones and his team will be feeling pleased with their 3 points this evening.
Hatters: Justham, O'Donnell, Sheehan (C), Potts, Rea, Smith, Green, Ruddock Mpanzu, Lee, McQuoid, Marriott
Subs: Lawless, McGeehan, Benson, King, Banton, Musonda, Pigott
Attendance : 6995 with 67 backing Dagenham