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A JUNIOR HATTERS' REPORT | LUTON 3-2 PORTSMOUTH

Junior Supporters' Liaison Officer James Whitehead, 14, writes...

1 February 2019

There are some matches where you just can't wait to get to the ground, the expectancy of a full house, the buzz of excitement around the ground and the hope that today will be the day your team wins an all important match.

Tuesday night under the floodlights at the Kenny was certainly one of those nights with the visit of promotion challengers portsmouth and the chance to extend our lead at the top of the table to a massive five points.

But usually the hope and excitement ends in disappointment, but would tonight be the exception? The sense of occasion was increased with the snow falling heavily before the match started and the possibility that the game might not even finish and worse we could get stranded and not get home!

Well the Town lined up unchanged once more although the subs bench contained a mixture of youth and experience, with two more 'of our own' - Arthur Read and Connor Tomlinson - given the chance to be part of the match day squad.

The fear that the occasion might be too much for the players was quickly gone within minutes. The Town roared out of the blocks and what followed was probably the best 45 minutes of football that we have seen in a long time.

Even some of the Portsmouth fans commented on how good we were in the first half. Luton moved the ball at pace and with great skill, creating chance after chance never letting Portsmouth get a second on the ball and for most of the half Portsmouth barely had the ball let alone a shot.

The only disappointment was that we were not 4 goals ahead by half-time, which wouldn't have been unfair given the state of the game, and we had to settle for just the one goal shortly before half-time when LuaLua's through ball was brilliantly slotted home first time by James Collins. Surely this couldn't be the second best team in the league we were playing!

Portsmouth made two substitutions at half-time and this seemed to spark new life into them and suddenly we had a game on and the crowd's nerves started to jangle, just like the annoying bell that the Portsmouth fans started ringing when their team started playing better.

Sure enough a bit of a goalmouth scramble, a lay off and shot, and the ball was in the net. 1-1 and game on. Well, Portsmouth almost took the lead but we were saved by two amazing saves by James Shea with an outstanding tip over the bar with the ball arrowing towards the top corner.

Luton however, settled down after this and midway through the second half another piece of trickery from Lua Lua forced the Portsmouth defender to needlessly clatter into him in the box and a penalty for luton.

Thankfully no Danny Hylton panenkas as my nerves would not have been able to stand it and James Collins smashed the ball into the bottom corner to take him up to joint first in the leading goal scorers tally and Luton were back in front 2-1.

This joy was shortlived though as within minutes another goalmouth scramble resulted in Bogle just beating Shea to the ball and sliding it under his body to equalise. Surely we weren't going to blow it now were we?

Luke Berry had run his socks off (not hard as his socks are only tiny) and was replaced by George Moncur. With 5 minutes remaining he was brought down on the edge of the penalty area. Where was Jorge Grant when we needed him we asked, but as one Jorge departs, up steps another and with the help of JJ's clever dummy, Moncur curled a beauty into the bottom corner and the ground erupted with noise levels rarely heard.

Spare a thought for the poor groundsman as George proceeded to do a 20-yard knee slide celebration along with a number of team mates which looked great but didn't do much for the condition of the pitch. 

Five nerve-wracking minutes plus 4 added minutes, but finally the ref blew for time and the ground erupted into wild celebrations again - and so did the players on the pitch and in the dug out.

What a night and we all went home ecstatically happy after a big and important game. It's great to be a Hatter!


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