Match Reports

Brave Luton thwarted

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A good defensive performance counted for nothing after a rush of blood from Sol Davis undid all the hard work and gifted the points to promotion chasing Swansea.

Luton had done enough to deserve a share of the spoils but a late Butler goal left the The Hatters pointless yet again.

Mick Harford left out George Beavan for the returning Chris Perry to join Keith Keane in the central defence while Richard Jackson came in at right back. With Dean Morgan carrying a groin strain Lewis Emanuel moved to left midfield and Drew Talbot partnered Sam Parkin up front in a 4-4-2 formation at the expense of Calvin Andrew who had failed to impress against Leyton Orient.

With Swansea in a run of 16 league matches without defeat and Luton having last won 9 league games ago, the result might have been viewed as a foregone conclusion but Luton gave as good as they got for the most part of the game.

Swansea began confidently but soon realised that Luton’s defence was in a far more resilient mood than recently and the home side made few chances from their early possession.In fact their first shot was nearly 20 minutes in which Dean Brill took comfortably.

The first real opportunity came soon afterwards but Keane made an excellent block when the lively Pratley lost Perry and looked to have a clear shot but chose to pass to Scotland. As Scotland looked to drive the ball into the goal Keane made a brilliant effort to get in the way.

Talbot had a clear header after good work by Sol Davis who went down the left and pulled back a cross right onto the ginger ninja’s head but he grazed the cross bar when he should have hit the target.

Swansea were still finding the Town defence resolute and apart from some wild shooting from distance the Swans were frustrated by the Town effort in defence.

In return Luton looked dangerous on the break and Bell shot wide with keeper de Vries scampering but as half time approached Luton had hardly been troubled.

The second half was little different with Swansea being allowed possession in their own half and Luton defending from midfield and keeping the home side at bay.

Ten minutes in Pratley shot over the bar after Spring was robbed by Scotland, but as the game wore on Luton began to get forward more and, if anything, looked more likely to break the deadlock than Swansea.In their best move of the match the Hatters were denied by an excellent tackle by Painter when Parkin, who is looking more dangerous with each match he plays, took the ball down brilliantly and made space to feed Talbot. Talbot found Bell in what looked like acres but Painter had read the game well and got in an excellent block at the expense of a corner.

Steve Robinson, who I mistakenly believed would be suspended for this game for 10 bookings, but I hadn’t remembered that 10th February is the deadline date for 10 to warrant a suspension, and he can now get 15 before being suspended, hit an excellent shot goalwards with some power, but de Vries made an equally stunning save and the loose ball favoured the home defence who cleared the danger.

Jackson dwelt on the ball too long and was dispossessed by Andy Robinson and he found Scotland who forced a good save out of Brill, then Talbot broke free and shot into the arms of de Vries when a yard either side looked a likely goal.

Sol Davis received a yellow card for a fairly routine foul just past the hour, and eight minutes later he made the Hatters’ task a lot harder with a classic rash Sol Davis challenge leaving Andy Penn little choice but to give him a second yellow and first use of the plumbing facilities.

Swansea began to see their opportunity against ten men and on 78 minutes Tate got in a powerful near post header and Brill made a very good save but the Town were showing signs of crumbling under the pressure and when you are down at the bottom the little things seem always to go against you.

With less than ten minutes left a mistake by Substitute Alan Goodall gifted Butler the ball and he struck a speculative effort from way outside the box, just as the home side had been doing all evening, but this one hit Emanuel and the post on the way to scoring.

It was hard on the Town after such an excellent effort all evening, and they tried to get back into the game, but a relieved Swansea seemed to shut up shop and defend the 1 goal lead. If only Luton could have done that in a few games this season!

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