Match Reports

Luton Boss delighted

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A reported 176 Luton stalwarts braved the Northern weather to support the Town and they were rewarded with a battling rearguard action from the Hatters. A minute after going one down, Jarek Fojut headed the Town level and despite failing to create many openings themselves , defended resolutely to take a deserved point to the delight of manager Kevin Blackwell.

Blackwell’s declared intention was, firstly, to stop losing away from home and having drawn the last two away games they have now gone 6 games unbeaten. More to the point, they have only lost one out of the last ten league games, the 3-1 defeat at Brighton.

Oldhame began the match more brightly than the Hatters who looked a little nervous, allowing Lee Hughes and Craig Davies too much respect and both might have scored early on but for some last gasp defensive blocks by Coyne and Fojut. To their credit, though, Luton soon settled after that and good work from Andrew saw him cross for Edwards to finish with the keepr out of position but Edwards, who has really lost his shooting boots at the moment, couldn’t find the Oldham net.

Andrew looked pumped up for the game and a rash challenge on Eardley earned him the first yellow card of the day, which was the first of many to come from an overzealous referee. Andrew was certainly deserving of a yellow card, but some referees may have given a straight red the challenge was so late.

Luton seemed to have set their stall out for primarily a defensive game hoping to capitalise on set plays and counter-attacks, because they were stifling Oldhams’s efforts, without creating too much themselves.

By 25 minutes it began to look like another of Luton’s recent 0-0 specials,as Coyne and Fojut looked unbeatable in the centre and Perry was solid down the Oldjham left. If there was a weak link, it would ahve been Richard Jackson playing out of position again at left back, as he had to contend with a couple of pacy midfielders.

In the 32nd minute, however, the home side broke the deadlock with their first incisive move. Chris Taylor found Craig Davies in space and he colly worked the ball around Dean Brill and slotted it into the empty net.

Before the Latics could settle on their lead, it was gone, as 90 seconds later a free kick by Bell was headed into the Oldham net by Jarek Fojut for the equaliser.

The game then deteriorated into what it had been before the quick two goal salvo!

The second half was no more entertaining than the first with a similar pattern devloping of Oldham having the possesssion but not having the craft to beat the Luton defence.

There was very little goalmouth action at either end and Oldham were reduced to long shots which rarely required Brill’s intervention. When he was needed, the young Town keeper acquitted himself well. David Bell was receiving plenty of the ball on the counter but Man of the match Allott marshalled him very well and gave him little opportunity to breach the defence either with runs, head -ons or shots, and it was a very frustrating evening for the Town’s playmaker. Robinson and Wilson were faring a little better, but Edwards striking was still below par. He really needs a goal to lift his confidence, as he almost seems to be trying too hard.

Just after the hour, Lee Hughes got above the Town defenders to get in a headed effort, but he missed the target, and this saw trhe start of Oldham stepping up a gear and attcking the Town defence with more regularity.

Stam should have scored when he somehow managed to head wide from the edge of the six yard area, after the dangerous Kilkenny placed the ball right on his head, and as the pressure mounted, Dean Brill came to the rescue when Lee Hughes bundled the ball goal side of the defence only for the youung Luton custodian to rush him as he shot, and save with his feet as he spread hismself bravely.

When Brill remained on the floor it looked for a minute as though the boss’s tactic of playing without a substitute goalkeeper might finally have come undone, but Brilly shook off the impact.

Luton had never troubled the home keeper, Mark Crossley, until 8 min utes from time when a rare Luton foray in to the last third saw Furlong cleverly make himself a yard of space and fire in a quick shot, but unluckily for the returning hit man, the ball struck the underside of Eardley’s outstretched boot which took all the power off the shot and it bounced comfortable for Crossley to catch.

That was really the end of Luton’s attempts to win the match and for the last 8 minutes and the ridiculously over estimated 5 minutes of added time, Oldham laid siege of the Luton defence winning corners and free kicks but could do nothing with them as the Hatters clung on to a hard wan point.

Oldham Athletic: Crossley, Eardley, Trotman, Stam, Bertrand, Taylor, McDonald (Smalley 85), Kilkenny, Allott, Hughes, Davies.

Subs not used: Bell, Hazell, Kalala, Wolfenden

Yellow Cards for: Kilkenny (37)bit harsh, Trotman (45)harsh, Hughes (61)well deserved

Luton Town: Brill, Perry, Coyne, Fojut, Jackson, Wilson, Bell (Currie 82), Robinson, Edwards (Grant 90), Andrew (Talbot 74), Furlong.

Subs not used: Keane, McVeigh

Yellow cards for: Andrew (6)deserved, Robinson (36) harsh, Furlong (72)absolutely ridiculous, Talbot (84)deserved

Referee: Mr A Haines did his future no good whatsoever and looked out of his depth. Too many unnecessary yellow cards, although ironically, after having received yellow cards previously, Kilkenny, Trotman, Robinson and Furlong could easily have seen red for offences far worse than the ones they were originally yellow carded for!

Attendance: 4,251 (176 from Luton)

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