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Luton Town 1 Harriers 2


Date: 01-04-13gif Venue: Kenilworth Roadgif att: 6108gif away fans: 408
Harriers storm to first ever win at Luton

gif Report by Philip Lench
The Harriers picked up their first ever win at Luton Town today to continue in our position at the top of the table but later on as the jubilant Harriers fans were making their way home came the truly shocking news that a young fan had been stabbed and a coach window smashed.

The full facts have yet to be released but some Luton fans are insisting it wasn't anything to do with them and more likely to be a race related incident.  Whatever the reason behind it the result now has a shadow hanging over it and one that neither side want or need.

No more will be said about the incident now until more facts come our way apart from wishing the young fan a speedy recovery.

The day saw a return to the ground that more or less saw the end of our hopes of a play-off place last season when a single goal from Lutons Robbie Willmott mid way through the second half broke the Harriers fans hearts.  Today we went there knowing that just one more point from any of our remaining games would at the very least assure us a play-off place this time round while Luton would be hoping for a win to at least gain a rare three points in a disappointing season.

We started the game with some more minor tinkering as James Vincent dropped to the bench in favour of Keith Briggs.  Marvin Johnson was again on the bench and it seems that Steve Burr sees him as more of a super sub than a ninety minute man.  Luton started the game with the strange choice of putting their star man Andre Gray on the bench while the overweight battle tank Steve McNulty started as their central defender.

That mistake was to pay dividends just under a quarter of a hour into the game.

The Harriers had already started the game strongly without really threatening Mark Tyler in the home goal although Luton had already gone close when Sol Taiwo pounced on a ball that fell kindly from a rebound for him.  His shot hit a defender and went high into the air, and goalwards, but luckily Danny Lewis was under it to clutch it safely.

Chey Dunkley had a chance early on when he sent a header from a corner weakly into the keepers hands and then ten minutes later Anthony Malbon had a better attempt that saw Tyler claw the ball over the bar from his powerful shot on the run.

A minute later and the Harriers had got the goal they were looking for and it came from the Harriers star defender Josh Gowling but for once not from his prominent forehead.  Instead a corner ball was cleared but only as far as Josh to hammer the ball back towards the goal and in.

The goal seemed to spur the home side on and they responded with Jon Shaw trying his luck from distance but Lewis pushed it away towards Scott Rendell.  He then played in David Martin but cross back in was eventually blocked by Chey Dunkley.  They came too close for comfort a minute later when Rendells powerhouse of a shot rattled the crossbar with Lewis well beaten and then cleared by Dunkley yet again.

We went back on the attack again and this time Michael Gash beat his man to a ball and played in Malbon to strike the ball firmly towards goal but a last ditch stop on the line from McNulty prevented the ball from going in.  The second goal followed shortly afterwards and it fell for Malbon.

This time McNulty's turning circle of an oil tanker allowed Malbon to nip past him as he fell to the floor.  The referee ignored the calls for a foul as Malbon stormed towards the goal, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home for his eighteenth goal of the season.

McNulty was relieved of his duties before the game re-started and Scott Griffiths came on for his debut after signing from Peterborough earlier in the week.

It was almost a third goal for the Reds a few minutes before the break when Malbon again beat his marker to feed Danny Pilkington with the ball.  Pilks sent the ball into the area towards Gash but, with the goal at his mercy, it was just too high for him to reach and inevitably bury.

Luton had one more chance before the break to pull a goal back but again Lewis denied Rendell the glory after the former Cambridge man glanced his header goalwards.
  HT: 0 - 2
The Harriers started the second period as they intended with chances falling the way of both Keith Briggs and Pilkington, both firing over early on.  Within ten minutes the Hatters made their second change of the game by taking Martin off and bringing Jon Smith on.

The game settled down for a while after that with us seemingly content with our lot while Luton lacked the nous to break us down.  We did have one attempt on goal in that period when Malbon again broke free and then allowed Pilkington to carry the move on towards goal but his shot well to the left of Tyler was well saved by the Luton keeper.

The Luton management then saw sense and bought on Andre Gray to obvious cheers from the Luton fans who could see what their team was missing even if the management couldn't.  Rendell made way for the prolific striker.

Grays first touch of the game almost bought a reward when he pounced on an almost own goal from Gowling that had cannoned off our crossbar down towards Gray.  He tried to force the ball home but again Harriers defenders threw their bodies at the ball and eventually Danny Lewis cleared it away to comparative safety.

Gray finally managed to get his team back into the game with ten minutes left.  Good build up play by the Luton midfield split the Harriers defence wide open and Gray pounced to send a shot screaming into the bottom corner of Dannys goal.  The Luton fans suddenly came to life and started to roar their team on.

They nearly scored a second goal minutes later when Jake Howells almost got on the end of a deep cross with a clear sight of goal but he just failed to reach the ball.  Seconds later another chance went begging when Lewis and Jon Shaw collided in the area and the ball ran free to Matt Robinson but he mishit the chance and it went wide.

With time running out, and the Harriers hanging on to the narrow lead, Steve Burr threw Marvin Johnson on for Pilkington.  His job seemed to be to play the game out rather than do anything adventurous and this he did.

Luton had one last chance to glean a point when a header from Smith was cleared off the line to the relief of the Harriers fans who were bursting a gut to celebrate.

They did just that and did it in style with the only other downer, apart from later events, being Mansfields emphatic win at home to Gateshead to keep the pressure on us in top place.
  FT: 1 - 2

 Goal for Luton: Gray 83
 Goals for Harriers: Gowling 13, Malbon 35

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Luton Town  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Tyler     Lewis  
Rowe-Turner   L Vaughan  
Ainge     Demetriou  
Goodman     Storer  
McNulty gif     Dunkley  
Martin gif     Gowling gif  
Robinson     Jackman  
Taiwo     Briggs gif  
Shaw     Gash  
Rendell gif     Malbon gif gif  
Howells     Pilkington gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Brill     N Vaughan  
Gray gif gif     Johnson gif
J Smith gif     Gittings gif  
Griffiths gif     Vincent gif  
Wall     Rowe  

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