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Harriers 0 Luton Town 2

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Date: 31-08-13gif Venue: Aggboroughgif att: 2866gif away fans: 821
Harriers penalty nightmare continues

gif Report by Steve Williams
The Harriers fell at the feet of a lacklustre Luton, this afternoon, to give Steve Burrs men their first successive loss as well as their first home defeat of the season.  Again, as at Nuneaton last Monday, it was a penalty that was to be our undoing but just to make sure we gave the opponents two this time.

Before the game started there was a bit of a surprise with Joe Lolley getting a starting place ahead of Anthony Malbon.  It was mentioned that Malbon had been suffering from a virus during the week so that was understandable.  Lee Fowler, Marvin Johnson and Callum Gittings also returned to the starting eleven at the expense of Danny Jackman, Dior Angus and Jack Byrne.

The supporters of both teams started the game in great voice but it took a while for the players to react to this with the majority of the first half football without any recognisable form of passing being employed.  Luton finally managed to get an easy save out of Danny Lewis through Luke Guttridge but, apart from that, they seemed happy enough to stop us from playing and using spoiling tactics to do so.

The Harriers first chance came near the end of the half.  Lolley, restricted to a shot from the edge of the area, managed to force a decent save from goalkeeper Mark Tyler who just managed to tip the ball round the post.

The Reds failed to produce anything of note from the corner which allowed Luton to advance towards Danny Lewis' net.  Andre Grays pace down the flank offered Jake Howells with a chance to convert but he smashed his shot over and with no real threat.

That marked the end of a half that will not take long to escape the memory of all involved.
  HT: 0 - 0
After a goalless first half in which both teams were found grinding their gears as opposed to getting a foothold in the match the Aggborough faithful were expecting a half with more passion from the players and go on to beat Luton comfortably, as, in all honesty, they looked there for the taking.  Alas, this was not the case.

The first chance of the half came after both teams were meandering around the edge of the Harriers box.  The referee, obviously bored, inadvertently knocked the ball into the path of Gutteridge who smashed it at Lewis and it rebounded to Chey Dunkley to then clear up the scraps.

If Guttridge had scored it would have been interesting to see if the referee officially claimed the assist.

With just over twenty minutes remaining the deadlock was broken when Luton were awarded a penalty.  A ball was poked between Dunkley and goalkeeper Danny Lewis.  Dunkley took the ball away from Lewis' grasp leading to the keeper making a rash challenge to deny Paul Benson capitalising on the lack of communication.

Jake Howells stepped up and calmly dispatched his penalty, sending Lewis the wrong way.

With the home side a goal down and the fans favourite Anthony Malbon being brought into the game a sense of optimism crept into the ground, yet it was still the visitors that scored next, doubling their advantage.

The Harrier's defender Josh Gowling squared up against Luton's Gray and after the ball went out of play the latter fell over the formers outstretched leg and after some due consideration the referee awarded a second penalty.  Lewis dived the same way as before but this time Howells squeezed it under the keeper, firing powerfully and centrally.

The final nine minutes went by with more tedious and uncreative football being provided by the Harriers, the same football that failed to test Tyler's goal all game.  The Carpet Men finished with ten men when midfielder Callum Gittings went down injured in time added on.  He could have gone off earlier in the half with a broken neck after being shoulder barged into a pitchside hoarding by McNulty.  The fat defender didn't even get a booking for that act of thuggery.

The performance equalled the result, even if Luton needed two kicks from twelve yards to finish the business.

There is one glaring difference between this performance and the majority of our performances last season.  Today it was naïve arrogance: there was the expectation to win.  There was no drive to win.  There was a sense that the ball would accidentally find itself squirming under Tyler's body after a magical gust of wind.  This, inevitably, did not happen and Luton got three points after playing their game.

The quality in this team has been there for all to see and had it not been for Lutons defensive quality (and the opposition attack's lack of quality) this could've been a larger margin of defeat.

The performances will come and with them, the proof to why the men from Aggborough enter every match as favourites.  Onwards and upwards.
  FT: 0 - 2

 Goals for Luton: Howells 70, 81 (pens)


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gif Chey Dunkley



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Harriers  goals   subs   cards      Luton Town  goals   subs   cards 
Lewis   Tyler  
L Vaughan     Griffiths gif  
Demetriou     Parry  
Storer gif     Smith
Dunkley     McNulty
Gowling     Henry  
Gittings     Lacey  
Fowler   Guttridge  
Gash     Benson gif
Lolley gif     Gray  
Johnson gif     Howells gif  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
N Vaughan     Justham  
Jackman gif - 82     Martin gif - 90  
Malbon gif - 72     Whalley  
Blissett     Wall gif - 90  
Byrne gif - 72     Cullen  

REFEREE:
Mr K Johnson
Weston-super-Mare




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