Writer: Mad Hatter
Date:Saturday April 19 2014
At Park View Road, Luton showed just how they have become the Skrill Premier champions with a decent away win against Welling.
Before kick-off the Luton team was announced over the public address system to an accompaniment of 'Championees, championees` whilst the Welling players performed a guard of honour.
At a packed Park View Road, it was Luton Town that got the action underway with the Hatters attacking the end where the vast majority of the 2000 travelling supporters were camped. In the early exchanges Alex Wall featured prominently, first being thwarted by Butcher as he attempted to get on the end of a long pass and then, seconds later, and then seeing the keeper save a headed attempt.
Luton, following the header from Wall, forced two quick corners , the second of which saw a shot from Wall blocked with Gray putting the rebound over the bar. Welling responded with a chance that saw Taylor hit his shot straight at Mark Tyler after good work from Lafayette. As the game past the quarter of an hour mark it had been a start whereby both teams had looked sprightly.
Wall continued to attract attention, fouled some twenty yards out, his free kick smashed into the defensive wall before an over-enthusiastic attempt, from the rebound, saw Wall hit the ball clear out of the ground.
Our hosts were still creating chances and one effort, from Healy was blocked before Wakefield smashed the rebound high and wide. The deadlock was broken in the 28th minute though when Mark Cullen raced on to a through ball from Gray and finished in some style. It was Cullen`s 9th goal of the season.
Welling 0 Luton 1 (Cullen - 28)
Full of confidence Luton were soon looking for a second goal and it almost came when a flick on by Cullen, from a Henry throw, saw Gray`s bicycle kick saved by the keeper. All the noise inside the ground was coming from the Hatters support with cries of "The Town are going up" filling the air.
However, Welling were still creating chances and Luton breathed a sigh of relief when Sho-Silva completely missed a pull back from Healy with the gaol at his mercy. Gray, looking to increase his goal tally for the season, saw a shot drift wide. Whilst, with five minutes to half time, McGeehan saw a shot deflected wide for a corner. Welling only managed to half clear the corner but Griffiths couldn`t keep the rebound on target and it went wide.
One added minute of stoppage time was played before the half time whistle went.
Half Time - Welling 0 Luton 1
Welling got the action under way for the second half with John Still sending out the same eleven that started the first half. Tyler was forced into action early on, claiming an in-swinging cross from Fazakerly. Two minutes into the half Luton made an early change with Alex Lacey coming on for Steve McNulty who was given a rousing reception by the travelling support as he jogged off.
Four minutes after the first change Luton made a second change with Andy Parry coming on in place of Henry. The early changes prevented the second forty five minutes from settling into any early rhythm.
Just passed the hour mark Luton had a great chance to make it 2-0 when Gray raced through, following a lapse in the Weling defence, but his finish wasn`t up to the standards we`ve been accustomed to and his shot went wide.
Cullen thought he`d doubled the lead with a smashing side-foot volley but Butcher, in the Welling goal, produced a great save. From the resulting corner Frankes saw a shot blocked, in a melee that also saw shots from Robinson and Cullen also blocked as Luton increased the pressure on the Welling goal.
Another attack saw Gray, following a pull-back from Robinson, have his shot blocked with, once again, Cullen and Wall unable to force the ball home in the ensuing scramble. As we passed the mid-point of the half Jon Shaw was introduced in place of Alex Wall with the departing Hatter getting a rapturous reception from the 2,000 Hatters in the total crowd of 2,650.
Reward for the second half pressure was to come in the 73rd minute when the goal-machine that is Andre Gray netted. The striker scoring his 28th goal of the season after racing onto a long ball over the top, holding off the advances of two defenders and finishing with aplomb.
Welling 0 Luton 2 (Gray - 73 mins)
Credit to Welling though who refused to roll over and were rewarded when Ross Layafette produced a fine finish curling home a shot from twenty yards out to set up a grandstand finish.
Welling 1 Luton 2 (Layafette - 80 mins)
As the game entered the last five minutes of normal time, Luton were still pushing forward, looking for a third goal. Tyler was forced into action to save, low down, from Beautyman as Welling searched for an equaliser.
Three minutes of stoppage time were announced but there was to be no third goal or no late equaliser as Luton took the three points on offer.
Date:Saturday April 19 2014
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