Date:Sunday April 23 2006
22 April 2006 3pm
Luton all but beat promoted Sheffield United, but a late Tonge free kick secured an undeserved point for the Blades. Brkovic seemed to have scored the winner after a missed penalty kick by Vine, as Luton ended their home matches for the season.
Pre-match news from Kenilworth Road on Friday suggested that the team would be severely depleted again due to injury, but Kevin Nicholls was a big surprise inclusion on the bench. Marcus Heikkinen failed to make it and Steve Howard resumed the central defensive role alongside the inexperienced Leon Barnett.
Sheffield United were also depleted but Akinbiyi returned to the ground where he scored a hat trick for Burnley earlier in the season.
Luton began well and an early Brkovic cross found Morgan but the ball came off his chest too far to control it and Kenny took it easily. Brko then shot goalwards but the ball struck Feeney and was cleared.
Luton semed to be doing more of the attack king and it was worryingly like the game at Bramhall lane when Luton controlled the first half only to concede four later on, but with Howard and Barnett looking solid at the back, that was never going to be repeated.
Despite their greater attacking intentions, Luton failed to give the Blades keeper too much to worry about, while Beresford was a spectator for most of the first half. It was not until 8 minutes before the break that Kenny was tested and it came from the boot of Enoch Showunmi who missed narrowly from 35 yards with Kenny scurrying across his goal and relieved to see it go wide.
Luton’s first real scare came just before the break when Akinbiyi crossed towards Dyer but Barnett slid in to clear it skilfully. Bolstered by that success Barnett popped up at the other end with a good header after a Morgan free kick but the ball went straight at Kenny.
The Blades were more adventurous after the break and again the spectre of the Bramhall Lane match came to mind. However, it was Luton who were gifted the golden opportunity to open the scoring when Vine went down far too easily under the attentions of Chris Morgan and the Assistant Referee signalled a Penalty Kick. For me it was never a foul and justice was done when Vine got up and blasted the spot kick over the bar. Had Nicholls have been on the field at the time I doubt Vine would have had the opportunity!
Just after the hour, Francis slipped the ball right across the face of goal and several onrushing Blades failed between them to get anything on the ball and the chance was gone.
Three minutes later, Keane drilled a perfect cross into the area and the unmarked Brkovic gleefully headed it past Kenny for a deserved lead. Luton upped the pace a little after the goal and a Feeney shot was well saved by Kenny and as time was running out, Nicholls took a trademark free kick which beat Kenny but struck the cross bar
It appeared that, with Sheffield United making little inroad into the Luton defence, Luton would hold on, but in a somewhat rare attack, Howard bundled over Armstrong, who like Vine needed little invitation to go down, and Tonge curled the ball into the net from 20 odd yards but without too much pace, and Beresford will have been disappointed not to have got to it.
Date:Sunday April 23 2006
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