Date:Sunday August 20 2006
19 August 2006 3 pm
After squandering a 2 goal lead at Norwich in 20 minutes of madness last Saturday, Luton would have wanted to get back to winning ways against a team which has become a bit of a bogey team for them recently. Twice last season Luton appeared to have beaten the team from the potteries only to concede late goals to lose 2-1 away and 3-2 at home.
Luton made two enforced changes to the line up from the Norwich defeat, due to ankle injuries to both Markus Heikkinen and Steve Robinson. Chris Coyne and Peter Holmes made their first starts of the season in their place.
Stoke were unchanged from their last match, a creditable 0-0 draw with Birmingham, after Carl Hoefkens passed a late fitness test to keep his place.
Hoefkens quickly showed why he is so important to the Potters as he probed down the wing early on, in driving rain. The surface was very slippery, and it was clear from the outset that mistakes would be likely in the conditions.
Luton started somewhat slowly, but against the run of play, it was Luton who almost snatched the lead, when Langley drove over the bar after good work by Kevin Foley, but six minutes later a contentious free kick led to the away side scoring a fortunate opener. The free kick was knocked down by Pericard to Sweeney, whose speculative effort was deflected past a surprised Beresford. It was possibly their only effort on goal in the first half, but enough to give them a half time lead, as they seemed to sit back and defend the lead, rather than come out to attack, with their back four looking quite secure most of the time.
The goal did spur Luton out of their lethargy, and Edwards continued his rich vein of form getting down the right flank and ensuring that the Stoke defenders were given plenty of work. His drive over the bar after a good run made Simonsen breathe a sigh of relief, as he looked beaten by the shot.
In possibly the best move of the match, Foley and Sweeney played a wall pass, in which Feeney`s return left Foley clear, and it needed a brilliant intervention from Hill to stop a Luton equaliser at the expense of a corner.
Emanuel was also showing what a good signing he has been, pushing down the left and playing some delightful passes. Midway through the half he latched on to a neat Vine pass and slid the ball agonisingly just wide, with a shot across the face of goal.
Despite having more of the play, Luton were finding it difficult to play through the Stoke defence, and their long shots were not finding the target. Vine and Emanuel both tried shots from way out but, although Vine`s 30 yarder was fumbled by Simonsen, no one was close enough to benefit, and he gathered at the second attempt, while Emanuel`s shot hit the side netting.
Just before the break, Dean Morgan replaced Feeney, who had seemed to be struggling. The Irish International had suffered a back injury in training with Northern Ireland and a rib injury while playing for them.
Having shown little ambition in attack after taking the lead, Stoke almost surprised the Town again with an early 'route one` attack. Simonsen cleared long to Chadwick, and his lay-off was drilled just wide by Russell from 22 yards.
Luton responded and Coyne deserved better when he dived to head a corner against the bar, and Dean Morgan was showing that he certainly has the ability to be dangerous at this level, given the opportunity in the side. It took an excellent save from the Potters` keeper to keep out a sharp Morgan shot from just outside the area, but the equaliser was not to be too long in arriving. In the 54th minute, a Langley corner was only half cleared by the Stoke defence, and Emanuel chipped a dangerous cross into the box, for Leon Barnett, still upfield from the corner, to rise and head home his second goal of the season, claiming the accolade of 'top scorer` as he did so!
Luton deserved to be on terms but, three minutes later, it could all have been undone when Pericard went down a little too easily under the challenge of Barnett in the Town penalty area. It looked a foul, but I think the theatrical way Pericard went down swayed the referee into the belief that he was 'looking for it`, and if so the ref would have a point.
Minutes later, the referee did point to the spot, but at the other end, when a twisting run by Morgan was brought to an end by a clumsy challenge by Duberry. Richard Langley fired the Town ahead confidently from twelve yards!
Just as it looked as though Luton`s overall superiority was to bear fruit, Stoke got forward and Sidebe executed a clever shot over his shoulder to draw the save of the match from Beresford after 69 minutes, before another speculative Sweeney shot led to a goal.
Beresford seemed to have everything under control and saved easily from the 30 yard strike, but the greasy ball slipped from his grasp for Chadwick to fire high into the net from six yards.
Luton attacked again, and Emanuel fired over after Vine found him in space and Holmes both had shots, which deserved better.
Feelings of déjà vu began to surface as Luton piled on the pressure only for Stoke to counter quickly, and it appeared they had repeated last year`s feat, when Hoefkens dropped the ball onto Sidebe`s head as Beresford rushed out. Sidebe got there first and Beresford had to look around quickly to see the effort hit the bar, leaving both sides having to settle for a point.
The stats show that Luton had the better of the game, and it is another two points dropped rather than one gained, for Luton and Tony Pulis would have been the happier of the two managers.
Date:Sunday August 20 2006
Hatters Sign Duo (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Hatters Sign Tigers Striker (Sunday May 19 2013)
Luton to Entertain Aston Villa (Friday May 17 2013)
Tyler`s Staying (Friday May 17 2013)
I Wish It Was Us! (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Favourites (Again)! (Monday May 13 2013)
Keeper Ranks Bolstered (Monday May 13 2013)
Nielson Finds New Club (Monday May 13 2013)
Welcome to the Mad World! (Monday May 13 2013)
I Felt Physically Sick! (Monday May 13 2013)
|Swann: I nearly joined Lincoln
» Lincoln : 24/05/2013 21:36:00
|Power inks new two-year deal
» Lincoln : 24/05/2013 21:17:00
|Player Profiles: Danny Rowe
» Lincoln : 24/05/2013 08:33:00
|Player Profiles: Jordan Thomas
» Lincoln : 24/05/2013 08:28:00
|Striker Yussuf signs for Lincoln
» Lincoln : 23/05/2013 12:23:00
|Imps snap up Nolan
» Lincoln : 23/05/2013 12:15:00
|Player Profiles: Conner Robinson
» Lincoln : 23/05/2013 08:00:00