Date:Sunday September 17 2006
16 September 2006 3 pm
An unfortunate decision by a referee who had a poor day all round, ruined this match as a spectacle, as early as the ninth minute. Luton battled but were always fighting against the odds.
As a goalbound header came in from a corner on the Cardiff left, it seemed to take a deflection and was on target to hit Emanuel in the face. As he instinctively raised his elbow in front of his face, the ball cannoned off his elbow and the referee saw nothing wrong and play continued for several seconds, before the Assistant flagged. Referee Melin pointed to the spot, and if he awards a penalty kick it must be for deliberate handball and therefore he must send the player off according to the Law. However, his original gut decision as the man neaest the incident, to allow play to continue was, in my opinion the correct one and he should have instructed his Assistant to lower the flag.
Darren Purse scored easily from the spot kick for 1-0, and Cardiff never looked likely to allow that lead to slip.
On 30 minutes a delightful curling shot with his left foot from the right channel by Parry doubled their lead, and Luton rallied and continued to work themselves back into the game.
Brave persistence by Vine in the Cardiff penalty area, just on half time, carved out a sharp shooting opportunity and he beat Alexander at his near post from a difficult angle down the right.
Luton began the second half well and for some time a Luton equaliser looked on the cards. Langley's corner on 51 minutes was met by the head of Barnett, but Alexander did well to save it.
Cardiff went close soon after when Scimeca found Chopra from a free kick but his shot was high wide and less than handsome.
On 57 minutes, Cardiff worked a very nice opportunity which saw Thompson head down a cross into the path of Chopra and he sliced the ball into the top right corner of the net effectively to end Luton's lingering hopes of a point.
Luton did not give up, though, and a delightful cross from Edwards almost found Foley and one time Town target McNaughton got a toe on it. It seemed goal bound but Alexander made an excellent reaction save tipping it onto the crossbar and to safety.
Coyne had an opportunity from a corner by Langley but he volleyed over, and then Langley himself volleyed over when well placed.
As Luton's brave ten men began to tire, Cardiff extended them with some good wide play and substitute Kamara's first involvement saw him cross behind the Town defence to an unmarked Chopra who netted his second of the day.
Alexander was the second keeper in four days to be playing a blinder against the Town and he saved well from Edwards, Barnett and Langley, or the Town would have made it a lot closer. 4-1 flattered the home side, but with ten men for 90% of the match, Luton did well.
Date:Sunday September 17 2006
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