Date:Monday October 23 2006
21 October 2006 3 pm
Carlos Edwards and Steve Robinson both recovered from illness to take a starting role for the Town and didn't they make a difference? Stephen O'Leary and Richard Langley dropped to the bench, with Warren Feeney earning a chance up front with Sam Parkin sustaining a swollen ankle in training.
Luton began well and ex Leeds striker Feeney almost gave them the perfect start when he clipped a shot just past the post with Sullivan beaten in the first real attack of the game.
The goal was not long in coming however, after Westlake thought he had stopped Edwards in full flight, but the ball broke to Vine who saw Edwards continue his run and placed a perfect pass for the Trinidad and Tobago international to draw Sullivan off his line and slide it past him into the net on 12 minutes.
With Leeds in a poor run of form, one might have expected them to fold at this stage but, on the contrary, they seemed to gird themselves and began to take the game to the home side.
Luton were on the defensive and, from a corner which looked as though it should have been a goal kick, Hayden Foxe rose unchallenged to head home the equaliser, which had looked likely from the moment Luton had taken the lead.
From that moment, Leeds took courage and were arguably the better team until half time, and Luton can probably thank whistle-happy referee, Grant Hedgely, for preventing Leeds from getting any momentum going. The game had no flow for the last twenty five minutes of the first half and the Assistant Referee required treatment for a hamstring strain, which further hindered the game as a spectacle.
Mike Newell was probably the happier manager going in 1-1 at half time.
The second half began as the first, with the Town looking refreshed by the break (or was it focused after a half time dressing down from Mike Newell?).
Warren Feeney had worked very hard in the first half and continued to do so in the second. In the 54th minute, Kevin Foley found him in space down the right and, as the defenders homed in on him, he clipped a beautiful cross over all of them and the flat footed keeper for Vine to run onto. As it arrived Vine could have headed or kicked the ball in from less than a yard but seemed unable to make up his mind. One thing was for sure he was not going to miss it and stooped to chest the ball into the net.
This time Leeds had no time to recover and regroup, because with the next attack, Edwards received the ball in acres of space down the same right channel and, after beating a defender on the by-line, cut back and found Vine, who will no doubt suggest that he saw Bell better placed, although it appeared that he mishit a shot, and Bell swivelled in the box to drive home Luton's third.
Leeds continued to try to get back into the game and began to build some promising attacks.
Adam Johnson found Paul Butler whose header beat Beresford but was cleared off the line by Sol Davis and on 59 minutes, Richard Cresswell headed past Beresford, but this time it was Foley on the goal line inside the other post, who blocked the shot and it bounced into the arms of the prone Luton keeper. Cresswell was off on a goal celebration and was distraught when Beresford got up and put the ball back into play, as no signal for a goal was forthcoming by either Referee or Assistant.
I couldn't tell for sure from the main stand, whether the ball had crossed the line or not, but Beresford looked suspiciously guilty! However, having seen the recording on TV, it is still impossible to say, so the referee was absolutlely correct to rule out the appeal if he could not see that the ball was definitely in.
3-2 at that stage, however, would have been a totally different game, and Luton's defensive nerves would have been jangling, but that is how your luck goes when you are struggling, and Leeds may have been unfortunate.
On about 72 minutes, a silly foul by Leeds, on the Luton right flank, led to a cross by Robinson, which found Markus Heikkinen just as unmarked as Foxe was when he scored for Leeds, and he seemed to have all the time in the world to nod the ball wherever he liked. He did - straight past hapless keeper Robinson and into the net for a 4-1 lead.
Leeds were finally broken by the 4th goal, and Luton began to play some champagne football, and it was difficult to see how they would fail to score again. However, the game had gone into the time added on for stoppages before it finally came.
Vine broke free on the left and chipped a cross to the near post. Edwards had run across the face of goal to meet it, and cleverly opened his instep to slip it past Sullivan for 5-1.
To be fair, 5-1 was not a true reflection of the match overall, but Luton's clinical finishing, which went awol at Hull, certainly merited the three points.
Luton moved up the table to fifth place, but could have dropped to sixth if Wolves had won or drawn at The Hawthorns on Sunday. In the event they didn't, so Luton stayed fifth, equal on points with fourth-placed Burnley and sixth-placed Wolves.
With Norwich playing their first game under their new manager, and beating Cardiff City 1-0, the Town are now only 7 points from the top of the table, which is annoying when you consider some of the silly points dropped, but the current situation must do wonders for team spirit and confidence going into Tuesday evening's Carling Cup Tie at Everton and next Sunday's Sky TV live game with Ipswich at Portman Road.
Date:Monday October 23 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)
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