Writer: The New Ricky Hill
Date:Sunday November 19 2006
18 November 2006
A bright and windless November day. Loyal Luton Supporters' Club outside the ground handing out 'Tomlims Out' leaflets, making clear their support for Newell and asking questions of the Board the day after the designs for the new stadium at J12 were released.
After the furore of last weekend - on the pitch - the big question was what would Newell do to counter the undoubted aerial challenge presented by Derby's semi-mobile 6'2' post of a centre forward, Steve Howard?
The answer was interesting:
Foley Perrett Barnett Emanuel
Edwards Robinson Heikkinen Brkovic
So Markus moving into midfield, sacrificing speed and nous in the box for the greater physicality of Russ Perrett. The change was also intriguing given that he plays in midfield for Finland, and indeed did so regularly at Aberdeen.
A big cheer for Newell pre-kick off, and a good hand for Howie too.
The first chance of thegame fell to Vine, predictably, after neat flicks from Brkovic and Boyd opened up the defence down the left, but his left footed shot curled awy from the keeper and wide.
The game struggled to light up, with the greater entertainment coming from the crowd's rendition of 'Mike Newell's sexists army' and Derby's response of 'There's only one sexist bastard'.
Derby were showing the greater resolve, with Robbo and Markus failing to get a grip in the middle of the park. But on 20 minutes it was Perrett forcing a corner from a low shot in the Derby box, and Derby struggling to cope with the Town aerial threat.
Just five minutes later Perrett did the same thing at the other end, turning a low cross towards the corner, for Beresford to save smartly.
Our 4-4-2 seemed to be turning into 4-1-3-2, with Markus sitting on top of Perrett and Barnett rather than helping Robinson, leaving gaping holes in the middle of the park through which Derby poured, though our quasi-5-man defence then withstood them easily enough.
It meant that we were nothing more than a counter-attacking side, and Brkovic was the main outlet, always available wide left for a quick throw from Marlon, who used him to the full. Berky seemed to be back to his best, combining non-stop covering effort with a sparkle and creativity lacking in the rest of the side, Boyd apart.
For fifteen minutes before half time we seemed to get a grip, with a great header from Barnett forcing a fingertip save from Bywater in the Derby goal, then neat interplay from Boyd and Edwards down the right allowing Boyd to take a return pass and float a super chip from 25 yards which again Bywater tipped over. Seconds later a deep cross from Edwards found Berky in the box, and he set up Boyd for a low shot to the keeper's right, which again was tipped round.
So no score at half-time, but the Town ahead on chances created if not possession. We debated whether to make any changes, and concluded that as Perrett was not winning his battle with Howard, and Markus was lost in the midfield, we would take Perrett off, move Markus back into defence officially, move the sparkling Brkovic in to the middle to support Robinson, and bring on Morgan.
But Newell didn't agree of course - no changes.
Two minutes in and the first real threat on the Town goal, as Jonathan Stead's low shot through a crowded box struck the post. Within a minute Boyd set Carlos free with a well-directed header, accepted the return, dummied to create space and curled a shot just wide. At last the stadium came to life, with both sets of fans roaring their teams on, and it looked like we were going to get a game.
But not really. On 14 minutes Howie had his first attempt on goal, a typically toothless shot which went wide and provoked chants of 'What a waste of money'.
By the halfway mark the game had deteriorated into a pretty grim affair, with long punts making the place seem more like Vicarage than Kenilworth Road.
Dean Morgan readied to enter the fray, but as he waited Stead weaved past our right flank into the box, evading Perrett with e ase, and fired an unstoppable shot past Bereford.
And so to the changes - Feeney for an anonymous Vine, perhaps understandable, and Morgan for Brkovic, unfathomable as Brkovic had been by far the best Town player on view.
Just two minutes later it was however all rendered irrelevant, as a well-worked free-kick off thetraining ground caught us square and allowed Howard to tap in a rebound off the post for 0-2.
With 6 minutes to go Robbo was reaplced by Bell, but many of the Town fans decided to go with Robbo, it was that bad, and the trickle of fans leaving early became a flood even before the end of normal time.
Marlon 5 didn't have much to do, and couldn't have stopped either goal
Foley 5 not his usual fluent self, but with no sign of Markus in midfield his options were generally limited to a heavily-marked Edwards, or a hoof
Barnett 5 struggled against Howie, but the sponsor's MoM
Perrett 5 struggled against Howie
Emanuel 6 another good performance, and with Brkovic on song the left flank was the best for a change
Edwards 4 anonymous
Robinson 5 ran and ran, but with no support had no chance
Heikkinen 3 easily the worst I have ever seen from him. Clueless on position.
Brkovic 7 light-years ahead of the rest, Boyd excepted. Our MoM
Vine 4 no service and not his usual appetite
Boyd 7 improving each game as he settles in. A clever forward, and will score and create at this level
Feeney 5 typically useless performance
Morgan 7 lively and threatening
Bell 6 no time to make much headway
Newell 4 It was obvious after 20 minutes that Markus was failing in midfield, yet he kept him there for the whole game, and afterwards justified it by saying that he plays there for Finland. This was the key mistake that cost the game, as the right flank was absentwith no glue in midfield, and his abysmal performance stifled Foley, Edwards and Vine, as well as gifting control to Derby. Come on Mike, it is a simple game really.
Date:Sunday November 19 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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