Writer: The New Ricky Hill
Date:Saturday December 2 2006
2 December 2006
A rush of excitement pre-match as Newell at last picked a side to win...
Foley Barnett Heikkinen Emanuel
Edwards Robinson Bell Brkovic
So Kiely making his home debut, Markus back where he belongs in the heart of the defence, a capable and hard-working central four, and Morgan given the chance to show just why he has that attitude and swagger.
Would it be enough to instil some confidence in the players against the league-leaders, with Nugent and Agyemang up front?
Once again the teams swapped ends, so we kicked off towards KR. From the off the pressure was on Preston, with Carlos and Foley working hard down the right, and although the attack came to naught the pressure was maintained. After just 2 minutes we were in front, Vine with acres of time even in a crowded area to control and then turn in a Robinson cross from the left. Some suggestion of offside, but if so a piece of luck running our way was overdue.
The quick start produced an immediate cup-tie atmosphere, and a great pace to the game as the Town team all seemed determined not to let each other down, with stout defending and quick-passing skills to the fore. Heikkinen was an important early influence, but the whole side had an urgency about them which was good to see.
On 12 minutes a Robinson volley from a Foley cross had us all leaping convinced it was in, but was just tipped over. From the corner the ball ended up with Brkovic right side, who dummied everyone and then used the time to curl a beauty just past the left upright.
On 18 Vine set Bell away down the left, and his cross, although partially blocked, found Deano with his back to goal in the box. With two men on him he somehow managed to turn, beat them and fire a low shot which was almost turned in but instead ran to Carlos who stabbed it in at the right post.
2-0 and no more than we deserved, with Vine and Morgan fizzing, the midfield bursting with ideas, and Barnett and Heikkinen imperious at the back.
On 25 Vine ran at Preston from half way before rolling a low shot just past the right-hand post.
Kiely`s first save took 32 minutes, and even Noddy would have had no difficulty with the shot as it bobbled slowly goalwards.
And right up to half-time it continued, with Morgan and Vine twinkling their toes like the ballet dancers they both should be, Robbo and Brkovic putting their bodies on the line time after time, Edwards and Foley raiding down the right, with Foley even taking a turn at centre forward in one foray, and Bell buzzing like a bee on the left, combining elegantly with Morgan and Brkovic as they ripped through the Preston right flank almost at will.
A great hand for the team and Newell at half time
So kicking towards the Oak Road stand in the second half, no changes of course, and if the form and commitment could be maintained then an easy win in the offing. But this is Luton we are talking about, against the league leaders, and with our goals conceded for the season already at 38...
Morgan continued dancing his way through, but was twice brought down in heavy challenges, and from the second he trudged off having decided that enough was enough. Our optimism took a marked downward turn as Feeney replaced him, in theory at least. But there was little need to fear, as the Town maintained their control, hitting Preston fast, and almost at will.
On 15 Robinson floated a super chip goalwards after a beautiful dummy on the edge of the box by Bell, which keeper Nash just managed to pull down from under the bar.
On 18 a shot from Carlos was blocked and, as the keeper came for the rebound Feeney made his first real contribution by getting in the way, allowing Brkovic to fire a shot from a narrow angle. As the keeper struggled to get out of the Feeney-inspired tangle, Berky`s shot was cleared off the line and Carlos fired the clearance over.
Within a minute Feeney embarked on a run at the Preston left flank, and to our astonishment managed to beat two defenders before pulling back a low cross just behind the 6 yard line which had the Preston defence in a complete panic. Somehow we failed to capitalize however.
And so it continued, with play alternating between Watford-style punts upfield from Preston, and lightning speed raids from Carlos and Bell, who were reveling in the space they were allowed. The crowd loved it too, singing "Let's all laugh at Preston" and "Can we play you every week?".
It was clear that the only way Preston were going to score was via Route 1, and to increase their chances Dichio replaced Agyemang with 15 minutes left.
On 35 minutes Brkovic hit a screamer from 25 yards after a typical Carlos foray, but somehow it inched past the top corner.
With 8 minutes left at last Preston created a chance of substance, with a powerful Nugent header from point-blank range tipped over by a Kiely reflex. From the resulting corner Kiely was forced to stretch high and wide for another fingertip save, and 2 minutes he again foiled another aerial attack. But that was Preston spent.
On 43 minutes a clearance to Bell wide right saw him play the most beautiful dummy, leaving the entire right flank open. He turned and sped away before crossing low and hard to the near post, where Feeney slid in for a shot which was blocked.
The fourth assistant indicated 4 minutes of injury time, and Newell used at least one by withdrawing a shattered Vine to a standing ovation, Perrett adding a little more muscle at the back. Before the whistle however there was just time for Bell to embark upon a glorious run before hitting a screamer which was brilliantly saved by Nash.
Leon Barnett was named MoM for a truly towering performance, but to be honest this was one of those days when you could have selected any of them, and no-one would really have argued.
Kiely 7 Three great saves when it mattered, and inspired confidence in the box
Foley 8 A great game coming forward
Barnett 8 Solid and pacey
Heikkinen 8 Class personified
Emanuel 7 Never looked in trouble
Edwards 8 back to his best
Robinson 9 Must have covered every blade, truly inspirational today
Brkovic 8 Ditto, almost
Bell 8 Energetic and a constant threat
Vine 8 Nearly back to his best
Morgan 9 Teased and taunted - his best game this season
Feeney 7 All for effort
After the game Newell conceded he had been mistaken with playing Markus in the midfield recently, in an attempt to staunch the flow of goals. He interestingly also said that he had been told in the summer that he should leave Luton for the likes of Derby or Leicester, where there was money, but had decided to stay at Luton because he believes that our financial position will change soon, and that he would like to take us to the new stadium and then into the Premier League. Good for him.
Date:Saturday December 2 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