Date:Sunday September 9 2007
8 September 2007 12 noon
Luton conceded their 100% home start with a performance which lacked a finish to some pretty football and paid the penalty for over committing to attack while level at 1-1.
The stats showed that despite having 56% of the possession, the away side had more shots at goal and more on target, and despite some very impressive holding up of the play by Furlong, the killer pass was missing from Luton.
Darren Currie gave me the impression that he is going to be another Dean Morgan; that is to say that when he is in the mood he will be brilliant but is also capable of nondescript displays which frustrate the fans who are watching.
Luton missed Dave Edwards, on international duty for Wales U21s, as no one surged forward as he does, and despite another good perormance from Matty Spring, Bristol Rovers' tactics paid dividends as they stifled the threat of Bell and counter attacked swiftly utilising their height advantage to cause Luton problems from set pieces leaving me wondering why 6' 2' Jaraslaw Fojut was not employed once this became obvious.
The first surprise of the day was when the team was announced and Richard Jackson was in the starting line-up after Blackwell had said that he was definitely still out with his injury. The second surprise was that before many had settled in their seats, one of those special moments when the ball sits up and is struck sweetly resulted in Ricky Lambert putting the away side in front after only a minute.
To their credit, Luton did not panic but gradually built on some good possession to get back into the match. However, credit to Lambert whose volley was virtually unstoppable.
Some decent interplay between Bell and Goodall resulted in a half chance for the advancing Coyne, but the cross just eluded him and Bell almost repeated his opening day goal when he cut inside from the left wing but his shot was blocked.
A corner from Currie found Goodall but he missed when he should have hit the target and then Furlong received the ball with his back to goal from a firm pass by Spring. He controlled the ball and turned in one movement and Elliott was caught wrongside of the Town striker. He naively stuck out a leg, which Furlong needed no further invitation to fall over, leaving the eccentric referee Graham little option but to penalise with a spot kick.
Whether the referee had second guessed himself and regretted the decision or not, we will never know, but he ordered a retake presumably for encroachment under the letter of the law, not once but twice, with Spring beating Phillips on both occasions and finally at the third time of asking, the ball hit the net again and Luton were level.
Luton continued to play good passing football without an end product, but surprisingly still looking vulnerable to the quick counter attack. Rovers seemed quite comfortable allowing Luton to attack them and Luton lacked the nous to break them open.
By half time it was too close ( not the score - the overall fee of the game!) to call how the game would pan out.
The second half was much the same as the first except Luton began to run out of patience and ideas, though not necessarily in that order, and despite cosmetic changes of position and personnel, I still had that horrible feeling that Luton were not going to score but the opposition just might.
Luton still flattered to deceive and as Bristol Rovers countered, their corner tally began to rise and it became quite worrying that each time a corner was taken, Luton struggled to clear the ball.
One header was blocked by Currie another strike went wide and two more were saved superbly by Forde.
Peschisolido, Hutchison and Morgan were all employed in trying to change things around, but Luton did not seem to have a plan B and their play still lacked incisiveness.
Lambert hit another volley from a distance which fortunately went over the bar with Forde watching hopefully.
Pesch did find the net from a Furlong knock down but the offside flag ruled it out. Luton, who had had an enormous amount of possession were finding that Rovers sensed an unlikely win and a period of pressure against the home team was builing.
Elliott should have scored but a brave effort from Forde saw him deflect the ball for a corner. The ball came in from the corner to find Lambert climbing over all and sundry to get to the ball and Forde saved well again, but how no free kick was awarded against Lambert I don't know. Ironically, it was from this corner that the winner came. Igoe's cross seemed too short but it received a touch at the near post and Lambert was at the far post to find the net.
Despite a lot of effort towards the end, you just had to accept that the away side's tactics on the day were superior to Luton's and they mugged us. We should be used to it; it happened so often last season!
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Date:Sunday September 9 2007
All Is Revealed! (Wednesday June 19 2013)
French Defender Linked (Wednesday June 19 2013)
Can You Guess Who? (Wednesday June 19 2013)
Ex-Luton Manager Lands Top Job (Monday June 17 2013)
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Just a Reminder (Sunday June 16 2013)
Four Thousand! (Thursday June 13 2013)
Spiller`s Future? (Wednesday June 12 2013)
Disappointed or Expected? (Tuesday June 11 2013)
Martin Signs New Deal (Tuesday June 11 2013)
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