Shocking Hatters fall to Alfreton defeat
Alfreton Town 3 Luton Town 0
Hatters fell to an embarrassing defeat at Alfreton Town this afternoon, equalling their worst ever loss since dropping into the Blue Square Bet Premier, writes Mike Simmonds.
Going into the game, Town had won all three of their previous away matches, but never looked like extending that run against a physical Alfreton side who hadn’t won on home soil, losing heavily to the likes of Nuneaton and Hereford.
Without the likes of Scott Rendell and Jon Shaw, Luton were battered and bullied in the first half, lacking the aerial prowess to ever keep hold of possession long enough to get the likes of Andre Gray into the game.
Rendell missed out with a back injury, while Stuart Fleetwood picked up a knock in training and could only make the bench, with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner dropping to the substitutes too.
Loan signing from Northampton Jake Robinson came in for his debut, while Ronnie Henry returned after suspension and on his 21st birthday, Adam Watkins started.
Hatters could well have been ahead inside a minutes as Dean Beckwith’s glorious crossfield ball was taken up by Alex Lawless, whose pinpoint delivery was headed wide by Gray.
That was the only bright moment of the opening forays though, as the Reds hit back immediately to open the scoring when Nathan Arnold escaped Greg Taylor and his low cross was slid home by Anthony Wilson.
Alfreton’s physical tactics clearly unsettled Town with their extra height and muscle all over the field ensuring they easily won their battles.
With 23 minutes on the clock, Hatters fell further behind as after playing long ball for lengthy periods, the hosts slipped a pass through the middle and Beckwith tangled with the dangerous Arnold, eventually tripping his man to concede a penalty.
Dan Bradley stepped up and confidently tucked the spot kick away as Luton left themselves with a mountain to climb.
After getting sucked into the hosts’ direct antics, Hatters showed what they could achieve by keeping the ball on the floor as Howells combined neatly with Gray, but his first time shot dribbled through to Jon Stewart.
Arnold was causing a whole host of problems and got clear once more, angling a drive narrowly off target.
With minutes to the break, Tyler was responsible for keeping his side in the contest as Arnold once again broke clear and the attacker’s low drive drew a super tip on to the post and out again.
The Town custodian did well to keep his bearings when Dan Meadows fired in a swerving attempt, while Luton almost got an undeserved goal back when the ball rebounded around the box, before falling at the feet of Gray, only for the striker to spin and fire wide of the post.
As he has done in previous matches, Buckle showed he wasn’t scared to try and influence the game, ringing the changes at the break as Taylor, Watkins and Janos Kovacs all made way for Fleetwood, Connor Essam and Yaser Kasim.
Town improved immediately as a cross from Lawless only just evaded Robinson, while Yaser Kaim showed what the visitors had been missing, intelligence in possession and more importantly, more often then not, finding a Luton shirt.
Fleetwood scuttled down the wing and showed great vision to pick out Gray, but the forward’s disappointing afternoon continued as he sliced over the bar with only Stewart to beat.
Further pressure from Town saw Henry almost pull one back as his left footer was grabbed by the keeper, while Beckwith’s header from Fleetwood’s whipped cross was easy for Stewart
The hosts noticeably withdrew in the second half, under orders from boss Nicky Law, but the killer moment came for Town on 66 minutes, with a third that came about from a rare error by Tyler.
Winning the race to a hopeful long ball, he tried a cute pass rather than put his foot through a clearance, but only succeeded in gifting possession to Wilson, who gleefully tucked into the now empty net.
Hatters’ heads noticeably dropped from there, although Robinson came close, curling his effort at Stewart.
It could have been 4-0 as Meadows broke the offside trap and sent in a low shot that Tyker repelled, before Luton fashioned a glorious chance to net a consolation.
The impressive Kasim showed good skill to beat his man and find the over-lapping Howell. His cross was dummied by Fleetwood, only for Kasim to somehow side-foot wide from 10 yards.
Lawless tried his luck too, cracking a shot that didn’t have enough curl on it as the final whistle sounded with Town’s rather stunned supporters, players and management wondering just exactly where this performance had come from.
Reds: Jon Stewart, Joshua Law, Connor Franklin, Darran Kempston ©, Anton Brown, Dan Bradley, Nathan Arnold (Ben Tomlinson 88), Leigh Franks, Dan Meadows (Simon Russell 83), Anthony Wilson (Paul Clayton 66) , Theo Streete.
Subs not used: Alistair Taylor, Ash Worsfold.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Greg Taylor, Dean Beckwith, Janos Kovacs (Connor Essam 46), Alex Lawless, Jake Howells, Adam Watkins, JJ O’Donnell, Jake Robinson, Ronnie Henry ©, Andre Gray.
Subs not used: Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Dean Brill.
Booked: Beckwith, Arnold, Fleetwood, Franklin.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse.
Assistant referees: David Mcnamara, Ian Gittins.
Attendance: 1,392 (786 away)
MOM: Yaser Kasim - injected some rare quality.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Leighton Buzzard
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 8 C
Wind Speed: 33 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North