Hatters fall to Forest Green

Blue Square Bet Premier: Forest Green Rovers 3 (1) Luton Town 0 (0)

LUTON Town boss Gary Brabin’s future is now in severe doubt after the Hatters’ terrible evening record continued tonight as they were completely outclassed by Forest Green Rovers, writes Mike Simmonds.

The Luton manager was booed off by his own supporters at the final whistle after witnessing his side played off the park at times at the New Lawn, falling to their joint worst defeat of the season.

It was no more than Rovers deserved either as Town were absolutely awful for long periods, showing very little stomach for the fight as they were well and truly outfought and outbattled by their mid-table hosts.

The defeat means Town have now only won an appalling three out of 18 midweek games this season, picking up 19 points from a possible 54.

Worryingly, even a play-off place for Hatters is by no means secure now, something that should be the bare minimum expected of a club of Luton’s size at this level.

Barring the odd chance, Town created absolutely nothing of note either, with their passing at times simply woeful.

Brabin made two changes to his side, with Aaron O’Connor and Adam Watkins starting for Danny Crow, who was on the bench and Greg Taylor, who missed out with a stomach injury.

Town looked bright in the opening exchanges as Stuart Fleetwood teed up Alex Lawless for a fierce drive that was blocked.

Hatters had a glorious chance on 15 minutes when Eddie Oshodi’s clearance was charged down by Fleetwood, who advanced clear on goal, but faced with keeper Sam Russell, his meek attempt hit the keeper’s legs and bounced over the bar.

After that though, Town got progressively worse, with their possession lacking any direction and the final delivery at best, poor.

Midway through the half, Hatters almost fell behind due to their own defensive inadequacies as Jake Howells’ back pass was intercepted by Matty Taylor, who beat Mark Tyler, but at full stretch could only find the side-netting.

The hosts took the lead on 35 minutes though as Luton were carved apart by a slick passing move. Kieron Forbes picked out Yan Klukowski’s run and he calmly side-footed past Tyler into the bottom corner.

Town tried to fight back swiftly, but Watkins’ toe-poke dribbled wide, while Rovers left-back Chris Stokes then went on a stunning individual run only to see his right-footer fizz just wide.

Brabin opted to replace Watkins with Andre Boucaud at the break and Town tried to up the ante immediately as Robbie Willmott’s shot was fumbled behind for a corner.

Rovers maintained their attacking threat though as James Norwood combined with Taylor and sent his dipping volley inches wide with Tyler motionless.

The hosts then scored the killer second on 74 minutes, with the goal coming from Town’s corner as Norwood beat Charlie Henry to the clearance, sped three quarters of the field and found Taylor in blissful isolation, who clinically curled into the roof of the net.

The 297 Hatters fans, who had stayed with their side for the majority of the game were reduced to ironic cheers as Boucaud’s shot from distance was straight at Russell.

Hatters went from bad to worse in the closing seconds as Taylor raced clear once more to round Tyler and sidefoot home, completing what was a downright shambolic evening for the Hatters.

Rovers: Sam Russell, Jared Hodgkiss (C), Chris Stokes, Jamie Turley, James Norwood, Yan Klukowski (Jake Thomson 68), Kieron Forbes (Michael Pook 90), Matty Taylor, Eddie Oshodi, Liam Henderson (Michael Uwezu 64), Jamie Collins. Substitutes not used: Chris Todd, Tommy Wright.

Hatters: Mark Taylor, Keith Keane, George Pilkington (C), Alex Lawless (Charlie Henry 70), Robbie Willmott, Stuart Fleetwood, Aaron O’Connor (Craig McAllister 61), Jake Howells, Curtis Osano, Adam Watkins (Andre Boucaud 46), Janos Kovacs. Substitutes not used: Danny Crow, Godfrey Poku.

Referee: Darren Handley.

Assistant Referees: Michael Bingham and Dragan Kuzmanovic.

Fourth official: Grant Taylor.

Bookings: Klukowski 12; Osano 41; Taylor 81.

Attendance: 975 (Luton 297).

Star Hatter: Andre Boucaud. Marginally the best of a bad bunch.

Related topics: