Huddersfield Town 1-1 Luton Town

Huddersfield Town story posted by Neil Armstead on 06/02/2005
Town finished the game with what could prove to be a valuable point against high flying Luton Town, after Luke Beckett scored is 5th goal in just 4 games in injury time of the second half. It was largely a case of midfield battling throughout the game for Town, who for the most part failed to distribute any quality the front men. One thing Town can definitely take from this match was an improved defensive performance, even though the sought after clean sheet still eluded Jacko?s men.Huddersfield Town 1-1 Luton Town

Jacko?s pre-game promise of drastic changes to the Town side started with a change in formation to a 4-4-2. Many town fans will have been surprised to see that top scorer this season, Pawel Abbott, was excluded from the starting lineup, as was Lee Fowler, who was replaced by young prospect Adnan Ahmed, starting in his first game in the blue and white stripes. David Mirfin came in at right back in place of Nat Brown, and Nat Clarke returned to the team in place of Steve Yates. Brandon and Schofield were on the right wing and left wing respectively, joined by Jon Worthington in the centre of midfield with Ahmed. Beckett took up his place alongside Booth in attack.

Lapses in concentration this time were few and far between, and for the most part the fighting spirit of the Town players was there for all to see against such good opposition.

Luton kicked off, and after 4 minutes were appealing for a penalty, after Luton?s Steve Robinson appeared to have been bundled over, however, appeals were waved away immediately with little complaint from Luton players. Following this came Town?s first opportunity of the day, Booth firing a header wide from a curling Chris Brandon cross after 5 minutes.

Booth?s second chance came soon after, volleying wide after work by Edwards on the left wing. The resulting play allowed an opening for Adnan Ahmed to try a shot, which was deflected wide for a corner. Town struggled to create anything from corners, as all were distributed rather poorly and too close to Luton?s ?keeper, who towered above to catch. The first 25 minutes were largely dominated by Town, who squandered 2 more half chances before Luton began to threaten Paul Rachubka?s goal.
The Hatters first real opportunity came after on-loan Pompey striker Rowan Vine had harried Nat Clarke for the ball, turned and shot, but he blazed high, wide and not so handsome to the relief of the Town faithful. Town had definitely had the better of the play so far.

Luton began to pass the ball with much greater endeavor as the game reached 30 minutes, after a counter attack resulted in a save from Rachubka down low, and it was another counter attack which undid Town?s defence for the only time in the match, after Kevin Foley broke and crossed low toward the back post where the ball was slotted home by Ahmet Brkovic after Vine had failed to connect, amidst complaints from the Town crowd of offside.

At the end of the first half Luton were still one ahead. I was left wondering about the distinct lack of pace between Booth and Beckett up front, and despite their evident aerial abilities, they had not caused many problems along the floor. Secondly, the refereeing in the first half was nothing short of shambolic, and quite rightly he was booed from the pitch on the half time whistle. The ref felt that he had to keep stop-starting the play, which disrupted the game heavily, and stopped both teams from playing the flowing football they are capable of.

Town pressured Luton early in the second half, with Booth coming close with a header almost immediately, which flew into the arms of grateful goalkeeper Marlon Beresford.
The Hatters then wasted two changes, blazing over after Mirfin couldn?t clear, and then Rowan Vine surging into the box with Clarke close by drove wide of he right hand post.
Town?s only booking of the day, received by Efe Sodje on 57 minutes, was for a late challenge from behind after the ball had long gone. However, it was reassuring to see the Town side so determined to get something from the game, when in truth they were not creating chances that were clear cut enough to draw the game level.

From here on the game began to get heated, with little scuffles emerging between Vine and Clarke, and then Worthington against just about the whole Luton team. On 62 minutes Abbott was thrown on to form a three pronged attack, for the unusually ineffective Brandon. The crowd were one their feet soon after when Edwards hit a perfect drive from outside the area into the side netting. Town began to put on the pressure again. Tackles began to fly, and Robinson, Foley and Howard would all be booked by the end of the game. Towns defence looked sparse as we pushed for the equalizer, but Luton were squandering chances, and when Junior Mendes was put into the frame, Town finally began to look like taking something from the game.

A lovely piece of skill by Abbot handed Beckett a sitter, but him tame effort was easily saved. Maybe he just wanted to do it the hard way, because only a few minutes later, he received the ball, turned and fired a sublime lob over the despairing Beresford 4 minutes into injury time. A frantic end to the game had resulted in town earning a deserved point from tough opposition.
However, it would be nice to see Jacko actually bring in a defender instead of just talking about doing it.

Neil?s man of the match: Nathan Clarke


Town: Rachubka, Sodje, Clarke, Edwards (Mendes 82), Mirfin, Brandon (Abbott 61), Worthington, Ahmed (Fowler 73), Beckett, Booth.
Subs not used: Senior, T Clarke
Bookings: Sodje

Hatters: Beresford, Foley, Davis, Davies, Keane, Perrett, Nicholls, Robinson, Brkovic (Neilsen 90), Vine (Andrew 90), Howard
Subs not used: Seremet, Holmes, Showumni
Bookings: Davis, Robinson, Howard, Foley

Referee: M Thorpe
Attendance: 12611


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