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Season 2003-2004 : Luton Town 4 Yeovil Town 1 : Tues 12th August 2003
Carling Cup Round One : Luton Town 4 Yeovil Town 1
Other reports : YTFC official site; hatternet.com; Luton Online; Bristol Evening Post; Western Daily Press;

Vote for your YTFC Man of the Match by clicking here

Venue: Kenilworth Road
Tuesday 12th August 2003, 7.45pm kick-off.

Conditions:
Ground:

Scorers: Kevin Foley (25 mins, 1-0), Emmerson Boyce own goal (47 minutes, 1-1), Tony Thorpe (56 mins, 2-1), Courtney Pitt (64 mins, 3-1), Steven Howard (68 mins, 4-1)

Attendance: 4,337

Referee: Lee Cable

Assistant Refs:

Bookings:
Yeovil: Rodrigues (63 mins, foul), Gall (88 mins, dissent)
Luton: Coyne (13 mins, foul), Pitt (34 mins, foul), Howard (38 mins, foul)

Team Line-Ups

Line up : (3-4-1-2)

1. Chris Weale,
2. Adam Lockwood, 12. Hugo Rodrigues, 14. Roy O'Brien,
23. Jamie Gosling, 8. Lee Johnson, 20. Gavin Williams, 6. Darren Way (capt), 10. Nick Crittenden,
9. Kevin Gall, 18. Kirk Jackson

Subs: 3. Abdelhalim El Kholti (46 mins, for Gosling) 7. Adam Stansfield, 13. Steven Collis, 15. Steve Reed (46 mins, for Crittenden), 16. Andy Lindegaard (67, for Rodrigues).

Luton Town: 47. Rob Beckwith, 41. Kevin Foley, 12. Chris Coyne, 17. Emmerson Boyce, 3. Alan Neilson, 8. Kevin Nicholls, 21. Paul Hughes, 4. Matthew Spring, 14. Courtney Pitt, 19. Steven Howard, 9. Tony Thorpe,

Subs: 22. David Bayliss, 25. Sol Davis (70 mins, for Neilsen), 33. Dean Brill, 34. Dean Crowe (76 mins, for Thorpe), 44. Pary Okai.

Badger's View Of The Game

Yeovil Town's first ever Football League Cup match saw them face a Luton Town side that had just missed out on the Division Two playoffs last season, but were down to a minimal squad following their fall into administration over the summer. Gary Johnson made one forced change to Saturday's team, with Hugo Rodrigues replacing Colin Pluck, who had not sufficiently recovered from a back injury. Stephen Reed became the main defensive cover on the bench.

The Glovers started well, without having too much bite or penetration through an organised Luton back line. The subtle difference between the two sides seemed to be what Luton were able to do with the ball once they got into the final third of the Glovers half. Nick Crittenden and Gavin Williams were having to backtrack far too much to be effective in the opposition half.

That all said, Luton did not really test Chris Weale during the early period, and actually took the lead with their first clear-cut chance. Kevin FOLEY started and finished a fluent move that saw him expose the Yeovil flank, interchange a sharp one-two with Paul Hughes and then fire the layoff past Chris Weale into the corner from 15 yards.

The fact that it took until nearly the half time break for Luton to threaten again, made that initial goal all the more frustrating, but when the Hatters did threaten, Chris Weale made a series of blistering saves to deny them. First, he pushed a Kevin Nicholls free kick round the post for a corner. However, right on the break, a terrific double-save kept Yeovil in it, as he parried Steve Howard only to see the ball fall straight into the path of Courtney Pitt. A second goal seemed inevitable, but Weale leapt off the floor for a stunning save to stop the killer goal going in. One save on it's own would have been worthy of note, but to manage both as consecutive saves was more than enough to bring the travelling Yeovil support to their feet.

Half-time: Luton Town 1 Yeovil Town 0

Gary Johnson decided at half time to try and plug the gaps on the flanks by making a double substitution and a formation change. Stephen Reed and Abdelhalim El Kholti made up the left flank as Nick Crittenden and Jamie Gosling came off.

If Yeovil's major problem in the first half had been their cutting edge in the final third, the tactical switch seemed to initially do the job as the Glovers rattled up more chances in six minutes than they had managed in the previous 45.

Darren Way's first strike of the half was to lead to Yeovil's equaliser. His angled drive was beaten out by home keeper Robert Beckwith and when Lee Johnson pumped the ball back into the area in search of Way, Emmerson BOYCE seemed to forget that his keeper was still recovering his ground, and his glancing header neatly fell into the corner of the net for an equaliser.

The Glovers went after Luton like a team possessed, and Kirk Jackson and Kevin Gall came close to giving the visitors an improbable lead, with Beckwith now the busier of the keepers. But Luton ultimately rode the storm.

Lack of ball control was to cost the Glovers at the other end of the park ten minutes into the half. Hugo Rodrigues saw a fairly tame looking cross bounce off his shins and straight into the path of former Bristol City striker Tony THORPE, and he cut inside and finished from a narrow angle to make it 2-1.

Worse was to come eight minutes later, when as Yeovil pushed up, Rodrigues was left exposed, having to cover the right-back position as Courtney PITT advanced up the field. A shove out on the wings saw the Portuguese defender land in the book, and when Pitt himself took the free kick, Chris Weale was deceived by the movement of Paul Hughes right in front of him. Whether Hughes dummied the ball or just failed to connect, his run was enough for Weale to lose sight of the ball, and for it to rather tamely land in the back of the net.

Gary Johnson decided that he just as well throw the kitchen sink at Luton, and so off went Hugo Rodrigues and on came Andy Lindegaard, but 60 seconds after the substitution, the tie was dead and buried. A ball in from the right was mis-kicked into the ground on the half-volley by Steve HOWARD, but the bounce on the ball was enough to loop over Chris Weale's head for a somewhat flattering 4-1 lead.

To their credit, neither Yeovil or their large travelling support allowed the scoreline to spoil their evening too much, and they finished the match playing some tidy football, that nearly got them a goal back that perhaps would have painted a more realistic reflection on the balance of play. Abdelhalim El Kholti squeezed through two Luton defenders and banged a shot against the outside of the post but this was not to be Yeovil's night.

Such games always provide a good benchmark, and whilst it showed on the night, that Yeovil lack a thing or two to be an upper-table Division Two side, their performance was not a million miles away from their more illustrious opponents. The main difference was in the two penalty boxes. Whilst Yeovil often struggled to carve open clear-cut chances, Luton were ready to pounce on mistakes and half-opportunities to make their game count. Thankfully teams of Luton's standard should not turn up too often in Yeovil's league matches this season.

Badger

MOTM Vote Result:

Player MOTM Score
Darren Way 8 578
Chris Weale 7 500
Abdelhalim El Kholti 1 178
Roy O'Brien 1 144
Hugo Rodrigues 1 122

Overall match rating: 6.7 / 10
Performance: 6.3
Entertainment: 7.1

18 votes received.

Full-time: Luton Town 4 Yeovil Town 1
Match reports are welcomed by Ciderspace for publication - they can be as long or short as you like, humourous or serious as you prefer; and we welcome more than one viewpoint - the more the merrier! Send them to us as soon as possible after the game to ytfcciderspace@yahoo.com, or simply post them to the Ciderspace Mailing-List or Fans Forum and we will pick them up from there.

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