LUTON TOWN 2
IF the cliché ‘it’s a game of two halves’ was written to describe any game, it was this fascinating season’s opener.
After finding themselves facing a two goal deficit after 45 minutes, following an inexplicably poor performance, the Hatters did well to force their way back into the game.
What looked like a lost cause was salvaged by strikes from summer signing Jon Shaw and Stuart Fleetwood who spared the blushes of the home side.
Starting well, it took only two minutes for JJ O’Donnell to get Town’s first and only shot of the half on target.
The youngster, who was making his first league start for the club, did well to muscle his way into a good position, but the resulting strike was a tame effort that the keeper Adam Bartlett easily saved.
Despite the impressive pre-season campaign and the numerous additions to the squad over the summer, manager Paul Buckle had warned that this would be no easy game and Gateshead made sure that it wasn’t.
Although the Hatters held the majority of early possession, the visitors’ defence did well to stifle the pace and guile of Andre Gray, and close down any opportunity of a forward run that they tried to make.
Increasingly working their way into the game, it was Gateshead that made the breakthrough in the 25th minute.
Ex-Hatters loanee Liam Hatch did well to score from a left-wing corner as the Hatters’ defence desperately tried to hack the ball away.
Buoyed by their goal, the visitors began to excel as the shell shocked Luton side lost their shape and focus.
Just ten minutes later Gateshead doubled their lead, a 35 yard strike from Yemi Odubade enough to loop over the goalkeeper and find the back of the net
The Tynesiders could have had a third on the stroke of half time as Josh Gillies got on the end of a Hatch header, but Tyler did well to save the effort.
After leaving the pitch to a chorus of boos, Paul Buckle made a statement of intent at the beginning of the second half with two immediate substitutions.
The introduction of target man and former Gateshead player Jon Shaw brought the Hatters back to life, and indeed it was the striker that gave the home side a way back into the game, with a lunging close range effort following a Stuart Fleetwood pass.
The goal lifted the spirits of the fans and players alike and signalled the beginning of a period of Luton dominance.
Playing with a new found confidence it was Fleetwood who got Luton’s equaliser, blasting home a cross from O’Donnell following a Scott Rendell corner.
After working his way into the box Adam Watkins could have scored the winner five minutes from time, but his powerful strike was stopped by Barlett.
At the other end, Tyler did well to get a single glove to a long range strike from Hatch and tip it over the bar.
There may be a dent left in the optimism that had surrounded the club before this game, but no one can fail to be impressed with the fighting spirit showed by the team to ensure a share of the spoils in the second half.
Luton will now make the trip to Kidderminister Harriers on Tuesday evening, hoping to get that elusive first win under their belt sooner rather than later.
Luton Town: Mark Tyler, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Greg Taylor (Jon Shaw), Janos Kovacs, Scott Rendell, Jake Howells, Stuart Fleetwood, JJ O’Donnell, Yaser Kasim (Alex Lawless), Ronnie Henry ( C), Andre Gray (Adam Watkins).
Subs: Dean Beckwith, Dean Brill
Gateshead: Adam Bartlett, Carl Magnay, Jamie Chandler, James Curtis, Ben Clark, Josh Gillies (James Marwood), Phil Turnball, Liam Hatch, Yemi Odubade (Nathan Fisher) , Micky Cummins (Patrick Boyle) , Chris Bush
Subs: Patrick Boyle, Nathan Fisher Glen Wilson, James Nixon
ATT: 6743 (76)
- Council faces huge budget challenges
- Man pushed to the ground and robbed
- EDL boss to carry on despite threat
- Robbers 'grabbed victim by arms' before searching his pockets
- Shop shooting: Owner uses crates for self-defence in botched armed robbery attempt
- Delaney Brown court case: Defendant pleads guilty to manslaughter