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Match Report


Posted Sat 21 Apr 12 at 16:55 PM


Harriers' play-off hopes moved out of their own hands at a crucial time on Saturday as they went down by a single goal, 1-0 at Luton Town with just one weekend's action remaining.


The two teams were met by an almost deafening atmosphere at kick-off with both sides fantastically well represented.


A long throw-in into the box presented Harriers with the first opening of the day with just a few minutes gone; Anthony Malbon hooking the ball back across the face of goal at the far post where Tom Marshall stabbed an effort at Mark Tyler.


Curtis Osano dragged one wide for the hosts soon after, while on 13 minutes the first player in the referee's book was visiting winger Marvin Johnson who was cautioned for simulation after going down in the are having beaten his man at the by-line.


With just a little over a quarter-hour played Harriers were struggling to contain Luton's lively movement and Jake Howells was only denied an almost certain goal by a great block from Luke Jones who struck a timely intervention just six yards out.


Tony Breeden was rooted to the spot at Andre Gray took aim four minutes later and only a deflection steered that one wide of the far post.


Back up at the other end and with just over 2minutes gone there was an opportunity missed as the Hatters snuffed out Nick Wright, Johnson then scooping one over the bar after coming inside.


Before the half-hour mark the home side continued to ramp up the pressure and defender Janos Kovacs had a golden double-chance to break the deadlock, his header from a corner hooked off the line by Lee Vaughan - the follow-up fired over the bar.


As the half wore on the pressure only increased and there could be little argument that Harriers were fortunate to reach the break at 0-0 - on a handful of occasions the likes of Luton's Fleetwood and Gray working the ball into the box with only a final touch lacking.


That uncertain defending carried over into the early moments of the second period as Luton found themselves with too much time and plenty of space on the ball in dangerous areas; almost punished on 48 as Gray saw his shot palmed away by Breeden.


An ambitious overhead effort from Fleetwood flew over the bar as the sum total of another home move on 58 minutes both sets of fans remaining in good voice, Johnson up at the other end forcing a save from Mark Tyler.


Harriers introduced Ryan Rowe from the bench with 64 minutes on the clock and just moments later he had an impact, holding the ball up outside the area before taking the shot on and forcing a sprawling stop from Tyler.


That first goal of the day arrived seven minutes after the hour and it was both fortunate and wonderful from Luton as they struck first blood. A mix-up between Tyler and his defence looked to have been costly for the hosts but in one boot of the ball he truly turned the tide.


A hoofed clearance up field looked to have been hopeful but it released Robbie Willmott who beat Breeden in the chase, the keeper then slipping to the ground as his defence rallied back; undeterred he weaved past two men before slamming home into the far corner.


That settled the home side and understandably flustered the visitors for a short time, though interest going forward continued as the likes of Mike Williams continued to push on.


With just two minutes left to go there was a chance from a corner to force an equaliser - Luke Jones nodding against the woodwork before Steve Guinan saw his attempted re-bound forced off the line.


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