Match Details: 01/01/2008
Luton Town 1-0 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Steve Mildenhall, 3. Nathan Jones, 5. Scott Guyett, 6. Terrell Forbes, 7. Gary Dempsey, 10. Marcus Stewart, 12. Matthew Rose, 14. Paul Warne, 17. Darren Way, 25. Zoltán Stieber, 28. James Walker,
Subs: 8. Anthony Barry, 9. Lloyd Owusu, 19. Craig Alcock, 20. Marc Bircham, 32. Marvin Williams
Substitutes Used: Marvin Williams for Zoltán Stieber (58 mins), Lloyd Owusu for Darren Way (60 mins), Anthony Barry for Gary Dempsey (80 mins)
Bookings: Marcus Stewart (Foul, 5), Marvin Williams (Foul, 69), Paul Warne (Foul, 76), Matthew Rose (Foul, 79),
The scoreline may say that Luton Town and Yeovil Town were merely divided by a 48th minute Calvin Andrew goal at Kenilworth Road today, but the truth is that there was a far wider divide between the two sides that took to the pitch for today's New Year's Day match.
Luton dominated the first hour of the match by a country mile, and even when manager Russell Slade introduced Lloyd Owusu and Marvin Williams to the attack on the hour mark, the subsequent levelling out of the match was more relative than a sudden reversal of the balance of play - in truth Luton keeper Dean Brill was probably the least worked player on the pitch today.
Quite how the Glovers got in at half time at 0-0 is anyone's guess. Some heroic defending kept the scores level, with Gary Dempsey clearing a Matthew Spring header off the line after defender Scott Guyett was told to leave the field to deal with a headcut the Australian received from a stray Luton elbow, leaving Yeovil down to 10 men. Later on, chaos in the Glovers penalty area saw keeper Steve Mildenhall being forced to commit himself, and only an outstanding block by Matthew Rose, close to his goal line stopped Luton.
The Glovers also needed the help of the woodwork. When Drew Talbot was released down Luton's right flank, he drew Mildy to his near post, but with the majority of the goal on display, he hammered his shot against the crossbar and Yeovil escaped again.
If the half time whistle was a blessed relief for Yeovil to get into the dressing room and regroup, it wasn't to turn out that way, as three minutes after the break, Luton finally broke the deadlock. David Bell's right wing cross was met by a close-range diving header from Calvin Andrew, and for all of the workrate of the Glovers back line, it was difficult to kid anyone in the ground that Luton didn't deserve it.
Mildy stopped it being 2-0 when he saved with his legs from a Darren Currie shot, and the real worry now was that Yeovil might cave in under the pressure. Owusu and Williams were introduced for Way and Stieber, who had not had their best games in a Yeovil shirt by any means, and the end result was a far more attacking Glovers line-up that showed signs of at least evening up the match, if not levelling the scores. The two subs managed to create one chance each, but not really anything to truly endanger the Luton goal.
In fact as Yeovil pushed forward, so Luton began to hit them on the break. Two major chances were spurned for them to seal the game, but once again Steve Mildenhall and Matthew Rose came to the rescue. A deflected Drew Talbot strike looped over Mildy and seemed goalbound until Rose got his body in the way, albeit with the inevitable shouts for handball on the line from the home fans. Then a David Edwards header was tipped onto the post by the Yeovil keeper, and he got a welcome piece of luck as the rebounding ball came straight back into his arms.
Perhaps the only blessing of today's game was that Yeovil's goal difference did not get a battering on the day and that the Glovers did not cave in against an onslaught that they didn't know how to deal with. It's certainly easy to see why Luton have the second best home record in this division - were it not for their away form and their 10 point deduction, they would no doubt be facing a rather different battle during 2008.
A final word about referee Dean Whitestone. Whilst his performance in no way affected the final scoreline, it is sad to note yet another shocking performance by a man in black. He was prepared to dish out yellow cards to green'n'white shirts like confetti (it is almost certain that the Press Association stats below have missed off at least one Yeovil booking) yet when identical or often worse tackles were made by home players, he merely awarded a free kick and no more.
The worst tackle of the whole 90 minutes was an ugly lunge from behind by Luton's Matthew Spring on Anthony Barry that undoubtedly deserved a straight red. Yet when Paul Warne committed a mild inoffensive pullback in the 89th minute, Whitestone just couldn't wait to draw out a second yellow for Warne and an early exit that saw Warne throwing his shirt into the tunnel in disgust - it was only his third foul of the whole game yet Whitestone saw it as worthy of dismissal - barely a minute after Spring's bit of brutality. With only a minute remaining, this had no bearing on the final result, yet Whitestone's bowing to the will of the home crowd will undoubtedly give Russell Slade a headache as he has to deal with another suspension for next week's match against Walsall. Any chance that we could actually be given a decent referee one day, please?
That all said, Slade will have to pick up the damage, and with Peltier and Jones gone and Darren Way and James Walker having completed the final matches of their current scheduled loan periods (subject to any extensions being agreed) Slade has got to make sure that by next Tuesday's match that he isn't currently caught short. And given today's performance, that may not be the only thing on his mind.
Final Score: Luton Town 1 Yeovil Town 0.
Luton Town 4-4-2:
1. Dean Brill
21. Keith Keane 5. Chris Perry 31. Jaroslaw Fojut 3. Alan Goodall
8. David Bell 10. Darren Currie 16. David Edwards 25. Matthew Spring
19. Drew Talbot 20. Calvin Andrew
Subs: 4. Don Hutchison 12. Richard Jackson 14. Steve Robinson 28. Paul McVeigh (87 mins for Darren Currie) 29. Paul Furlong (90 mins for Drew Talbot)
Yeovil Town 4-4-2:
1. Steve Mildenhall
12. Matty Rose 5. Scott Guyett 6. Terrell Forbes 3. Nathan Jones
14. Paul Warne 7. Gary Dempsey 17. Darren Way 25. Zoltan Stieber
10. Marcus Stewart 28. James Walker
Subs: 8. Anthony Barry (80 mins for Gary Dempsey) 9. Lloyd Owusu (60 mins for Darren Way) 19. Craig Alcock 20. Marc Bircham 32. Marvin Williams (58 mins for Zoltan Stieber)
Luton Bookings: Matthew Spring (88 mins, foul)
Yeovil Bookings: Marcus Stewart (5 mins, foul), Marvin Williams (69 mins, foul), Paul Warne (76 mins, foul), Matthew Rose (79 mins, foul) Red Card: Paul Warne (second bookable offence, 89 mins)
Goals: Calvin Andrew (48 mins, 1-0).
Attendance: 6,811 (including 392 from Yeovil)
Referee: Dean Whitestone. Assistants: D D Bushell and J M Hayto. Fourth Official: S Burt.