In-form County beaten by Hat­ters

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Woods

NEW­PORT County boss Justin Ed­in­burgh felt his side were highly un­lucky to be on the re­ceiv­ing end of a 3-0 ham­mer­ing at Ke­nil­worth Road.

Goals from the two Lukes: Wilkin­son and Rooney, and a stop­page time ef­fort from Jake How­ells were enough for Lu­ton, who also tri­umphed over the Ex­iles 3-2 in the FA Cup first round last month.

“We are a bit un­lucky I think, I don’t think it is a fair re­flec­tion on the game at all but fair play to Lu­ton, they were ruth­less in front of goal and took their chances when they needed to,” said Ed­in­burgh.

“We lost con­cen­tra­tion in our own box and weren’t ruth­less enough in their penalty area.

“We started both halves slowly and that’s what cost us, you can’t come to a club like Lu­ton and find your­selves 2-0 down when you’ve had plenty of chances your­self.

“The first goal is only the sec­ond we’ve con­ceded from a set-piece which is a good record, but the tim­ing of the goals killed the game for us.We still had chances and will re­flect on that, we have to dust our­selves down and move on be­cause I felt we sur­ren­dered the re­sult.”

Lu­ton’s first team coach Hakan Hayret­tin was con­tent that his side were wor­thy of the three points.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic three points for us and make no mis­take, we’ve achieved

that against a big, strong and or­gan­ised team. We had to match them phys­i­cally, and we did,” he said.

“We got the goal and caught them cold and as the game went on we got stronger and stronger, they maybe had the bet­ter of the first half, but we matched them and not giv­ing up has be­come one of our big­gest qual­i­ties. And as the game went on, we got our re­ward, their goal­keeper made some good saves as well as ours, but we got the goals at the right times.

“We just had that bit of qual­ity in front of goal that you need.”

This was a contest where early goals proved to be de­ci­sive as the Hat­ters struck within six min­utes of the kick-off to both halves as they pro­duced a con­fi­dent home dis­play. Ed­in­burgh’s side trav­elled in high spir­its after a run that had seen them de­feated just once since the end of Au­gust against a Hat­ters side soundly beaten last time out at More­cambe, but the hosts clearly hadn’t read the script.

They roared out of the blocks, Jonathan Smith forc­ing Jamie Stephens into a fine save as early as the fourth minute.

They took the lead from a fine cor­ner headed home by de­fender Wilkin­son. New­port re­sponded and should’ve lev­elled, Lee Min­shull’s header from a Mark Byrne cor­ner smash­ing the un­der­side of the cross­bar with no goal given de­spite Am­ber protes­ta­tions the ball crossed the line.

New­port didn’t feel sorry for them­selves and Shaun Jef­fers forced Mark Tyler into a ter­rific stop be­fore the in­ter­val.

The hosts started the sec­ond pe­riod in bright fash­ion with Nathan Doyle flash­ing across goal from Andy Drury’s per­fect cen­tre, once again a warn­ing shot New­port didn’t heed.

Lu­ton dou­bled their ad­van­tage within six min­utes of the re-start, Mark Cullen win­ning a header as Stephens raced out look­ing to punch, a fa­tal er­ror from the young stop­per.

He was stranded as the ball pinged around New­port’s penalty area be­fore the calm Rooney slammed home from 12-yards to put the Hat­ters in con­trol at 2-0 with New­port again only able to threaten Tyler’s net with­out find­ing a de­ci­sive fin­ish.

Ed­in­burgh sent for the cavalry and in­tro­duced striker Rene Howe and Adam Chap­man, but the hosts were cool and calm with a 2-0 cush­ion and County were a lit­tle ragged. After Howe and Ze­broski missed chances to re­duce the ar­rears, it was per­haps no sur­prise when sub­sti­tute How­ells made it 3-0 at the death to put the ic­ing on Lu­ton’s cake.

COOL HAND LUKE: Lu­ton’s Luke Wilkin­son cel­e­brates the open­ing goal

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

THREE AND EASY: Jake How­ells scores Lu­ton’s third


Y Lu­ton

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