CULLEN BOOSTS PLUCKY LU­TON

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Sim­monds

LU­TON boss John Still ad­mit­ted he was im­pressed by his side’s re­silience as the ten-man Hat­ters over­came strug­gling Carlisle at Ke­nil­worth Road.

Striker Mark Cullen net­ted the only goal of the en­counter on 36 min­utes, but Hat­ters had to play the fi­nal 24 min­utes with ten men af­ter Luke Wilkin­son was dis­missed.

Still, who saw Nor­wich City mid­fielder Cameron McGee­han un­veiled to sup­port­ers at half-time af­ter join­ing on loan un­til the end of the sea­son, said: “They are a big, big side and got it wide, knocked lots of balls in and by and large we dealt with it well.

“The first half we played re­ally well and had some op­por­tu­ni­ties to score a few more, ob­vi­ously it’s a lit­tle bit more dif­fi­cult when you go down to ten.

“But the re­silience of the team was first class, there were a few scram­bles, but Mark Tyler hasn’t re­ally had to make a save when you con­sider that Wilko was off and Steve McNulty wasn’t play­ing, so I was re­ally pleased.”

Carlisle set up de­fen­sively, and Lu­ton were stymied early on as Mark Cullen’s vol­ley was flicked be­hind by a vis­it­ing de­fender, with Nathan Oduwa’s curl­ing ef­fort straight at keeper Dan Han­ford and then Jay­den Stockley saw his shot charged down.

Han­ford turned be­hind Cullen’s vol­ley from dis­tance although the hosts had a sighter as Char­lie Wyke cre­ated space, only to shank his ef­fort over the bar.

Griffiths had an op­por­tu­nity mid­way through the half, drag­ging wide as the goal opened up for him, shortly be­fore Lu­ton took the lead.

Matt Robin­son’s through ball found Cullen and he took a touch be­fore ri­fling past Han­ford.

In the sec­ond pe­riod, Cullen al­most had his sec­ond, rolling a shot across goal while an­other at­tempt was par­ried by Han­ford, with Robin­son fir­ing over the top.

Town went down to ten when Wilkin­son tripped An­thony Sweeney and had to go, ad­judged to be the last man.

Andy Drury al­most killed the game off with a stunning vol­ley that hit post and bar, with Cullen flagged off­side when turn­ing the re­bound in.

Carlisle threat­ened a late equaliser as David Amoo and Danny Grainger blazed over, and dis­ap­pointed boss Keith Curle said: “The ini­tial im­pres­sion was that we were a lit­tle bit flat. The prepa­ra­tion and plan­ning was good to start the game, we knew what we wanted to do and I think we didn’t get the im­pe­tus that we needed.

“We didn’t get our­selves camped in their half, our balls for­ward, we weren’t hit­ting the right ar­eas with enough qual­ity and got out­ma­noeu­vred slightly in mid­field.

“We tried to be too protective and were not get­ting on the front foot – that was the rea­son for the change at half-time. Over­all, I think we’ve com­peted very well against a very good team. The front two for this di­vi­sion are ex­cel­lent and they’ve got threats in other ar­eas, good game man­age­ment and we’ve played a ca­pa­ble squad.”

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

WIN­NER: Mark Cullen cel­e­brates scor­ing the clincher STAR MAN MARK CULLEN

Lu­ton

SLIDER: Mark Cullen rams home the win­ner for Lu­ton

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