Marek is magic for Jones and his Hat­ters

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By Gra­ham Ot­way

JAMES Collins’ su­perbly struck goal in first-half in­jury-time steered Lu­ton into the FA Cup’s sec­ond round and in­flicted a fourth straight de­feat on Portsmouth.

How­ever, while the score­line sug­gested a close en­counter, it did not re­flect 90 min­utes of a clas­sic cup tie that was packed with ex­cit­ing end-to-end ac­tion, with both goal­keep­ers pro­duc­ing out­stand­ing per­for­mances.

Portsmouth’s Luke McGee had no chance of stop­ping Collins’ win­ner as he smashed the ball home from 15 yards af­ter he was set free by Danny Hyl­ton.

And just af­ter the break Lu­ton might have had a sec­ond but McGee at full stretch tipped Luke Berry’s shot onto the cross­bar.

He also man­aged to keep out an­other ef­fort from Collins af­ter he had been put through by a mis­take from de­fender Bran­don Haun­strup.

How­ever, his ef­forts were eclipsed by Lu­ton’s Czech in­ter­na­tional keeper Marek Stech, who was an­nounced as the man of the match to great ac­claim.

His ef­fort was summed up by Lu­ton man­ager Nathan Jones, who said: “Portsmouth had a lot of chances in the sec­ond half but Marek did well when­ever he was called upon.

“We had a lot of won­der­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties as well and it was a re­ally good cup tie for the fans and I am de­lighted that we won it.”

As early as the 20th minute Stech man­aged to fin­ger­tip a pow­er­ful Brett Pit­man shot onto the cross­bar, and af­ter the break as Portsmouth searched for an equaliser he some­how kept out a strong shot from Ben Close.

And while Portsmouth man­ager Kenny Jack­ett was dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult, he too ac­knowl­edged the com­pet­i­tive qual­ity of the game.

“It was an end-to-end game in which both teams had a lot of chances and in which I thought the first goal was al­ways go­ing to be cru­cial,” Jack­ett said.

“I knew it was al­ways go­ing to be a tough tie and un­for­tu­nately we just couldn’t find the cru­cial cut­ting edge. We cre­ated a lot but their goal­keeper was in good form.”

And as Jack­ett tries to end Portsmouth’s los­ing run away at Black­pool next week he knows he will not have two mem­bers of his cup line-up avail­able.

In the 84th minute they were re­duced to ten men when full-back Nathan Thomp­son was sent off af­ter be­ing shown a sec­ond yel­low card, while Stu­art O’Keefe had ear­lier re­ceived his fifth book­ing of the sea­son.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.