Awful Hatters handed a Hyde-ing at Kenilworth Road

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Luton Town 1 Hyde FC 2

Jake Howells draws Town level against Hyde but Luton went on to lose 2-1. Pic: Joanna Cross.
Jake Howells draws Town level against Hyde but Luton went on to lose 2-1. Pic: Joanna Cross.

Luton’s lowest home league attendance for years saw them whimper to a 2-1 home defeat against relegation-threatened Hyde at Kenilworth Road this evening, writes Mark Wood.

Jake Howells had netted late in the first half to level for the Hatters, but an abject second half performance saw Hyde net the winner from the spot to end a run of six straight defeats.

It was manager John Still’s first defeat since taking charge and he must surely have been alarmed by Town’s dreadful second half display.

Hatters made two changes from the weekend as striker Alex Wall was handed his first start in place of the injured Scott Rendell and JJ O’Donnell came into central midfield as Arnaud Mendy dropped out of the squad entirely.

The visitors had the first shot on eight minutes when Alex Brown’s effort was deflected by Steve McNulty into Mark Tyler grasp, before nice combination play from Wall and Andre Gray saw Town’s top scorer poke wide.

Ex-Luton loan man Matthew Blinkhorn scuffed a good chance before Wall headed at the keeper from Howells’ cross.

Wall and Gray threatened again but the final ball was lacking from the new man before Hyde took the lead with a sumptuous strike on 19 minutes. Good work down the right was helped on by Blinkhorn and Louis Almond curled a fine first-time effort into the top corner.

An opportunistic effort from Gray flashed wide midway through the half before he should have levelled on 28 minutes when he muscled centre-half Luke Ashworth off the ball but blasted wastefully over from a narrow angle.

Jamie Milligan warmed Tyler’s gloves from range after half an hour, while Gray saw a shot blocked and Howells’ low cross was stabbed inches wide by Wall at the far post.

Alex Lawless was forced off after 34 minutes as Dan Walker came on and the Hatters were level three minutes later when Gray’s reverse pass released Howells and, with David Carnell expecting a cross, the Wales U21 international blasted inside his near post.

The second half got off to a timid start but Almond almost shocked Luton again when he pulled just wide.

Weekend hero David Martin replaced Gray just after the hour but it was Almond who again created space and whistled over on 65 minutes.

Hyde deservedly retook the lead on 70 minutes when Milligan sent Tyler the wrong way from the spot after Greg Taylor had fouled Blinkhorn following some extraordinarily sloppy defending.

The struggling Taylor was swiftly replaced by Lathaniel Rowe-Turner as clueless Luton laboured in excruciating fashion. The deathly quiet O’Donnell saw his long-range effort headed behind, Steve McNulty stabbed over and Wall had an effort deflected as Town finally threatened.

But Luton never truly looked like equalising as any remote hopes of reaching the play-offs were finally ended and boos and chants of ‘what a load of rubbish’ sounded at the final whistle.

Hatters (4-4-2): Mark Tyler, Greg Taylor (Lathaniel Rowe-Turner 73), Steve McNulty, Alex Lawless (Dan Walker 34), Jake Howells, JJ O’Donnell, Jonathan Smith, Ronnie Henry (C), Alex Wall, Andre Gray (David Martin 61), Jake Goodman.

Substitutes not used: Matt Robinson, Dean Brill.

Tigers (4-5-1): David Carnell, Josh Brizell, Adam Griffin (C), Luke Ashworth, Alex Brown, Louis Almond, Matthew Blinkhorn, Liam Tomsett, Scott Hogan (Shay McCartan 86), Ben Dennis, Jamie Milligan (Chris Sedgwick 90).

Substitutes not used: Scott Spencer, Tunji Moses, Robbie Williams.

Referee: R Whitton.

Assistant Referees: C Wade and C Pearse.

Fourth Official: P Lavelle.

Attendance: 4,847 (Hyde 19).

Star Hatter: Jake Howells. Notched Town’s only goal and kept going almost single-handedly in the second half.

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