Hatters held to a drab draw by Nuneaton

Blue Square Bet Premier
Nuneaton Town 0 Luton Town 0

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 5th March 2013, 9:34 pm

Hatters continued their unbeaten start to the John Still era with a drab goalless draw at Nuneaton Town this evening, writes Mark Wood.

Neither side made any real chances of note as stubborn Luton defended doggedly without looking like breaking the deadlock at the other end.

New signings Jake Goodman and Alex Wall both made promising debuts and, although the Hatters climbed to seventh, they remained 13 points adrift of the Blue Square Bet Premier play-offs.

Goodman, who signed on loan from Millwall on Monday, came into the starting line-up at centre-half for injured defender Janos Kovacs (hamstring) in the only change from Saturday’s side.

Tackles flew in from the off and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s well-timed sliding challenge left Connor Taylor writhing in agony on three minutes with the winger shouting he’d broken his wrist.

Stretchered from the field with his arm contorted as a result he was replaced by former Luton target Adam Walker after five minutes of treatment.

A well-flighted cross found James Armson at the far post on 10 minutes but his header dribbled wide, while another stoppage followed as Goodman suffered a head injury and had to have it bandaged.

Boro finally threatened in the eighth minute of stoppage time when Armson reached the byline and Mark Tyler got a glove to his delicate chip across goal as Louis Moult couldn’t connect with an acrobatic effort.

Neither keeper had a save to make during a meek first half as JJ O’Donnell replaced Arnaud Mendy at the break with Jake Howells moving into the centre of midfield.

Armson again threatened early in the second half as the impressive Steve McNulty cleared behind.

Town improved in the second period and finally had their first effort on 52 minutes when Howells’ opportunistic attempt ran harmlessly wide.

Andre Gray almost burst on to Gareth Dean’s poor back header two minutes later as the Hatters finally began to threaten.

Strikers Wall and Scott Rendell replaced the ineffective Gray and Stuart Fleetwood on 57 minutes as Town looked to force their way into the game.

Aaron Phillips flashed over just past the hour, while Rendell and Wall looked increasingly lively at the other end.

A Ronnie Henry header from a corner looped harmlessly over, while Howells’ low effort on 66 minutes was easy for keeper Lee Burge.

Town finally crafted a decent chance with 11 minutes to go when Henry’s cross found O’Donnell at the far post but his header back across goal flew wide.

Rendell could only flick Lawless’ cross just off target moments later, while Goodman’s defensive header speared over the bar.

Wall’s flick-on from a throw-in injury time found no takers, while Gavin Cowan headed tamely at Tyler as the game petered out into a goalless draw.

Hatters entertain Hereford United this weekend and then host Hyde on Tuesday night.

Boro (4-4-2): Lee Burge, Aaron Phillips, Steve O’Halloran, Gavin Cowan, Gareth Dean (C), Simon Forsdick, Wesley York, James Armson, Andrew Brown, Louis Moult (Daniel Sleath 59), Connor Taylor (Adam Walker 8).

Substitutes not used: Neil Cartwright, Joe Adams, David McNamee.

Hatters (4-4-2): Mark Tyler, Steve McNulty, Alex Lawless, Jake Howells, Stuart Fleetwood (Scott Rendell 57), Arnaud Mendy (JJ O’Donnell 46), Jonathan Smith, Ronnie Henry (C), Andre Gray (Alex Wall 57), Jake Goodman, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.

Substitutes not used: Greg Taylor, Dean Brill.

Referee: John Hopkins.

Assistant Referees: David Ricketts and Bruce Rogers.

Fourth Official: Stuart Pawley.

Attendance: 1,173.

Star Hatter: Steve McNulty. Dominant force at the back for Luton alongside new signing Jake Goodman.