BEDFORD TOWN 1 LUTON TOWN 0
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Gareth Price jumped on to a Dean Beckwith defensive error to give Bedfordshire neighbours Bedford Town victory with the only goal of the game which came just after the start of the second half.
Beckwith was caught far too leisurely in defence allowing Price to cut in and finish superbly past Mark Tyler against the run of play.
But Luton dominated the majority of the game and had Bedford keeper Ian Brown not pulled off the number a quality saves that he did, the Hatters would have earned a draw at the very least.
The friendly did however show a promising left wing partnership developing throughout the first half between Jake Howells and Robbie Willmott, with Howells overlapping the former Cambridge United winger on a number of occasions to offer an additional threat going forward.
But in attack, the Hatters are missing a clinical forward who can be merciless in front of goal.
Matthew Barnes-Homer and Drewe Broughton came on for the second half and created a few opportunities but neither of them were able to make any count, mainly due to the fact that Brown was in such inspired form.
Luton only took four minutes to test Brown after Robbie Willmott’s low, pacey cross was tapped into the path of Keith Keane by James Dance but the midfielder couldn’t keep his powerful drive down as it sailed over the bar.
Bedford were struggling to break down the Hatters defence but when they were gifted a corner just after ten minutes, Wes Lewis nipped in front of his marker to test Mark Tyler at his near post, but the goalkeeper comfortably gathered.
Luton continued to have plenty of joy down the left-hand-side with Jakes Howells and Robbie Willmott overlapping and it was Howells’ cross that set Keane up for his next long range effort which marginally wide.
The partnership of Howells and Willmott was at the heart of Luton’s next attack with an exchange of passes freeing up Howells to whip a cross in for Aaron O’Connor but the former Rushden & Diamond forward couldn’t get his header on target.
Bedford were finding it difficult to attack on the break with Howells and Dean Beckwith breaking up a number of faint-hearted attacks with ease.
And Luton will feel they should have been in front just after the half hour but Howells is cross fell just behind McKenzie who waiting primed to tap in.
Gary Brabin must have told Keane to get forward and shoot on a more frequent basis. Last season, the midfielder failed to score but looked the most likely player to grab a goal in the opening half with a number of opportunities just drifting wide of Brown’s goal.
Bedford had a couple of late chances to take a half time lead. Josh Beech fired a wild long-range effort wide before James Faulkner jinked past Will Antwi to call Tyler into a difficult save.
Luton got the second half underway in worst possible way. Beckwith spent too long dawdling on the ball allowing Price to bounce and casually slot the ball past an outrushing Tyler to give the Eagles a surprise lead.
Matthew Barnes-Homer came close to bringing the Hatters back on level terms but his turn-and-shot required a fine diving save from Brown.
But Price was buzzing with confidence following his goal and came close to second shortly before the hour. The midfielder cut inside his marker on the edge off the box and offloaded a curling effort that deflected off a Luton defender, wrong-footed Tyler and bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Drewe Broughton came close to adding to his two goals already scored in pre-season after a beautifully weighted pass from Alex Lawless found the trialist in plenty of space, but the striker’s effort was straight down the throat of Brown.
And with 15 minutes left on the clock the keep did well to keep Broughton again, adjusting well to correct his dive as the striker attempted to turn in Barnes-Homer’s cross. Adam Watkins then saw his low drive brilliantly kept out by Brown after his twisting run.
Bedford Town: Brown, Clark (Cooper, 68), Lincoln (Ducket, 72), Ekins, Hoyte, Beech (Damon, 79), Price (Velo, 79), Cole (Cavill, 61), Faulkner (Hall, 76), Lewis (Richardson, 45), Ivy, (Garricks, 66)
Unused subs: LincolnSimpson, Kavanagh
Luton Town: Tyler, Osano, Howells, Keane (Watkins, 61), Beckwith, Antwi (Asafu-Adjaye, 45), Lawless, Dance (Morgan-Smith, 45), McKenzie (Broughton, 61), O’Connor (Barnes-Homer, 45), Willmott (Crow, 45)
Referee: Mr G.Muge