This weekend saw Luton Vagrants travel to the local town of Bedford to continue their search for promotion. With several regulars unavailable through injury, a spirited second string eleven players were available to fight for the cause.
This match was exceptionally well umpired as both Bedford based officials were able to keep the game flowing as well as ensuring their decisions remained consistent throughout the whole match. The most notable chance of the opening period fell to Pav Sagoo who managed to strike an impressive reverse shot through the legs of the Bedford keeper only for a minor deflection off the pads denying a certain goal.
With a weakened defensive unit due to the injured Dean Gates and Martyn Dunn, Luton Vagrants knew they would have to deal with several counter attacks by the home side. Most of these attacks were successfully denied throughout the first half with some impressive defensive displays, until Bedford managed to slide in a rebounded effort despite a superb save from Immad Khan. This meant that the home side Bedford held a slender single goal advantage when the match entered the half time period.
When the second half resumed, Luton Vagrants knew they had to wrestle back the initiative from the home side by pressing higher up the pitch in order to create an opportunity to score that all important equaliser. Within the first few minutes of the re-start, a well worked equaliser arrived from Dave Neale after a great assist from Fazeel Talib.
This vital equaliser in the second half seemed to open up the game, as both teams seemed to throw increasing numbers forward in order to win the game. With both defences remaining very resolute and determined not to concede, a second goal for either team was very difficult to convert. The best chance of a winning goal fell to Kevin Abranches, who rolled the last defender to create a one-on-one opportunity, only for the ball to be smothered upon by the advancing Bedford Keeper.
The man of the match was awarded to the entire defence for their impressive defensive displays throughout the whole game, which enabled Luton Vagrants to pick up a well earned point away from home.
Full Time: Luton Vagrants 1 : 1 Bedford
Goal Scorer: Dave Neale
ANOTHER WIN EXTENDS HOME RECORD
This weekend saw the visit of North London opponents Southgate Adelaide who were desperately seeking much needed points as they were currently battling against relegation. Luton Vagrants also welcomed back their Advanced Level 1 Umpire Dave Gunn, who had enjoyed a club scouting visit in Perth and Sydney, while in Australia. After some highlight performances in the past few weeks, the home team started brightly with some early attacks against an Adelaide side notably lacking in confidence.
The opening chance of the game fell into the path of in-form midfielder Ross Edwards who looked certain to score from only four yards out from a narrow angle but his effort agonisingly hit the outside of the post and rolled wide. However, Luton Vagrants did not have to wait long to register a goal on the scoresheet as a solo run into the area by Dave Neale was coolly dispatched with ease.
After opening the scoring, the home team seemed to switch off defensively as a lack of tracking back from midfield, contributed to a short corner equaliser from Southgate. Luton Vagrants were able to restore their advantage with an impressive exchange of passes between Farhad Ali and Ross Edwards which allowed Pav Sagoo the opportunity to slide the ball past the advancing keeper. This meant that the home team held a goal advantage when the first half came to a close.
In the second half, Luton Vagrants knew they had to maintain their stranglehold on the game by ensuring they remained compact in all areas of the pitch. An immediate third goal came just a few minutes into the second half period as Dave Neale was able to peel off the last defender to claim his second goal of the game. With a two goal cushion, Luton Vagrants were able to make a match winning substitution, as they welcomed Dan Edwards onto the left hand side of the pitch.
With Southgate Adelaide resorting to mainly counter attacks going forward, the home side knew a decisive fourth goal would surely be enough to kill off the game. This vital fourth goal came through the clinical finishing of Dan Edwards who finished impressively.
Full Time: Luton Vagrants 4 : 2 Southgate Adelaide
Goal Scorers: Dave Neale (x2), Pav Sagoo, Dan Edwards
LEAGUE LEADERS BEATEN BY LUTON VAGRANTS
This weekend saw the visit of the potent league leaders Hertford, who were yet to be beaten so far this season. With a long list of absentees in the Luton Vagrants squad, this season’s current captain Danny Connor was able to utilise all his resources to create a strong second string eleven. The home team may have been missing some key players but the belief and fighting spirit among this current crop of Luton Vagrant players was there in abundance. This collective team performance came as a shock to the visiting league leaders as both teams were very closely matched in the first half.
However, it was Herford who managed to convert the first goal of the game with a fine finish but these celebrations were cut short as Luton Vagrants were able to create an instant reply to make the scores level. Great persistence and defensive pressure by Pav Sagoo created an opportunity for Kevin Abranches to coolly equalise for the home side. Unfortunately, just before the half time period, a defensive error was ruthlessly seized upon by the Hertford forward line to allow them to score and gain the initial advantage at half-time.
In the second half, Luton Vagrants knew they had to continue their great work ethic throughout the remainder of the game if they had any chance of achieving a credible result against the league leaders. As the second half continued, the home side began to steadily grow in confidence while the Hertford backline on the other hand, were struggling to combat the mounting pressure from a resilient Luton Vagrants side.
This pressure led to a stunning equaliser by Danny Connor who was leading by example as he swivelled on the turn before dispatching the ball past a helpless Hertford keeper. This second goal gave Luton Vagrants the confidence they needed to push on for a well earned victory. Five minutes before the close of the game, a defence splitting through ball allowed Ross Edwards the chance to coolly slot the ball past a despairing keeper to win the game for Luton Vagrants.
Full-Time: Luton Vagrants 3 – 2 Hertford
Goal Scorers: Kevin Abranches, Danny Connor, Ross Edwards
CLEAN SHEET FOR LUTON VAGRANTS
The second half of the season began with a challenging away trip to Ware in Hertfordshire to face a competitive MBDA side. This fixture also saw the surprise return of Grant ‘Tank’ Maxted to the Luton Vagrants first team line-up, who would be a welcome addition to any squad. The match began with both teams looking quite promising with some early counter-attacking chances coming mainly from the wide areas. Luton Vagrants were very unlucky not to be on the score sheet early on in the game, as Immad Khan was denied at point blank range by the MBDA goalkeeper. However, after good interplay by Ross Edwards and James Cartledge, the ball was finally fed into the path of Dave Neale who was able to make a clinical finish.
After the opening half, the game started to become increasingly heated with both teams struggling to hold on to possession as the game became very scrappy. Unfortunately, these events led to the loss of Martyn Dunn who was carried off with a serious injury after he sustained a blow to the ankle. With the second half coming to a close, MBDA attempted to mount some continual pressure on the Luton Vagrants backline but were denied by some resolute defending. This meant that Luton Vagrants were able to record their very first clean sheet of the season which was a great effort.
Final Score: Luton Vagrants 1 : 0 MBDA
Scorers: Dave Neale