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Match Reports

Luton v. Cheltenham, 13.9.14

13 September 2014

Full-Time: Luton 1, Robins 0

Cheltenham's unbeaten league record was lost at Kenilworth Road this afternoon with Luton winning 1-0.
An early goal from Mark Cullen gave Luton a deserved lead and Cheltenham were unable to find a way back into the game despite efforts from Arthur, Marquis and Sterling-James but Mark Tyler was equal to it every time inbetween the posts.
A first loss of the league campaign for the Robins and disappointment all round but they didn't go down without a fight and that will have pleased the travelling support.
Just one change was made by Mark Yates ahead of this match at Kenilworth Road and it was the introduction of superb sub Koby Arthur in what was his first league start for the club in place of last season's top goalscorer Byron Harrison. There were no other changes for the Robins as they looked to record a first ever league win at the home of Luton Town.
The Hatters themselves were without former Robins loanee Paul Benson and in search of their first league win since the opening day of the season. The performances had been solid but the results hadn't come as John Still would have liked and the home crowd were eager for points.
Luton were so eager in fact that they started this game like a runaway train and had their fans on their feet after just eight minutes.
A long range effort from Luke Wilkinson in the irst five minutes should have served as a warning but the Robins continued to live dangerously as Matt Taylor and Steve Elliott both made important interceptions with the latter coming off the line.
It was only a matter of time however and a corner for the hosts found the head of Mark Cullen who saw his glancing header sweep past Carson into the bottom corner for the lead.
Still Luton pressed and their tails were well and truly up as they smelt blood. An Alex Lacey header flew over the bar from another corner and Cheltenham were in real need of some composure.
Cheltenham's first sniff of goal came on 18 minutes when Jordan Wynter's cross found the boot of John Marquis but his shot was well blocked by the sizeable McNulty.
The Robins were growing as the game went on and there were moments of hope for the travelling fans but they were soon reminded of Luton's threats on the half hour mark when Guttrudge drove one just wide of Carson's post.
Joe Hanks had been Cheltenham's main goal threat in the first half and it was a snap shot of his on the edge of the area that almost levelled the scores but for a vital deflection pulling it wide.
The young midfielder saw a freekick fly inches wide of the target soon after and down the other end Luke Guttridge had a similar effort thunder over the bar.
A feisty half of football came to a close with both Taylors and Brown on a yellow card each and the Robins having to dust themselves off from an enthralling scrap.
Steve Elliott was replaced at half time by Byron Harrison as Mark Yates looked to turn the tables with a 4-3-3 formation and it seemed to work in the early stages.
The striker himself dragged a shot wide early on following a Wynter cross and Koby Arthur floated a shot wide of the far post shortly after.
Despite that bright start the Robins almost found themselves further behind after Luton substitute Stevenson bundled the ball over the line in a mass of bodies but the linesman and referee ruled the goal out for an apparent offside much to the frustration of the home crowd.
The introduction of Sterling-James for Hanks just past the hour mark indicated a change of pace for this match and substitute was almost involved in some great play early. His ball to Arthur produced a fine cross which was hammered clear by McNulty and then Jason Taylor's driven shot minutes later was well saved by Tyler.
A Koby Arthur effort struck the side netting shortly ahead of the 70th minute but it was Omari Sterling-James who had a golden chance to equalise soon after. Richards' perfect cross ball found the midfielder inside the area with just the goalkeeper to beat but his effort was struck into the glove of a thankful Tyler.
The substitutions had certainly lifted the Robins but they were struggling to make a meaningful impact on the their target and Arthur was pulling his shots wide frustratingly as the minutes ticked by.
Luton still had their threats on goal and normally on the counter attack with Cheltenham pushing forward but Matt Taylor was on hand to make an important interception when Ruddock was through on goal.
John Marquis saw a fantastic freekick well saved by the impressive Tyler with five minutes to run until the 90th and Arthur also tested the goalkeeper deep into injury time but Luton's man of the match had done his work as the Hatters held out with their slender lead backed by the noise of their support.
For the Robins it a was a tough defeat that ended a fantastic run of form but Mark Yates would remain positive with his Robins at least showing fight in defeat.

LUTON TOWN (3-5-2): Tyler (GK); Lacey (Stevenson 55), McNulty (c), Wilkinson; Williams (Drury 78), Smith, Guttridge (Howells 71), Ruddock, Griffiths; Lafayette, Cullen

SUBS NOT USED: Justham (GK), Wall, Rooney, Walker

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Carson (GK); Brown, M Taylor (c), Elliott (Harrison 46); Wynter (Gornell 90+3), J Taylor, Richards, Hanks (Sterling-James 63), Braham-Barrett; Arthur, Marquis

SUBS NOT USED: Reynolds (GK), Black, Deaman, Haworth

REFEREE: Andy D'Urso

ATTENDANCE: 7,793 (221 from Cheltenham)

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