The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.
A decent performance, where we generally had the best of the game without necessarily promising to score too often. Two changes with Ricketts coming in for Healy, I assume to give some extra physical presence upfront and Bennett replacing the injured Sullivan.
We started fairly well, Bakke and Derry were lively in midfield, and we managed to work a few decent positions, though generally the crosses flew across the box without anyone managing to get on the end of them. One twisting run from Blake produced a blocked shot and another near post header flashed wide.
Luton were generally tidy but with a big bloke and an ineffectual Warren Feeney upfront they didn't really have the pace to threaten Butler and Gregan over much, though there was still a worrying trend of backing off at times allowing their midfielders to run at our defence. Despite looking comfortable, we nearly gave away a self-inflicted goal, Kelly's dawdled over a clearance that was blocked and the ball was pulled back from the byeline and bundled against the post and then out of play by the onrushing striker.
Our clearest chance of the game came towards the end of the half, nice play by Derry and Blake said up Ricketts running onto the ball left hand side of the area with just the keeper to beat. He sidefooted it comfidently wide of the post. Should have at least worked the keeper, probably should have scored.
We'd generally shaded the half but didn't have much to show for it. Second half started in much the same way but we seemed to lose momentum after about 60 minutes and were put under a fair bit of pressure for a while, which seemed to stem from a tiring Bakke in midfield. The ball bobbed around our box a fair bit but we seemed to win most of the important headers at the back.
Derry, Lewis and Blake played some decent football around the area, without quite unlocking the Luton defence, but at least they were trying something different. Blackwell then swapped Blake for Healy, who promptly hit the roof of the stand after cutting inside and trying to curl one into the far corner. To huge cheers, Richardson replaced the anonymous Wright, and this helped to give us a bit more impetus. Finally Glyfi came on for an injured Ricketts with an knackered Bakke being shoved upfront.
Either team could have won it at the end, Luton brought on a giant upfront and Lewis peppered the Luton area with a few more crosses but no-one really looked like getting on the end of one and a draw was probably fair enough in the end.
Bennett 7 - A couple of decent saves 2nd half, tipping a free-kick over and smothering a low shot. A competent deputy.
Kelly 6 - A lively first half performance getting up and down the flank undermined by one big cock-up. Quieter in the second.
Harding 5 - Pretty disappointing, got away with major mistake first half when his attempted clearance out of play dropped in our area but no Luton player nearby. Distribution was erratic, underhit clearances or random hoofs. Also got booked for clumsy tackle.
Gregan 7 - Generally looked pretty solid though no real pace running at him
Butler 6 - Backed off when he should have challenged a couple of times but not really turned too often.
Wright 4 - Waste of space, never really threatens any danger from outwide. Content do play the easy pass rather than trying to make something hapy which makes it easy to mark.
Derry 8 - Probably just pips Lewis for the man of the match, broke up play well and always looking to get forward. Came into game more and more as Bakke faded.
Bakke 6.5 - Good first half, his height and strength making him an asset when helping out the defence and enabling him to ride tackles when going forward, but disappeared second half and looked knackered upfront towards the end.
Lewis 7.5 - Like the look of him, wants the ball and happy to take players on and get crosses in , though no-one really attacked them. Best corner taker we've had for some time.
Blake 6.5 - Obviously a clever player but looked a bit lightweight and fell over quite a bit (and easily), always looking for a nice little one-two around the box though sometimes you'd like him to just whack it.
Ricketts 6 - Tried hard and did the holding up and laying off relatively well but was a bit lost when given space. Still lacking the confidence to really make his physical presence count.
Healy / Einnarsson / Richardson - All 6 - None of them really influenced the game overmuch.
Some positive signs, with some glimpses of decent football emerging. Hopefully the return of Hulse will give us the cutting edge we were missing today.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 15/08/2005.
It's early doors. It's a long season. And it's a marathon, not a sprint. All the cliches in the world cannot obscure the fact that newly promoted Luton, sitting proudly atop the nascent Championship table, have the wherewithal to stay put in the upper reaches all season.
Mike Newell has quietly put together a purposeful side and people are beginning to notice. His Hatters keep it simple: solid at the back, well balanced in midfield, busy up front (this was the first time they had failed to score for 22 league games). And when they get the push-and-run moves flowing they are very easy on the eye.
Luton's star turn is Curtis Davies, who had another stormer here. The 6ft 2in 20-year-old central defender lost a total of one aerial challenge all afternoon and even then mopped up the second-phase ball with a timely interception. Comparisons have been made to Rio Ferdinand - slightly unfair because young Davies does not possess the air of the perpetually confused - and they are beginning to worry his manager.