Pre-Season Friendly: Luton Town 1 (0) Leyton Orient 0 (0)
MARQUEE summer signing Jon Shaw opened his Hatters account with a fantastic header to give the Hatters a 1-0 victory over League One Leyton Orient at Kenilworth Road this afternoon, writes Mark Wood.
The 28-year-old striker had only been on the pitch two minutes when he rose highest to glance home a great header for the game’s decisive goal and outline how important the signing of the marksman, who struck 35 times for Gateshead last season, could be for the Hatters this term.
Town proceeded to grind out a workmanlike victory as they completed a promising pre-season campaign ahead of Saturday’s Blue Square Bet opener against Shaw’s old side Gateshead.
Town almost made the perfect start when Stuart Fleetwood’s persistence and skill on the right created a chance for Andre Gray but he could only smash wide with not even two minutes on the clock.
Moses Odubajo and Anthony Griffith threatened before Gray fired another great chance wide from virtually the same place after good work on the right from overlapping full-back Greg Taylor.
Gray was at it again on 11 minutes when Fleetwood slipped him through, but he could only drag his effort across the face of goal.
The game lulled in the heat before Gray continued his one-man assault on the Orient goal when he latched on to a loose ball from a headed clearance but could only fire wide.
Orient finally tested Mark Tyler just after the half-hour mark when he comfortably saved David Mooney’s daisycutter in a game dominated by the referee’s whistle.
Hesitancy in the Luton defence almost cost them with seven minutes of the half left. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner put in a good challenge to end Odubajo’s run in the box, but no-one reacted quickly enough and, with Tyler out of position, the ball was played back to Dean Cox who swept wide.
Cox then warmed Tyler’s midriff from range with a scorching effort before Gray’s mazy run was brought to an end in the box amongst a clutch of players.
And Luton almost grabbed the lead on the stroke of half time when a handball on the edge of the box gave them a free-kick in a great position, but Yaser Kasim’s curler flashed just wide of the right-hand upright.
Shaw came on at the break and made an instant as Town took the lead two minutes into the second half. A brilliant ball was whipped in from the left and Shaw rose above his man to flick home a great header in off the far post.
Another dangerous jinking run by Gray was thwarted by a good tackle while Shaw fired over on the stretch.
Howells slipped Shaw through, but he was crowded out, before ex-Hatter Ryan Brunt picked out Michael Symes with a great cross but his downward header ran wide when he should have hit the target.
The Os went close again when Nathan Clarke’s long throw was allowed to bounce in the box but substitute Jon Ertl could only stroke tamely at Tyler as both teams made a number of substitutions.
Hatters impressed with their work ethic but it was typical pre-season fare with both sides showing plenty of endeavour but lacking a touch of sharpness.
Brunt went close with an acrobatic overhead kick, while substitute Alex Lawless was allowed to cut in at the other end but could only drive into the side netting.
The lively Gray again thrashed wide, while youngster Isaac Galliford was given his first taste of senior action in the closing moments as Town saw out a professional victory.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Greg Taylor (Alex Lawless 76), Janos Kovacs, JJ O’Donnell (Adam Watkins 53), Stuart Fleetwood (Jon Shaw 46), Scott Rendell, Jake Howells (Isaac Galliford 89), Yaser Kasim, Ronnie Henry (C), Andre Gray. Substitutes not used: Matt Robinson, Jake Woolley, Charlie Smith, Dean Beckwith, Dean Brill, Dan Walker.
Os: Ryan Allsop, Gary Sawyer, Scott Cuthbert (Ben Chorley 62), Dean Cox (Marc Laird 87), Anthony Griffith (Ahmed Kashi 46), Michael Symes, Jimmy Smith (Jon Ertl 46), Nathan Clarke (C), Moses Odubajo, Lloyd James (Leon McSweeney 79), David Mooney (Ryan Brunt 61).
Referee: Dean Mohareb.
Assistant Referees: Chris O’Donnell and Alan Young.
Fourth Official: Mark Stevens.
Attendance: 1,607 (Os 111).
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Weather for Luton
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west