Hatters battle their way to stalemate at Lincoln

Dan Potts goes close for Luton at Lincoln this afternoon
Dan Potts goes close for Luton at Lincoln this afternoon

League Two: Lincoln City 0 Luton Town 0.

Luton Town battled and scrapped their way to a hugely acceptable point in their goalless draw at Lincoln City this afternoon.

Heading to a side that were still clearly experiencing the feelgood factor from their promotion back to the Football League, with over 9,000 supporters creating a raucous atmosphere, Town stood their ground throughout, against an Imps outfit protecting a 25 match unbeaten record on home soil, stretching back to September 2016.

They had to as well, repelling an aerial bombardment for almost all of the 90 minutes, with home keeper Paul Farman's monster kick a serious weapon, forcing Town to defend their box at every single opportunity, no matter where the free kick was conceded.

But defend they did, the back three of Glen Rea, Scott Cuthbert and Alan Sheehan, keeping giant forward Matt Rhead under wraps, limiting keeper Marek Stech to very little serious work on the day.

Boss Nathan Jones opted to make two changes to his side from the 2-2 draw at Mansfield last weekend, Rea and Luke Berry coming in for Olly Lee and Andrew Shinnie.

Town made a promising start, looking to ensure there was no repeat from their first half showing at the Stags last week, Danny Hylton twisting inside and out in the area, his shot deflecting into the grasp of Paul Farman with Berry sniffing around.

Dan Potts then went close from Alan McCormack's floated corner, seeing a header cleared away from the line, while on 15 minutes, Berry put Potts away on the left and his cross was diverted narrowly wide by Hylton.

Luton kept up their attacking threat as Potts sprinted past his man on the left, delivering a cross that was chested down Hylton, the striker sending his half volley straight at the grateful Farman.

Town were dealt a blow on the half hour as James Collins, who had taken a knock to his hip, couldn't continue and was replaced by Harry Cornick.

The hosts then went seriously close to an opener, with Billy Knott advancing forward, before unleashing a left footer that whizzed inches wide.

Having weathered the early pressure, Lincoln began to enjoy the better territory and possession, although their main threats remained set-pieces.

One high, hanging free kick saw Stech come miles off his line, and after getting half a punch, Hylton had to be on hand to head the returned lob away from danger.

Town were a whisker away from taking the lead on the stroke of half time, as Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu powered into the area and after a handful of stepovers, thundered a blast that didn't miss by much.

After the break, Stech was almost caught from a high cross, dropping the ball in the danger area, but was helped out by his back-line, while the Town keeper was then alert to claw away Nathan Arnold's low delivery before the forwards could pounce.

Town were gifted a chance as Cornick charged down a clearance, the ball rebounding to Hylton, but after eventually rounding Farman, his cross was was just about booted to safety after some real panic stations.

Cornick then continued his impressive performance from the bench, spinning 360 degrees and sending Hylton away on the left, his shot charged down for a corner.

Knott tried his luck again from range, his effort flying behind, before on 73 minutes, Luton were indebted to Stech for keeping the scores goalless.

Firstly, he reacted well to save after Potts had made an excellent block challenge on Arnold, the keeper and post coming to Town's rescue.

Then from the resulting corner, he got two strong hands to Luke Waterfall's header to push behind, Arnold sending another effort waywardly off target.

Late on, sub Jordan Cook cynically chopped down Arnold as Lincoln had a three on one break, earning a yellow that could quite easily have been red, but Town battened down the hatches in stoppage time, to set themselves up nicely for back to back home games next week.

Imps: Paul Farman, Sean Long, Luke Waterfall, Matt Rhead (Harry Anderson 69), Matt Green (Ollie Palmer 79), Billy Knott (Elliot Whitehouse 87), Michael Bostwick, Neal Eardley, Sean Raggett, Nathan Arnold, Alex Woodyard.

Subs not used: Sam Habergham, Jordan Maguire-Drew, Rob Dickie, Josh Vickers.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Scott Cuthbert, Alan Sheehan, Glen Rea, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Alan McCormack (Jordan Cook 67), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Berry, Danny Hylton, James Collins (Harry Cornick 27).

Subs: James Shea, Johnny Mullins, Olly Lee, Andrew Shinnie, Elliot Lee.

Booked: Cook 89.

Referee: Tom Nield.

Attendance: 9,332 (1,268 Luton).

Hatters MOM: Scott Cuthbert. Defended manfully throughout.