Stalemate as Hatters make their point at York

Mark Cullen

Mark Cullen

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Luton Town were held to an entertaining stalemate in their League Two clash at York City last night.

Try as they might, the Hatters just couldn’t force a winner with sub Luke Rooney denied superbly by keeper Michael Ingham as they made it six trips to Bootham Crescent without a goal.

Town didn’t have it all their own way though, as Mark Tyler produced one marvellous low save from Russell Penn late on. Hatters boss John Still made two changes with skipper Steve McNulty missing out as his partner was in labour, while Ross Lafayette was left out.

In came Andy Drury and Jake Howells, as Luton switched back to a 4-4-2 formation, with Curtley Williams at right back.

The visitors had early shouts for a penalty against John McCombe with both Mark Cullen and Luke Guttridge appealing vociferously, but nothing was given.

York didn’t send anything meaningful at Town’s goal early on, before Tyler needed two attempts to cling on to Femi Ilesanmi’s speculative blast.

Luton should have been ahead on 20 minutes when from a corner, the ball was played back in and an unmarked Alex Lacey headed against the outside of the post.

Hatters created another superb chance as Cullen sprung the offside trap racing on to Luke Guttridge’s pass, but bearing down on Ingham, saw his effort deflected behind. York winger Lindon Meikle was enjoying some success against an uneasy Williams and after beating him, forced Tyler to parry behind.

The remainder of the half saw Luton trying to break on the counter whenever possible as Ruddock Mpanzu couldn’t quite beat Ilesanmi, while Cullen was denied by a last-ditch challenge from Marvin McCoy.

With the interval approaching, Tyler kept the scores goalless, blocking well from Platt’s low drive.

In the second period, Howells had to be replaced by Rooney after picking up a knock as Luton looked like they would finally end their Minstermen hoodoo.

First, Ruddock Mpanzu steamed away after a lovely interchange with Guttridge only to see his low shot parried by Ingham, the rebound just out of Cullen’s reach.

Then Rooney tested the York stopper low down, as Still made his second change, replacing the all-action Jonathan Smith with Jim Stevenson.

Out of nothing though, York upped their tempo as Tyler repelled Penn’s low drive superbly and Lacey cleared the rebound.

Hatters looked to have weathered the storm and countered with almost devastating effect, Ingham brilliantly flipping over Rooney’s shot.

The York keeper then blocked well from Cullen, with the hosts having chances of their own, Town’s defence standing off Ilesanmi who charged forward and stabbed over.

With time running out, Hatters almost won it as Rooney danced his way through the defence only to be foiled by his nemesis Ingham once more.

Luton are back on the road on Saturday when they travel to Cambridge United.

Minstermen: Michael Ingham, Marvin McCoy, Femi Ilesanmi, John McCombe, Michael Coulson, Luke Summerfield, Wes Fletcher (Ryan Jarvis 86), Russell Penn (C), Keith Lowe, Tom Platt (Anthony Straker 63), Lindon Meikle (Jake Hyde 80).

Subs not used: Jason Mooney, Lewis Montrose, Dave Winfield, Ben Hirst.

Hatters: Mark Tyler, Curtley Williams, Scott Griffiths, Alex Lacey, Luke Wilkinson, Andy Drury, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Jonathan Smith (Jim Stevenson 62), Luke Guttridge, Jake Howells (Luke Rooney 52), Mark Cullen (Ross Lafayette 82).

Subs not used: Alex Wall, Elliot Justham, Shaun Whalley, Paul Connolly.

Referee: Mark Brown.

Attendance: 3,649 (445 from Luton).

Hatters MOM: Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, all-action display from the midfielder who was here, there and everywhere