Hatters held once more at Newport

League Two: Newport County 1 Luton Town 1

Saturday, 17th March 2018, 5:55 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th March 2018, 6:00 pm
Harry Cornick tries to break away against Newport County

Luton's winless run was stretched to five games after they were held to their fourth draw in five games at Newport County this afternoon.

Since demolishing Crawley Town at Kenilworth Road back in February, the Hatters, although hard to beat, have definitely stuttered in their quest for promotion, taking just four points from a possible 15.

And while a point in Wales is never to be sniffed at, with Town not having won at the Exiles since 2011, victories for Accrington and Wycombe means Town are now three points adrift of the summit, five ahead of Notts County and the Chairboys in third and fourth, Wanderers having a game in hand.

Boss Nathan Jones made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Coventry, Luke Gambin making for his first league start since the home game against the Exiles back in September, while Elliot Lee came in, Harry Cornick and Flynn Downes missing out, Alan McCormack named on the bench for the first time in six months.

As they had done on Tuesday night, the Hatters disappointingly fell behind early on, as this time it took County just two minutes to score.

Usually a Collins shot with Sheehan sweeping up the rebound would have been met with cheers by the 589 visiting fans, but this time with it being Aaron and Josh, it was head in the hands stuff.

First, impressive home winger Aaron Collins beat Jack Stacey on the right with ease and although Marek Stech, who had kept his place ahead of James Shea, saved well, Josh Sheehan was first to the loose ball, beating Luton's dithering defenders to tuck into the empty net.

Townwent close to a leveller when Lee's shot took a wicked deflection, as Hylton nipped in but couldn't get a touch, keeper Joe Day reacting sharply to palm behind.

From the corner, Dan Potts rose highest and when the ball came back to him, saw his effort blocked by Dan Butler, with Gambin blazing over.

On 15 minutes, Luton were indebted to what appeared a magnificent save from Stech to keep them in it as Aaron Collins set off on the left, beating Luke Berry for pace and his cross picked out Robbie Willmott.

The ex-Town winger's downward header looked in, only for Stech to get a crucial touch and turn it on to the post, Luton just managing to clear away.

Hatters kept up the pressure at the other end in an open and entertaining contest, Gambin almost walking the ball in after some incisive passing, while yet another corner saw Cuthbert thump a header over.

Town were level on 25 minutes though when from their sixth corner of the first half, Sheehan's exquisite delivery was perfect for Dan Potts to power home a seventh of the season.

Luton almost had the lead seconds later too, James Collins breaking away on the left, turning inside Butler seeing his low shot brilliantly turned behind by Day.

With 37 gone, Hatters' Collins was inches away once more as picked out by Stacey's long ball, he shifted it on to his right foot and in attempting to pick out the top corner, saw his effort cannon against the bar.

Hopes were high that Luton could go on and pick up what would have been an excellent three points in the second period, but it never materialised as the game degenerated into a poor and ultimately scrappy affair.

Mickey Demetriou put his header over the top from Willmott's cross, while set-pieces looked the order of the day for the visitors, Sheehan's corner nodded wide by Hylton.

The Hatters then came under some pressure with Newport enjoying the better of the territory, both Cuthbert and Stacey making crucial blocks, while the unusually out of sorts Hylton hammering a half chance way over.

Stech showed smart handling to deny County sub Frank Nouble, while McCormack was introduced in the final moments and from his drilled cross, Cornick spun to hammer goalwards, his effort flying wide as both teams had to make do with a point.

Exiles: Joe Day, Dan Butler, Ben White, Robbie Willmott, Matty Dolan, Padraig Amond (Shawn McCoulsky ), Ben Tozer, Mark O'Brien (C), Mickey Demetriou, Josh Sheehan (Frank Nouble 70), Aaron Collins.

Subs not used: James Bittner, David Pipe, Marlon Jackson, Scot Bennett, Tyler Reid.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Alan Sheehan (C), Glen Rea, Luke Berry, Luke Gambin (Alan McCormack 89), Elliot Lee, (Harry Cornick 68) James Collins, Danny Hylton (Jake Jervis 84).

Subs not used: James Shea, James Justin, Johnny Mullins, Olly Lee.

Referee: Craig Hicks.

Booked: Nolan 78, O'Brien 89

Attendance: 3,512 (589 Luton).