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Archived News from December 2014

4th December 2014 20:16

Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Luton Town 3 - 0 Mansfield Town
Benson 19, Whalley 59, 63.
Attendance: 8418 (294 from Mansfield)

Date: 29 November 2014

Martin Shaw at Kenilworth Road

Luton Town picked up their 7th consecutive home win with a comfortable 3-0 win over Mansfield at Kenilworth Road this afternoon. The simple truth is that Luton were better than Mansfield in all areas. Luton created all the running in the first half and were deservedly in front at the break thanks to the softest goal of the season as Paul Benson’s soft shot trickled in after the Stags failed to clear. The Stags only had one half-chance in the first half with Rob Taylor’s shot blocked. The Stags were playing the ball around in the wrong areas, and often creating trouble for themselves at the back, whilst barely getting the ball in the final third at all. New loan signing Junior Brown was brought on at half time and Mansfield had their best spell of the game in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, creating chances and putting Luton under pressure. But a moment of bad luck coupled with poor goalkeeping changed the game as Luton made it 2-0 on 59 minutes. Studer cleared the ball from his area straight to Shaun Whalley, 35 yards from goal with no Stags player near him, Whalley took on Beevers down the right and went past him too easily before firing in a cross which sailed over Studer and into the top left corner of the net. Studer didn’t move as it just went straight above his head. It was such a shame as the Stags had been on top. And it was 3-0 4 minutes later, this time with a brilliant goal from Whalley who again went past Beevers like he wasn’t there, cut inside on to his left foot, and fired a brilliant low shot just inside the left post, giving Studer no chance. No disgrace losing to Luton, who were very good indeed, and up there with Shrewsbury as the best team I’ve seen this season, but Mansfield didn’t help themselves with poor play for the first two goals. The Stags are seven points above the relegation zone and nine points behind the play-offs.

It was Adam Murray’s third game as caretaker manager. It may be his last. If it is, he’s given it an impressive go in my opinion. John Radford said on Thursday that he would be interviewing candidates for the manager position this coming week and hoped to make an appointment by Thursday. At this stage, Murray has not thrown his hat into the ring. The dilemma for Murray is that he wants to carry on playing but has said that he doesn’t think he can fulfil the role of player-manager, so if he was to go for the manager role, he would need to give up playing, at a time when he clearly still has more to give as a player, and you are a long time retired as a player. A further dilemma is that if a new manager is appointed this week, he might not fancy Murray as a player or as an assistant, so Murray might find himself out of the club at the end of his current contract. Murray said that he will take the next 24-48 hours to decide what he wants to do.



Saturday, 29th November 2014: Luton Town 3, Mansfield Town 0
chad.co.uk report by John Lomas

Mansfield Town were outplayed and outclassed in a 3-0 defeat at title favourites and old rivals Luton Town at Kenilworth Road today.


Stags barely had a sniff in a first half in which Luton still only led 1-0 through Paul Benson’s 19th minute goal, though Keiron Freeman did have to clear off the line.

Stags came back out and gave it a real go for 15 minutes, Vadaine Oliver only just too high with an overhead kick.

But classy Luton slammed up the gears and sealed it with two goals in four minutes by home man of the match Shaun Whalley, who gave Lee Beevers a torrid afternoon, on 59 minutes and 63 minutes.

It could have been more as Mark Collen headed against the bar and Jonathan Smith saw an effort deflect onto a post as Stags defended desperately with Ryan Tafazolli a real rock.

It was a first defeat for Adam Murray after two wins this week in what is likely to have been his final game as caretaker manager with chairman John Radford hoping to make an appointment by Thursday.

New loanee Junior Brown showed some good speed and skill in the second half.

But Luton, chalking up their seventh straight home League victory, looked every inch the machine ex-Hatter Murray had warned they were and seem destined for greater things.

For Stags now an appointment and some stability is needed ahead of next weekend’s FA Cup trip to Cambridge.

Loanees Vadaine Oliver and Keiron Freeman were restored to the line-up. The pair had missed out on the FA Cup tie at Concord Rangers in midweek as their parent clubs wanted to avoid them becoming cup-tied.

That meant caretaker manager Adam Murray put out the side that beat Plymouth 1-0 in his first match in charge last weekend.

Murray resisted the temptation to name himself on the bench against his old club.

But there was a place on the bench for new loanee Brown, who arrived from Oxford United on Thursday night.

Ollie Palmer, the midweek matchwinner at Concord, was also relegated back to the bench along with Liam Marsden.

A loose pass from Riley offered Luton possession in the game’s first threat of a frantic start, Drury’s run into the box going nowhere.

Taylor’s burst into the home box saw Franks across to dispossessed him before he could cross.

Freeman then did well to make space for a cross from the right which flew just too high for Oliver to meet.

Riley did well to get between Drury and the ball and pass back to Studer as Luton threatened again.

Studer then had to get down well to his right to parry Doyle’s 35-yard blast on 11 minutes, Tafazoli heading the corner clear.

Freeman was happy to see the yellow card stay in the referee’s pocket after taking both Benson’s legs as he went past him. Drury floated the free kick to the far post where Benson headed over.

On 17 minutes Whalley went down in the box, claiming he had been fouled by Beevers. But the referee gave him a yellow card for a dive instead of the penalty he was screaming for.

However, the Hatters were much happier two minutes later as they grabbed the lead.

It was a soft goal in the end after Stags looked to hve survived the best Luton chance.

Cullen got down the right and put in a cross to the near post where Benson’s flick was blocked by Studer.

Benson battled well to regain the ball and, with defenders behind him, he turned and somehow squeezed a soft low shot through everyone and just inside the post from 15 yards.

A superb long cross from the right by Doyle almost found Cullen right in front of goal on 24 minutes, Freeman in superbly with a last ditch challenge to nick the ball out for a corner.

Stags needed to hang on at this point as Luton had gone up a gear and a second goal would be game over.

Studer was caught by a challenge by Cullen as he tried to gather the ball, but the home fans did not appreciate his theatrical rolling around afterwards.

Then we had a real injury on 27 minutes as scorer Benson went down and waved to the bench with a likely muscle pull and his afternoon was over, though his impact had been significant.

He was stretchered off and replaced by Howells with 29 minutes on the watch.

A Stags attack on 35 minutes ended with a Taylor snapshot striking Franks.

Then another mistake from Riley saw his loose clearance reach Drury just inside the box and he skilfully turned and curled a great effort just over the angle.

Then Tafazolli had to get in the way of a Doyle shot after a superb hanging crossfield pass by Drury.

On 38 minutes, from a corner, Franks’ header was on target and it took a Freeman goal line clearance to keep his effort out.

A Franks header forward from 45 yards was so powerful that it went over everyone and bounced just in front of Studer and forced the keeper to stretch high to prevent a freak goal.

But the sides went in with Luton a goal up and looking good.

Brown replaced Taylor for the second half and immediately won a free kick.

Clements sent it in to the far post where Tafazolli nodded it back over and Oliver was only just too high with a spectacular overhead effort - Stags’ first real goal attempt with 47 minutes played.

However, on 49 minutes it was almost 2-0 as Cullen rose to guide a Harriman cross back over Studer and against the crossbar.

Brown was causing immediate problems and a good run between two defenders saw him get in a low cross that was blocked.

But Stags forced their first two corners of the day. The second of those on 52 minutes was floated to the far post by Clements where Riley directed his header straight at Tyler.

On 57 minutes Lambe found Brown on the left of the box and the new boy warmed Tyler’s hands with a vicious low shot.

However, Stags’ fine start to the second half received a kick in the teeth on 59 minutes as Luton doubled their lead with an element of luck.

Whalley got himself into a decent position tight on the right and whipped in what looked to be a cross only to see it loop over Studer and under the far angle.

Bell replaced Sendles-White on 61 minutes as Stags went in search of a goal.

But, with the home fans in full cry, Whalley found the net again just four minutes later, this time definitely meaning it.

In full flight on the right, he cut inside and, from the edge of the box, threaded a firm, low left-footed finish just inside the left post and the points were in the bag.

Stags almost pulled one back on 67 minutes as Lambe sent Brown to the by-line and his deep cross was met with a bundled volley by Clements that took a deflection for a corner.

Beevers was booked on 68 minutes for bringing down dangerman.

Oliver was struggling for Stags after hurting his ankle in trying not to run into advertising hoardings chasing the ball. But he was able to continue after eventual treatment.

A long Drury free kick saw Griffiths get his diving header on target at Studer as we reached the 70-minute mark.

Heslop wasn’t far off with a dipping 30-yard shot a minute later against his former club.

Then Tyler confidently clung onto a low Lambe cross with Oliver lurking.

With 15 minutes to go, Rhead replaced Lambe in the Stags attack.

The Hatters then forced four successive corners which the visitors survived.

After more good approach play from Whalley on 81 minutes, Smith saw his shot deflect against a post and out for another corner as Luton remained on the front foot.

A minute later Helsop drilled a low hopeful ball into the box that went harmlessly wide with no one able to get a touch on it to test Tyler.

An offside flag halted Oliver’s run on 88 minutes, the ball ending up in the net anyway to jeers from the home fans.

The four added minutes were simply routine as Luton went on a lap of honour to celebrate a largely one-sided victory.

LUTON: Tyler, Franks, Smith, McNulty, Drury, Benson (Howells 29), Griffiths, Cullen (Walker 82), Whalley (Justham 86), Harriman, Doyle. Subs not used: Lacey, Rooney, Mpanzu, Miller.

STAGS: Studer; Beevers, Riley, Tafazolli, Freeman; Clements, Sendles-White (Bell 61), Heslop; Lambe (Rhead 75), Oliver, Taylor (Brown HT). Subs not used: Bingham, Palmer, Marsden, Evtimov.

REFEREE: Gavin Ward of Surrey.

ATTENDANCE: 8,418 (294 away).



Match report: Luton Town 3 Mansfield Town 0 - Shaun Whalley shines to shoot down Stags
By Bedfordshire On Sunday, By James Cunliffe


“BEST team in the league by a million miles” - that’s what the folks at Burton Albion told Mansfield caretaker boss Adam Murray about Luton.

Read more: http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/Match-report-Luton-Town-3-Mansfield-Town-0-Shaun/story-24897955-detail/story.html?#ixzz3KVHYlMVX

The Brewers had come to that conclusion despite ending Town’s 11-game unbeaten run in League Two last week, but Shaun Whalley ensured that the Stags’ stand-in - a former Hatter - found that out the hard way.

The winger had sparkled on his return to the Luton first-team at the Pirelli Stadium seven days ago and he repeated the trick for the home faithful - this time with a brilliant four-minute second half brace.

That accompanied an effusive attacking style where he’d slalomed the Stags’ full-backs into a state of dizziness that will see them wake up with headaches like they’d spent a night on the pop.

You’d forgive them if they had as there are few methods available that will enable Lee Beevers and Kieron Freeman to forget Whalley and this trip to Bedfordshire in a hurry.

“I’ve known him for a long time and I know what he’s capable of,” manager John Still said of Whalley, adding: “For whatever reason it didn’t work for him last year, but the last few months he’s really pushed on.

“He’s been razor sharp in training, razor sharp in development games and he’s deserved his opportunity and I think he took it.

“I think he excites people, so I was really pleased with that.”

Paul Benson had bagged his first league goal - a scuffed, super slow-motion trickler - to get Luton up and running, but his afternoon was then memorable for all the wrong reasons as he departed the pitch before the half hour mark on a stretcher and with a heavily strapped ankle.

There were three Luton changes with Fraser Franks, Andy Drury and top scorer Mark Cullen returning in place of the suspended Luke Wilkinson, Jake Howells and Luke Guttridge, who has re-injured his problem foot and missed out.

The fact that Town only took a slender one-goal lead into the halftime interval was almost solely down to Freeman who twice cleared off the line, first with a stunning intervention to deny Cullen and then with a more routine hack off the line from Franks’ header.

That spared the Stags a first half whitewash but only delayed the inevitable.

They’d already seen Sascha Studer deny Nathan Doyle from 40 yards, while Benson headed over three minutes before finding the net. The veteran didn’t last much longer as he immediately pulled up after an innocuous challenge with Martin Riley. One painful and failed attempt to stand and Benson knew his time was up and a stretcher was called.

It looked like a break, though Still didn’t have an indication as to the seriousness of the injury during his post-match interview.

It was a grave shame though, because up until then, and even before his first league goal of the campaign, the striker had arguably put in his best shift of the season.

Luckily for Luton, Jonathan Smith and Drury were in equally sparkling form, orchestrating home attacks, while Doyle protected the back four well.

Mansfield’s second half plan B came in the form of new loan signing Junior Brown from Oxford United who was introduced at the break and through him they enjoyed a 15-minute purple patch.

Reggie Lambe sent a spectacular bicycle kick just over the Luton bar while Riley and Brown had both found Mark Tyler in obdurate mood. But in the midst of all that Cullen had hit the bar with a looping header and then came the Whalley show.

The winger intercepted a poor kick from keeper Studer, beat left-back Beevers and audaciously lashed in from a wide angle. The 27-year-old had been booked in the first half for simulation inside the 18-yard area - which he later claimed was a clear penalty - and he responded with a cheeky diving celebration.

Four minutes later he was sliding across the turf once more, this time on his knees in front of the Kenilworth Road end, having curled a delightful second from the edge of the penalty area.

The three-goal victory didn’t, however, send the Hatters back to the league summit, after Wycombe also won.

Burton’s “million miles” assessment of Town’s powers in this division may be slightly generous, as the leaders might have something to say about it, but on this evidence, a country-mile might be nearer the mark.

Luton: Tyler, Franks, Smith, McNulty, Drury, Benson (Howells, 28), Griffiths, Cullen (Walker, 82), Whalley (Rooney, 86), Harriman, Doyle. Unused subs: Lacey, Justham, Ruddock Mpanzu, Miller.

Mansfield: Studer, Riley, Tafazolli, Freeman, Heslop, Lambe (Rhead, 76), Beevers, Taylor (Brown, 45), Oliver, Clements, Sendles-White (Bell, 61) Unused subs: Bingham, Palmer, Marsden, Evtimov.

Referee: Gavin Ward. Attendance: 8,418 (294).


Whalley at the double as Hatters sink Stags
lutontoday.co.uk, by Mike Simmonds

League Two: Luton Town 3 Mansfield Town 0

A quickfire double from flying winger Shaun Whalley saw Luton Town send struggling Mansfield Town to another defeat this afternoon.


With Hatters 1-0 in front, the wideman was about to be taken off on the hour mark with Luke Rooney readied on the sidelines, only to pick up a poor clearance from Stags keeper Sascha Studer, drive forward and see his cross shot fly into the far corner that left the Kenilworth Road crowd purring in delight.

Rooney was then sent back to sit down and Whalley produced a brilliant individual run and finish moments later to make it 3-0.

Prior to the game, Hatters made three changes for the clash as Fraser Franks replaced the suspended Luke Wilkinson to partner Steve McNulty in the back-line.

Top scorer Mark Cullen came in as did Andy Drury, with Jake Howells dropping to the bench and Luke Guttridge missing out.

A quiet opening exchange saw Luton eventually have the first effort of note on 11 minutes, Nathan Doyle’s low drive turned behind by Studer.

The hosts came close moments later too when Paul Benson rose highest to meet Drury’s free kick, but nodded over.

Whalley was controversially booked on 17 minutes as he raced past Lee Beevers in the area before going down under the defender’s challenge.

Referee Gavin Ward adjudged the Luton man had dived though and brandished a yellow much to the furore of Town’s management staff.

However, within seconds, Town were in front as Cullen escaped on the left and his cross was flicked goalwards by Benson.

Studer parried the initial effort but Benson showed great determination to win the loose ball and his low shot beat the keeper’s dive and trickled over the line almost in slow motion.

With the bit between their teeth, Hatters came close to a second as Whalley sent over a marvellous cross and Kieron Freeman’s superb sliding intervention prevented Cullen nothing a certain goal.

Hatters were then dealt a real blow as Benson, who had looked something like being back to his best, injured himself while making an innocuous challenge and had to be stretchered off in real pain.

With Jake Howells on his place, Town took a while to get going once more, Drury scooping wide from just outside the area.

As they often do, Hatters upped the tempo quickly though, Whalley’s drive deflected behind and from the corner, Fraser Franks’ header was nodded off the line by Martin Riley.

After the break, the visitors almost levelled in spectacular style, Reggie Lambe’s overhead kick flying narrowly over.

With the game becoming more open, Town threatened as Michael Harriman dinked over the perfect cross and Cullen arched his back to nod against the bar.

Tyler easily gobbled up Martin Riley’s header, while as Stags started to become more dominant, second half sub Junior Brown’s fierce drive was parried by the Luton keeper.

Out of nothing though, Town had their crucial second thanks to Whalley’s wing play, with Studer rooted to the spot.

If the first one had an element of luck to it, there was nothing fortunate about Whalley’s second minutes later as once again, he beat his man, and curled a beautiful left-footed dasiycutter into the bottom corner.

The visitors almost had a reply as Chris Clements’ shot deflected off Franks and just was wide of the post.

However, Luton were coasting now as Griffiths’ far post header was claimed by Studer, as Hatters boss John Still brought on Charlie Walker and finally Rooney as Whalley was given a deserved standing ovation.

Results elsewhere meant Town climbed back up to second place, leapfrogging Burton Albion, who lost 1-0 to Shrewsbury Town, as they remain a point behind leaders Wycombe Wanderers

Hatters: Mark Tyler, Michael Harriman, Scott Griffiths, Steve McNulty (C), Fraser Franks, Shaun Whalley, Jonathan Smith, Nathan Doyle, Andy Drury, Mark Cullen (Charlie Walker 82), Paul Benson (Jake Howells 27).

Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Alex Lacey, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Ricky Miller.

Stags: Sascha Studer, Martin Riley (C), Ryan Tafazolli, Kieron Freeman, Simon Heslop, Reggie Lambe (Matt Rhead 76), Lee Beevers, Rob Taylor (Junior Brown 46), Vadaine Oliver, Chris Clements, Jamie Sendles-White (Fergus Bell 61).

Subs not used: Rakish Bingham, Ollie Palmer, Liam Marsden, Dimitar Evtimov.

Booked: Whalley 17, Beevers 67.

Attendance: 8,418 (Stags 294).

Referee: Gavin Ward.

Hatters MOM: Shaun Whalley. Reborn winger dazzled in the second period.



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