Hatters held to a goalless draw at Crawley

Jack Stacey goes close against Exeter this afternoon
Jack Stacey goes close against Exeter this afternoon

League Two: Crawley Town 0 Luton Town 0

Luton Town's four game winning run was ended this afternoon after they were held to a goalless draw by struggling Crawley Town.

The Red Devils, as they had when preventing a Hatters side making it five victories in a row, proved an obdurate opposition, stopping the visitors from scoring once more, although this time drew a blank themselves.

Going into the game, the hosts had been in terrible form at the Checkatrade Stadium, with six defeats from seven, but from the word go, they looked up for the challenge of blunting a free-scoring Hatters side, keeping them at arms bay for most of the first half.

Luton chief Nathan Jones kept the same side who had won 4-1 at Exeter, and although they looked the better team in the early exchanges, couldn't break through a stubborn and imposing home defence.

In fact, it was Crawley who came closest, Jimmy Smith testing Marek Stech from range on 15 minutes, Enzio Boldewijn flashing well wide too.

Despite Town having the better quality in possession, they couldn't send anything meaningful Glenn Morris's way, as Stech had to scramble across goal to deny Jordan Roberts' hopeful 30-yarder.

Luton finally made Morris work on 34 minutes, Luke Berry threading a pass through to Jack Stacey, with the home keeper out to smother at his feet.

Town's right back then gave the ball away just outside his area, relieved to see Panutche Camara's angled drive barely trouble Stech.

The hosts upped the pressure slightly, Cedric Evina brought down by Stacey and although the free kick was cleared, Dannie Bulman's hopeful volley was straight at Town's stopper.

Hatters did threaten from a corner just before half time, ex-Crawley striker James Collins appearing to head the ball against his own shoulder as it flew wide in what was easily the visitors' best chance.

In the second period, Alan Sheehan picked up an incredibly harsh early booking which sees him ruled out of the home clash with Coventry next week, before Hylton sent Collins away, his strike partner opting to take his shot early and watch it flash across goal.

The game then started to really open up and have a stretched feel to it, Stech keeping it goalless as he got down low to keep out Roberts' 25 yarder that was creeping into the bottom corner.

With Town starting to creak for the first time in the game, they upped their attacking efforts, managing to have two great chances of their own.

First, Glen Rea's shot was deflected behind and from the corner that was recycled back to Sheehan, he was left unmarked, only to put his downward header too close to Morris.

Rea then rose highest to reach another Sheehan deadball, nodding over the top, as Jones opted to withdraw an unusually subdued Hylton with 17 minutes to go, Elliot Lee introduced, the sub only denied an instant impact by Josh Lelan's excellent clearing header.

Crawley really should have broken the deadlock on 76 minutes, Evina's fine run and low cross missed by both Roberts and Jimmy Smith who were a matter of a yards out, Potts clearing the danger.

Elliot Lee's curler didn't quite have enough after a quickfire break by Town, while Collins then volleyed instinctively at Morris.

With 10 to go, Town stopper Stech made a big save, out quickly to deny Roberts with his legs, before Luton's goal led a charmed life, as a corner wasn't cleared and the ball somehow stayed out, Potts hacking clear once more.

Elliot Lee continued to prove a real livewire, as he took Sheehan's hopeful up and under on, unleashing a sizzling left footed volley which hit the base of the post.

Into the final five minutes and the otherwise excellent Rea had his pocket picked by Camara, who tried to lob the back-pedalling Stech, only to get too much on it.

A couple of errors from Stacey saw the defender clear for a corner, and then almost give away a penalty, but referee Trevor Kettle, who was increasingly jeered by the visiting supporters, waved the appeals away as the spoils were shared.

The result saw Town increase their unbeaten run to 10 games, as they stayed top of the table too, after Notts County were held at Carlisle, and Exeter lost to Port Vale.

Crawley: Glenn Morris, Joe McNerney, Mark Connolly, Enzio Boldewijn, Jimmy Smith (C), Jordan Roberts, Josh Yorwerth, Cedric Evina, Dannie Bulman, Josh Lelan, Panutche Camara.

Subs not used: Josh Doherty, Josh Payne, Yusuf Mersin, Kaby Djalo, Billy Clifford, Arjan Tajbakhsh, Dennon Lewis.

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Alan Sheehan, Glen Rea, Olly Lee (Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu 80), Luke Berry, Harry Cornick (Jordan Cook 90), Danny Hylton (Elliot Lee 73), James Collins.

Subs not used: James Shea, Johnny Mullins, Luke Gambin, James Justin.

Booked: Berry 33, Stacey 38, Sheehan 53, Potts 66, Lelan 83.

Referee: Trevor Kettle.

Attendance: 3,494 (1,642 from Luton).

Hatters MOM: Glen Rea. Defensive midfielder impressed throughout.