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Report: Luton Town 3-1 Barnet

31 December 2016

Barnet suffer rare away defeat at hands of Hatters...

Barnet ended the year with disappointment, going down 3-1 at Luton Town in EFL League Two – just the Bees' fifth away league defeat of 2016.

The Bees fell behind in the 30th minute when Alan Sheehan curled a sumptuous free-kick into the top right-hand corner from 25 yards.

Bira Dembele equalised for the Bees seven minutes later, nodding home at the back post following Jack Taylor's curling effort.

But two goals in seven minutes after the restart took the game away from the visitors. 

Cameron McGeehan put the Hatters ahead in the 49th minute before first-half substitute Alex Gilliead extended their lead in the 56th. 

There was one change to the Barnet side which won 2-1 at Cheltenham Town on Boxing Day with Jamal Campbell-Ryce taking the place of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.

Luton Town and, in particular, Jordan Cook made a bright start. The former Sunderland striker twice went close in the opening minutes but found Jamie Stephens equal to two efforts early on

McGeehan caused a scare when he closed down Michael Nelson's attempted clearance but Stephens, again, charged off his line to smother the loose ball as the midfielder closed in.

The Bees were still causing problems for the Hatters on the break and when Campbell-Ryce hooked an inviting cross to the back post it took a good piece of defending to deny John Akinde a routine header.

Akinde might have put the Bees ahead after 21 minutes when he spun inside the box but a good recovery challenge from Scott Cuthbert saw the Bees' number nine denied.

Jack Taylor tried his luck just before the half-hour mark but his half-volley from the edge of the box lacked conviction.

Luton were forced into a change after 28 minutes when Dan Potts went off with an injury. Town boss Nathan Jones switched from three at the back to four with Sheehan dropping in at left-back.

Two minutes later the Hatters went in front following a foul by Taylor. Sheehan stepped up to take the kick and curled into the top corner from 25 yards to leave Stephens grasping at thin air.

The Barnet response was swift, though, and seven minutes after falling behind the Bees were level.

A corner from the right fell to Taylor in space on the left of the penalty area. The 18-year-old tried a curling effort which fell perfectly for Dembele to stoop and nod home.

There was still one hairy moment before the break; Danny Hylton's cross pushed out from underneath the bar by Stephens, but the Bees ended the first period strongly.

Just four second-half minutes had passed when the Hatters retook the lead.

A free-kick came in from the right-hand side, Barnet failed to clear and McGeehan hooked a half volley past Stephens.

The Hatters thought they had a third shortly after when Cook chipped Stephens but he was ruled offside.

But in the 56th minute the hosts did extend their advantage through substitute Gilliead who cut in from the left and curled into the far corner from 20 yards.

Barnet looked for a response and when Curtis Weston struck from 25 yards the midfielder's effort took a deflection which, for a moment, looked to concern Hatters keeper Christian Walton before dropping wide.

With 15 minutes to go Sam Muggleton was introduced from the bench and his first involvement came a minute later when he whistled a free-kick narrowly over the Luton crossbar.

Weston brought a smart stop out of Walton with eight minutes to go, testing the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee with a rasping shot which was turned around the post for a corner.

In the final moments Taylor brought another good stop out of Walton with a first-time strike from the edge of the box which was pushed around the post.

The Bees continued to battle but their efforts were in vain as Luton saw out the win.

Next up for Barnet is a visit from Plymouth Argyle on Monday, January 2 (3pm kick off).

Barnet: Stephens; Vilhete, Nelson (c), Dembele, Johnson; Nicholls (Kyei 68), Weston, J. Taylor, Gambin (Muggleton 73); Campbell-Ryce (Akpa Akpro 53); Akinde.

Subs: Vickers (GK), Watson, Sesay, H. Taylor.

Luton Town: Walton; Mullins, Cuthbert (c), Sheehan (Justin 63); O'Donnell, McGeehan (Lee 86), Rea, Smith, Potts (Gilliead 28); Cook; Hylton.

Subs: King (GK), Gray, Marriott, McQuoid.

Referee: Mark Haywood.

Attendance: 8,262 (494 Barnet fans).


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