Match Report

After extra time; Luton Town won 4-2 on penalties

FA Cup 1st Round replay match
played on Tuesday, 18 November 2008, at 7.45pm.


Altrincham paid a heavy price for three penalty misses - one in normal time and two in a shoot-out - against a Luton side which played for 52 minutes with ten men. The Hatters can count themselves very fortunate to have progressed in a game dominated by the defences. Kick off was delayed by more than 35 minutes after the floodlights failed, so the game did not finally end till after 11pm.

The defining moment arrived in the 68th minute when Chris Senior was bundled over in the box and Luton's substitute Davis was sent off as he was the last man. However, Warren Peyton underhit his penalty and former Stockport keeper Conrad Logan saved the effort. Alty dominated the rest of the game but laboured to break down the 10-men of Luton and the game went to a penalty shoot out. Doughty and Meechan converted for the Robins but both McGregor and Lawton saw their spot-kicks saved by Logan to hand Luton a 4-2 win on penalties.

The financial loss of the £20,000 prize money was compounded by Luton's refusal to play this match on a Thursday when £37,000 would have been paid to each club in television fees for a live transmission.


  • None

    REFEREE: Mr C W Oliver (Ashington, Durham)

    ATTENDANCE: 2,397 (189 in away end)


    Altrincham had more than held their own in a goalless draw at Kenilworth Road ten days earlier against a Luton team rooted to the bottom of League Two as a consequence of a 30-point deduction for financial problems.

    With Moss Lane filling up and Alty fans anticipating a 17th League scalp in the FA Cup, the floodlights - only installed in summer 2007 - failed. They were briefly restored on the Carole Nash stand side before going out again. However, a second attempt got all the lights on again and it was announced, just after 8pm, that kick off would be at 8.20pm. The delay was to allow queues outside the ground to get in and the players to warm up once again. Sadly some spectators left the queues during the half hour wait.


    Shaun Densmore, who had limped off last Saturday at Forest Green, was on the bench today, so Warren Peyton came into the starting line-up for Altrincham. Alty started with Chris Senior deployed on the right and Colin Little and Dale Johnson paired up front.

    Compared with the side ten days earlier, Luton tonight included giant veteran defender Ian Roper, Garreth O'Connor and Asa Hall in their starting line-up. Recently acquired loan striker Kevin Gallen was cup-tied.


    ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 13. Andy RALPH; 22. James SMITH, 4. Mark McGREGOR, 5. Greg YOUNG, 3. Matt DOUGHTY; 19. Chris SENIOR, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 11. Warren PEYTON; 14. Dale JOHNSON, 9. Colin LITTLE. Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN (gk), 2. Chris LANE, 8. Val OWEN, 12. Joe O'NEILL, 15. Alex MEECHAN, 18. Lee ELAM, 21. Shaun DENSMORE.

    LUTON TOWN (Dark blue and orange shirts, dark blue shorts and black socks): 21. Conrad LOGAN, 2. Claude GNAPKA, 20. Michael SPILLANE, 5. Ian ROPER, 33. Jake HOWELLS; 28. Paul McVEIGH, 4. Keith KEANE, 8. Kevin NICHOLLS, 7. Garreth O'CONNOR; 14. Asa HALL, 18. Chris MARTIN. Subs: 1. Dean BRILL, 3. Sol DAVIS, 12. Harry WORLEY, 16. Rossi JARVIS, 19. Drew TALBOT, 23. Wayne ANDREWS, 40. Scott SINCLAIR.


    After the delay with the floodlight failure, the match finally got under way at 8.22pm and Alty had two half chances in the opening minute. After Alty had kicked off, firstly, a cross by Doughty was caught by Logan and then after 65 seconds,Johnson did well to make space but fired over the bar. Between these events, Luton's O'Connor got in a cross which Ralph caught well. Referee Oliver soon annoyed the home camp when he failed to see a blatant body check on Johnson and then gave a freekick to the visitors instead. A Martin header cleared the bar (7 mins) but the ball was spending too long in the air to give the game flow at this stage. However, Smith won the game's first corner for Altrincham and from Peyton’s kick from the right, Logan, the former Stockport keeper, punched weakly clear. Johnson was impressing again for Altrincham as the game settled down into a fairly even contest. Alty had a half chance when Danylyk fed Little and his ball was just reached by Logan ahead of Senior (13 mins).

    Luton now won two corners, the first arriving after an impressively speedy surge up the right by Gnakpa, the right-back. Ralph failed to clear the first corner and a defender had to head it out of play. Luton now began to press but Mr Oliver and his officials were again adopting a liberal attitude to holding offences by the visitors. More fine play from Johnson needed a good clearance from Spillane to save the visitors (22 mins). But goal chances were scarce and, indeed, Chris Senior was spending some of his time back defending in his own area. Alty had a scare in the 28th minute when Howells advanced on the left, leading to a cross from McVeigh which Ralph failed to get but when Hall opted to try and find McVeigh rather than the back of the net, Alty were glad to see McVeigh kick air rather than the ball (25 mins).

    Now Senior did get forward and from his cross the ball came to Peyton but it bounced off and the half chance was gone. The home supporters were creating a good atmosphere as play continued in an energetic rather than flowing manner. A freekick, for holding Johnson, was taken from the left by Doughty. On the breeze it arrowed towards the far top corner but Logan just about got back to catch it over his head (31 mins). Alty's leading scorer Colin Little was having an unhappy start to the match and when he had a choice of Senior advancing to his right and Johnson ahead of him, his pass failed to find either. But Alty did then win a corner (33 mins) which Peyton wasted to the annoyance of his manager who shouted "That's two that have gone behind the back stick. Doughty you have a go next time" - and so the left-back assumed the corner kick role for the rest of the game.

    With the game now past the half hour mark, Johnson won Alty another corner which Doughty also overhit (34 mins). Smith was looking solid alongside McGregor and Young at the back for Alty and they soon had to survive two Luton corners as half-time approached (41 mins). The game was following the pattern of the original game with neither side looking sharp up front. A Little mispass then required excellent covering work from Danylyk. But the half time break soon arrived with the tie still goalless after 135 minutes of endeavour.


    At the break, Altrincham brought on Lee Elam, on the right, with Colin Little being the player withdrawn. So, Senior now went up front with Johnson. Gnakpa now cut in and forced a decent save, low to his right by Ralph (50 mins).

    As Alty boss Graham Heathcote demanded his side "Step up a gear!", the Golf Road end continued to cheer their side on. But play on the pitch was hardly of the highest quality - Hall’s shot over the bar being the best effort of this period (54 mins). A good Altrincham move then ended with Peyton’s low cross which went across the goalmouth unconverted. However, Peyton soon won a corner (59 mins). There was then a stoppage when Lawton and Howells chased a ball out of play on the Alty left and the Alty captain ended up in a heap on top of the Luton man, after both crashed into an advertising hoarding behind the by-line. Lawton recovered but Howells suffered a facial injury and had to be subbed by Davis (61 mins).

    Next, Nicholls headed wide as Luton continued to apply a modicum of pressure in the second half. But Senior and Peyton then won an Altrincham corner and Logan only gathered Doughty’s kick at the second attempt. Soon after this, Danylyk fed the ball forward and as Senior raced round the advancing Logan he was blatantly bundled over by Davis, who had only been on the pitch for six minutes. Inevitably Mr Oliver sent him off and awarded as clear a penalty as you will ever see. But Warren Peyton's spot-kick was not hit hard enough and Logan saved it, diving to his right (68 mins). Though an Alty corner followed, Alty's heads dropped for a few minutes after this miss.

    Luton now brought on the former Norwich youngster, Jarvis, for O'Connor (70 mins). After four indifferent minutes, Meechan - who had been poised to come on as the penalty incident occurred, - finally came on. He replaced Senior who was clearly unhappy at being replaced (74 mins). Altrincham had now re-gathered themselves and with a one-man advantage were taking the game to the Hatters. However, Alty had an escape when a Luton player got a head to the ball before Ralph but a corner resulted rather than a goal. Despite having plenty of the ball Alty lacked the necessary guile to get behind the solid Luton defence with their build-up play being ponderous rather than direct. Six minutes from the end Peyton did get a half chance but his shot was blocked (84 mins). Graham Heathcote had to remind his men "We've got eleven men, not them!". With Luton intent, it seemed, on playing for extra time and penalties, Alty continued to labour as the game went into three added minutes.

    In the added time, Keane was booked for felling Meechan (90+2 mins). But extra time arrived with a dreadful inevitability soon afterwards.

    90 mins: ALTRINCHAM 0 LUTON TOWN 0

    It was already 10.18pm when extra time kicked off. Soon Alty had a good chance when Lawton and Doughty combined to find Johnson in the box but his control let him down and the ball ran to Logan (91 mins). Alty were now largely dominant in terms of possession as Luton seemed to lack any ambition to win the game other than from a shoot-out. But when Ralph was beaten to an aerial ball, the Alty were pleased to see McVeigh head over the bar (94 mins). But the one-way traffic continued as Alty gained two corners which again they failed to capitalise upon. Luton were there for the taking but Alty lacked the craft to take advantage.

    McGregor then did well to stop a rare foray by Luton with a fine tackle on Martin, before the same Luton player was booked for an off-the-ball foul on Young (100 mins). At this point Talbot, bought by Luton for £250,000, came on to replace Nicholls (101 mins). Almost immediately Talbot showed his pedigree, getting free on the right and firing a shot into the side netting (102 mins). But with Alty still faltering, half-time arrived with the game still goalless.

    At the extra-time break, Chris Lane replaced Dale Johnson, so Greg Young moved forward as Lane slotted into the defence. From a Smith cross Peyton then forced a goal-line clearance as Alty continued to dominate but there were no more clear chances as the game drifted to the final seven minutes. Then Meechan won a corner off Roper, followed immediately by a second and a third corner (113 mins). Altrincham continued to press but to little effect before the final whistle sounded to herald a penalty shoot-out.


    The penalty shoot out got under way at the Golf Road end, with Luton going first. With Little, Senior and Johnson all having been subbed, Alty's penalty takers comprised two defenders (Doughty and McGregor), one striker/winger (Meechan) and two midfielders (Lawton, Danylyk).


    1. Martin beat Ralph, sending him the wrong way: Altrincham 0 Luton Town 1
    2. Doughty blasted the ball past Logan: Altrincham 1 Luton Town 1
    3. Hall fired towards Ralph's top corner and the keeper did superbly to get a hand on the ball, but to no avail: Altrincham 1 Luton Town 2
    4. McGregor now saw his kick saved by Logan, going to his right: Altrincham 1 Luton Town 2
    5. Jarvis had his penalty well saved by Ralph, low to his right: Altrincham 1 Luton Town 2
    6. Meechan scored well, hitting the ball down the middle: Altrincham 2 Luton Town 2
    7. Gnakpa took a long run before cleverly stroking the ball into Ralph's bottom right corner as Ralph went the other way: Altrincham 2 Luton Town 3
    8. Lawton saw his shot saved by Logan going to his left: Altrincham 2 Luton Town 3
    9. McVeigh wrapped up the game, beating Ralph firmly: Altrincham 2 Luton Town 4

    Altrincham had gone out of the cup despite not conceding a goal in 210 minutes of football. But they failed to make use of a one-man advantage and a penalty kick in normal time which made the result the more annoying. It was now 11.02pm!