Luton Town 2 Notts. County 0

Last updated : 28 December 2003 By Footymad Previewer

A goal in each half gave Luton an ultimately comfortable victory as they gained revenge for their 2-1 defeat at Gay Meadow earlier on in the season to end 2003 on a winning note.

Before the match, Hatters boss Mike Newell said his side feared no-one in the division and with that in mind they flew out the traps and went ahead from their first meaningful attack after four minutes.

Steve Howard headed the ball into the path of Adrian Forbes who lobbed the ball over Steve Mildenhall in the Notts County goal.

Forbes was on fire by now and having volleyed straight into the hands of the keeper he drilled in a cross that saw Howard's superb volley deflected over for a corner.

Having still to register an effort on goal the visitors suffered another blow in the 26th minute when they were forced to substitute Paul Heffernan, their Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker, who netted a hat-trick in their 3-3 draw on Boxing Day.

Luton should have doubled their lead on the half-hour mark. Matthew Spring clipped a delightful ball over the County defence and although it hit the back of Howard, it fell perfectly for Ahmet Brkovic. However he took too long and saw his shot ricochet to Lee Mansall who was just about to strike his shot before Paul Riley saved the day with a decisive sliding challenge.

Still Luton came forward with Forbes denied a second by a great save by Mildenhall having headed down Brkovic's cross.

However despite their superiority they could have gone in level at the break. A defensive slip up by Sol Davies allowed Clive Platt to play in Simon Baldry, though the winger failed to get his shot away as Marlon Beresford raced out of his goal.

County were lucky to be only one down at the interval but had it not been for some wayward finishing early in the second half they could have found themselves at least on level terms.

A great cross from Baldry was inches away from being converted by Riley before another great centre this time from Kevin Nicholson was inexplicably headed wide by Platt.

Beresford in the Luton goal was finally tested midway through the half when Steve Jenkins teed up Riley whose fierce shot was well held by the keeper.

However after that flurry of chances Luton began to regain control of the game and having seen Steve Robinson's corner strike the crossbar they got the all important second with 11 minutes remaining.

Chris Coyne was the architect running magnificently on the right hand side to get to the byline but when his cross was only half cleared Emmerson Boyce was on hand to fire in his second goal of the season and wrap up the win.