Football: Preece ends drought

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The Independent Online
Luton Town. .1

Millwall. . .1

THE GUEST of honour at Kenilworth Road last night was Edwina Currie, prospective Parliamentary Euro-candidate for Bedfordshire. She witnessed an affair which, like her recent lurid parliamentary novel, was a thing of frenzied interaction, winding up to a breathless climax. But the result leaves both sides walking on eggs.

Luton - with no goals in their previous six matches - spent the bulk of their time missing chances with an ingenuity which seemed eventually to provide the home supporters with perverse enjoyment. When David Preece actually put them ahead in the 66th minute, following a misunderstanding between Millwall's centre-back, Neil Emblen, and their keeper, Kasey Keller, they kept their lead for only five minutes before allowing John Kerr a simple equaliser from Ken Cunningham's cross.

Thereafter they renewed their pursuit of frustration, Ceri Hughes providing the choicest example five minutes from time when a bungled back-pass gave him a clear chance but Keller, improbably, got a hand to his shot.

Millwall's tenure on one of the First Division play-off places is less than secure, especially given last night's victories by their close rivals, Tranmere and Leicester.

Luton, despite ending their barren run, are still uncomfortably close to the three relegation places, for all their FA Cup heroics this season.

As Mick McCarthy, the Millwall manager, pointed out, the directors' box was full of scouts looking at both teams with a strong professional interest.

'If we don't go up it is mooted that we will have to sell players,' McCarthy said. 'And if the unthinkable should happen to Luton the vultures will be down to pick the bones.'

Luton Town (4-4-2): Sommer; James, Greene, Dreyer, Thomas; Telfer, Harper, Preece, Hughes; Thorpe (Hartson, 78), Dixon. Substitutes not used: Houghton, Petterson (gk).

Millwall (4-4-2): Keller; Cunningham, Stevens, Emblen, Thatcher; Rae, Hurlock, Kerr, Roberts; Allen, Moralee. Substitutes not used: Barber, Berry, Carter (gk).

Referee: M Bodenham (Looe, Cornwall).