Football: Taylor's talent is prized asset for Luton

Luton Town 1 Bury 1
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The Independent Online
SOME THIRTY years ago these two teams met in the old Second Division when an unknown talent called Malcolm MacDonald was beginning to emerge at Luton Town. The striker, who later became known as SuperMac, went on to far greater things at Newcastle and with England, but he scored in that game which his side won. All this time later and some things don't change.

Then, like now, Bury had been relegated the previous season, while Luton are still a side who have to find and nurture as much young talent as possible to survive.

Luton's manager, Lennie Lawrence, does not have any cash to spend - and even the three balls lost during this match will be a drain on the club's finances - but he might have unearthed a few gems, including his young left-sided wing-back Matthew Taylor. The 17-year-old only made his full debut at the beginning of this season but reportedly attracted Tottenham's interest in the summer.

Possibly boosted by that, he has played in all but one of Luton's six games so far and nearly scored his first goal for the club after just three minutes of this game with a vicious free-kick. It was to Taylor that Luton looked early on for the breakthrough, and again he nearly created it after 22 minutes, this time with a sublime diagonal cross-field pass to Stuart Fraser that the wing-back failed to put past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. By then, Luton already had reason to thank their own keeper Nathan Abbey for a brilliant save at the feet of Ian Lawson, but they eventually took the lead through Andrew Fotiadis' close-range shot eight minutes after the break.

However it was no surprise that Luton, playing their third game in eight days, began to wilt in the extreme heat, and Bury capitalised after 69 minutes. Their industrious midfielder Lee Richardson got in to the penalty box unmarked to slot in Lutel James' pass and the Shakers finished the game much the stronger - to the delight of their manager, Neil Warnock.

Not that Lawrence was too distraught afterwards, saying: "We would have lost that game a year ago." Of more pressing concern is the need to hold on to his most promising players, Taylor among them, and Lawrence added: "A lot of our players are young and and have yet to reach their full potential - hopefully they will stay long enough to do just that."

SuperMac would agree, no doubt.

Goals: Fotiadis (53) 1-0; Richardson (69) 1-1

Luton Town (3-4-1-2): Abbey; Watts, Doherty, Johnson; Taylor, McLaren, Spring, Fraser; George (Douglas, 74); Fotiadis (McIndoe, 74), Gray. Substitutes not used: McKinnon, Sodje, Tate (gk)

Bury (3-4-3): Kenny; Collins, Swailes, Redmond; Daws, Richardson (Bullock, 87), Billy, Reid; Littlejohn, Lawson, James (Preece, 89)

Referee: D Crick (Surrey). Bookings: Bury: Collins, Billy, Reid.

Man of the Match: Richardson.

Attendance: 4,633

n A decisive double from Jason Roberts helped Bristol Rovers take over at the top of the Second Division following a 2-0 win at struggling Scunthorpe. Rovers leapfrogged over four other teams and now head former leaders Burnley on goal difference thanks to Roberts' brace in the 24th and 50th minutes.