Luton Town 2 QPR 0: Heikkinen's head refreshes Luton

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Amid the considerable congestion in the Championship, even these two middling teams could end up in the Premiership. Luton scored the goals; Rangers played the more skilful football, but any talent-spotting agents were keeping their heads down.

Although of no relevance to the game itself, it was curious that the fixture list should have brought together two clubs managed by men who were reported to have found themselves forming a sort of brotherhood. Luton's Mike Newell had not been expecting a rush of support from other managers when he talked, openly, about what many others considered the taboo subject of bung money allegedly paid to them by agents during transfer negotiations.

Rangers' Ian Holloway had reportedly come over the parapet and offered to name names. Last night, however, Holloway denied that. He said his own experience of being offered money occurred four years ago. "Agents are needed," he said. "Ninety nine per cent do a fantastic job. There may be one grain of bad sand but it's not the whole beach. I'm gobsmacked at what's been written."

Newell said: "It's not a lost cause but most managers have been lukewarm. I'm frustrated and so are the authorities. Money is going out of the game and that's wrong. But not all agents are bad. Some have supported me."

In terms of on-the-pitch interest, Luton had a lot to live up to yesterday because their last home game had been that extraordinary 5-3 FA Cup defeat by Liverpool. But they got on with it, taking a 13th-minute lead and matching Rangers' lively pace stride for stride.

Kevin Foley had already had a shot deflected on to the post before the goal came about. Rangers made a hash of clearing a corner. The ball bobbed from head to head, eventually coming to Markus Heikkinen who headed home.

Luton thought they had added a second shortly before half-time when Steve Howard challenged Simon Royce for a high ball in the air and won, heading in as the goalkeeper fell. The referee seemed to give a goal but was only pointing up-field for a free-kick. Luton fans were incensed.

The Luton player who was the most likely to create an unmissable opening was Carlos Edwards on the right flank. It was his low cross that brought his team a secure advantage with Howard turning the ball in.