Luton Town 2 West Brom 2: Newell steps away from 'bungs' furore

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Mike Newell's integrity was again the focus of attention after this fast-moving and entertaining contest. The Luton Town manager, cast as a whistle-blower in the "bungs and corruption" story, this time made clear that, after signing a new four-year contract at Kenilworth Road, he was not in the running to replace Bryan Robson as manager of West Bromwich Albion.

Having seen his team drop two points for the second successive home match, Newell was frustrated in more ways than one. Wasted chances were the prime source of his worries, but he also said he was tired of being cast in the role of white knight in any investigations about bribery and fraud. "That's why my phone has been turned off," he said. "I don't want to be the first port of call for a comment."

Newell added that he had not even seen the BBC's Panorama programme on the subject, but admitted he had recorded it. "It would not be difficult for me to prove anything I've claimed," he said. "I know a lot that you don't know about. It is no more difficult than in any other business. People get charged for fraud every day of the week."

Nigel Pearson, acting as caretaker-manager for Albion, also spoke with honesty after stepping in as his friend Robson's temporary replacement. "It's been difficult and the most important thing has been to remain professional and prepare properly for the game," he said.

Pearson saw a disjointed team recover from a first-half mauling to claim a point, goals from Darren Carter with a 20-yard shot and Zoltan Gera with an angled tap-in at the far post levelling matters after two strikes from an in-form Rowan Vine.

Goals: Vine (27) 1-0; Carter (34) 1-1; Vine (36) 2-1; Gera (61) 2-2.

Luton Town (4-4-2): Beresford; Foley, Heikkinen, Barnett, Emanuel; Edwards, Robinson, Langley (Brkovic, 83), Morgan; Vine, Parkin (Feeney, 82). Substitutes not used: Brill (gk) Keane, Holmes.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Zuberbuhler; Watson (Gera, 23), Perry, McShane, Robinson; Koumas, Wallwork, Quashie (Greening, 72), Carter; Ellington (Nicholson, 76), Phillips. Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk) Chaplow.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Booked: Luton Heikkinen; West Brom Perry, Carter, Wallwork, McShane.

Man of the match: Vine.

Attendance: 9,332.