Luton's perfect run stalled by Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday 0 - Luton Town 0
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The Independent Football

The Luton manager Mike Newell managed to side-step the banana skin in which the Manager-of-the-Month award is traditionally wrapped, but his side stumbled for the first time this season, dropping two points to a well-organised Sheffield Wednesday.

The Luton manager Mike Newell managed to side-step the banana skin in which the Manager-of-the-Month award is traditionally wrapped, but his side stumbled for the first time this season, dropping two points to a well-organised Sheffield Wednesday.

"We didn't create as many chances as we did in previous games," said Newell, "but it was no fluke that we won six on the bounce."

His side's flawless start was built on striker Steve Howard's five goals in six matches, but Wednesday were already aware of his talents, having had a £500,000 bid for him rejected in the summer.

So their strategy for halting the Luton juggernaut was to play tight at the back, and their back four never strayed far from Howard and his partner Rowan Vine.

It worked well in the first half, with an overhead kick from Ahmet Brkovic that was easily gathered by the Wednesday goalkeeper David Lucas, and a 30-yard daisy cutter from central defender Sol Davis all that the Hatters had to show for their efforts.

When it came to turning resistance into attack, Wednesday relied heavily on the distribution and drive of captain Chris Marsden, who arrived at Hillsborough from Southampton via South Korea. But he showed he still had a sense of direction when he picked out Lee Peacock with a cross-field ball which the striker chested down and thumped against the post with his left foot.

Howard had his quietest game so far, according to Newell, but he should have added to his tally after the restart when Kevin Nicholls found him with only the goalkeeper to beat. Instead, he scuffed his left-foot shot hopelessly wide, and Vine was offside when he finally put the ball in the net minutes later.

It heralded Luton's best spell, and when Steve Robinson's corner found Chris Coyne at the far post, Marsden had to shovel the ball off the line. They continued to show fitful flashes of the form that got them off to a flying start, but never quite enough to rise above the Owls.

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