Nicholls gives old home some sparkle

Luton Town 1 Wolves 1
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The Independent Football

But Luton needed to cash in on his talent and he went to West Bromwich Albion for £3 million. There was a feeling among the fans that it was Davies who had done most of the spadework when the team played badly yet dug deep for points. Facing Glenn Hoddle's reviving Wolves without him was not ideal. Wolves kept the pace high and Luton were not far behind. What Luton lacked, though, was the ability to cope with the speed at which Carl Cort latched on to any through pass sent his way. That cost them a goal in the 25th minute.

Not that Luton had been without a good opportunity. There was a powerful header from Ahmet Brkovic but Michael Oakes flung himself sideways and turned the ball away. Whenever possible Wolves tried to ensure Darren Anderton was given charge of masterminding in midfield. He still threads a mean long pass and here slipped one to Mark Kennedy on the right, and his cross was solidly hit in by Cort who had again escaped attention.

The loss of Kenny Miller, struggling with a hip injury sustained in midweek, caused some disruption and Wolves were fortunate not to lose their lead when a header from Chris Coyne was deflected off the line by Rohan Ricketts, and Steve Robinson clipped the crossbar with a fine cross-shot.

When Mike Newell, the Luton manager, kicked the ball vaguely in the direction of the referee, Lee Probert, as the players left for half-time, the ref took exception and ordered him to spend the second half in the stand. Newell said that all he did was "pass" the ball to the official and point to the spot where one of his players had been booked. Be that as it may, he should have been thankful that just before the break Cort blazed a shot over the bar when scoring looked the easier option.

It was a vivid and committed match that constantly had the referee under criticism from the home crowd who felt the Wolves defenders too often escaped censure. To add some height and strength to the attack Luton brought on Enoch Showunmi while Wolves decided to forgo the guile of Anderton, which cost them the springboard of their most profitable attacks.

Deservedly, Luton achieved the equaliser in the 78th minute when Carlos Edwards pulled the ball back from the wing into the path of Kevin Nicholls who instantly rocketed a shot in from outside the penalty area.

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