Preston North End 5 Luton Town 1: Newell's views cause trouble again

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The Independent Football

Presumably one day Mike Newell will stop speaking quite so plainly. All it seems to do is get him into trouble. The Luton Town manager was both open and frank on the thorny subject of bungs recently and, following his comments on Saturday, during and after his side's ultimately thumping defeat to Preston North End, it seems inevitable that the FA will be back in touch.

Free speech is a topical issue and Newell suffers more than most for his refreshing candour. On Saturday, Darren Drysdale, the referee, banished him to the stands towards the end of the first half for heckling the fourth official.

Only the men in question know exactly what was said but it was easy to sympathise with Newell. His exasperation was obvious after the game when, try as he might, the former Hartlepool manager could not help but offer some typically forthright views.

"I cannot handle incompetence and arrogance and that's what made me lose my cool with the officials," Newell said. "I don't see the point of fourth officials. All they do is cause trouble. This one couldn't even do his job. It took him five minutes to get my sub on."

To Newell's credit, even after watching his team concede three late goals that gave the scoreline a lopsided appearance, he was similarly forthcoming in his praise for Preston. They have now gone 24 games unbeaten since losing at Luton back in September.

"I don't want to take anything away from Preston," he said. "They are one of the best sides we've played all season. There aren't too many places where we've been outplayed this season but this was one of them."

Preston went ahead through Lewis Neal and the lively David Nugent - surely destined to play in the Premiership, whether with Preston or his beloved Everton - added a second after the break. Then, in a frantic finale, Tyrone Mears scored at both ends before being brought down for a penalty that Chris Sedgwick converted after Marlon Beresford had been sent off. Claude Davis added a fifth to give Preston their biggest win of the season.

"I couldn't do much about the own goal - it just hit me," Mears said. "So I thought I'd better go and score one at the other end to make up! I don't know if we're a better team than last season but we're certainly a more experienced one after losing in Cardiff."

Goals: Neal (20) 1-0; Nugent (53) 2-0; Mears og (82) 2-1; Mears (84) 3-1; Sedgwick pen (90) 4-1; Davis 5-1 (90).

Preston North End (4-4-2): Nash; Mears, Mawene, Lucketti, Hill; Sedgwick, McKenna (Davis, 66), O'Neil, Neal (Whaley, 73); Nugent (Agyemang, 80), Ormerod. Substitutes not used: Dichio, Stock.

Luton Town (4-4-2): Beresford; Foley, Coyne (Barnett, 41), Heikkenin, Keane (Davis, 72); Edwards, Nicholls, Bell (Morgan 59), Brkovic; Vine, Howard. Substitutes not used: Brill (gk), Showumni.

Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).

Booked: Preston North End Hill, Whaley. Luton Town Howard, Vine.

Man of the match: Nugent.

Attendance: 15,237.