Local suicide pact

Click to follow
Luton Town 0 Watford 0

As David Evans, the Conservative MP and former Luton chairman remarked on the eve of the club's greatest hour, the Littlewoods Cup final win over Arsenal in 1988: "This success won't last - it's just a purple patch in the club's history. We'll be back among the lower divisions eventually."

Evans was not right about many things, as visitors to Kenilworth Road on Saturday were reminded walking past the folly of his computerised turnstiles - a sop to Maggie Thatcher and her ill-conceived membership-card scheme - but he was right in as much as success for clubs of the size of Luton and Watford can only be fleeting.

Of course, that did not make it any easier watching these two local rivals, 23rd and 24th in the First Division, in an undignified scramble for safety. As Luton's manager Lennie Lawrence, with his usual clarity, remarked: "We cut each other's throats." Indeed, if one didn't know any better, one would surmise it was a suicide pact. Relegation promises to put both out of their misery.

Poor George Cain, the referee, took most of the flak - though not from Lawrence - for 10 bookings and a sending-off when Graham Alexander foolishly tested his patience in injury time.

As he must have suspected, Graham Taylor is going back to his roots in more ways than one, though a further drop to the Third Division next season probably does not figure in his plans.

Luton Town (4-4-2): Feuer; Alexander, Davis, Patterson, Thomas; Oldfield (Tomlinson, 70), Johnson, Oakes, Thorpe (Harvey, 84); Guenchev, Grant. Substitute not used: James.

Watford (4-3-3): Miller; Bazeley, Palmer, Ward, Ludden; Mooney, Hessenthaler, Porter (Payne, 77); White, Ramage, Connolly (Moralee, h-t). Substitute not used: Rodney.

Referee: G Cain (Liverpool).

Bookings: Luton: Davis, Patterson, Oldfield, Oakes; Watford: Hessenthaler, White, Ramage, Payne, Moralee. Sending-off: Luton: Alexander.

Man of the match: Johnson.

Attendance: 9,454.