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Friendly ends goalless for Blues
WANDERERS drew a blank as they were held to a goalless draw by non-league Luton Town.
A stalemate was probably a fair outcome as Blues created more of the openings but the hosts had the better chances, as golden opportunities for the Hatters went begging either side of half time.
Although Wanderers failed to score for the second time in their pre-season campaign they looked a lot more solid at the back, and impressive displays from youngsters Charles Dunne and Anthony Stewart gives hope for the future.
Less than five minutes had elapsed when Wanderers were handed the first clear opening of the game. Matt Bloomfield pounced on a poor clearance from Hatters skipper Ronnie Henry but the midfielder’s curling effort clipped the top of the crossbar and went over.
Former Luton player Gary Doherty had to be on his toes to keep the lively Andre Gray under control and he showed his ability in the opposing penalty area as Yaser Kasim cleared his header off the line. Dunne was also denied by a goal line clearance from the rebound before the ball bounced wide to safety after a crazy goalmouth scramble.
Defences dominated despite a high tempo game, with Doherty and Stewart excelling at the heart of the Blues backline and the home defence keeping Stuart Beavon well under wraps.
New signing Sam Wood should have done better when he collected Dunne’s dinked pass but he scuffed well wide when he had far more time than he thought.
At the other end Greg Taylor hammered over before another chance for Wood, who managed the first effort on target after collecting Beavon’s nod down but it was easy enough for Mark Tyler to gather in.
Roles were reversed moments later when Wood sent over a free-kick and although Beavon stole in ahead of his man for the first time all game he could only guide his header inches past the post.
Despite that Blues should have gone behind when Stuart Fleetwood sent over a peach of a cross that Gray dismally failed to despatch, sending his header wide from five yards under no pressure.
Gray tried to make amends and rolled the ball in for full-back Jake Howells, whose rasping shot from the edge of the box only just cleared Nikki Bull’s crossbar.
Ex Blue Scott Rendell had had a quiet first half but at the start of the second made enough of a nuisance of himself to create the space for Alex Lawless to have a crack, but his rising effort was always going over.
Half time substitute Lawless got forward with good effect and sent over a cross that Gray put wide from a diving header from a good position. Like his first half effort he probably should have at least forced Bull into a save.
Things quietened down after that initial burst of action and Wanderers almost took the lead when Luton defender Lathaniel Rowe-Turner turned Beavon’s low cross goalwards and was relieved to see Tyler clutch it to prevent an embarrassing own goal.
The best move of the game almost resulted in a goal for Luton as their front three of Fleetwood, Rendell and Gray left the visiting defence at sixes and sevens, but it culminated in Fleetwood firing inches wide of the post.
Bull made a good save as Charlie Smith’s fierce drive stung his palms while at the other end Beavon’s dipper went narrowly over.
Wanderers: Bull, McCoy (sub Johnson), Stewart, Doherty, Dunne (sub Basey), Grant (sub Logan), Spring, Bloomfield, Wood (sub Lewis), Oli (sub Angol), Beavon. Substitutes not used: Ingram, Hause