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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 13, 2009

League Two: Luton bow out of Football League

Luton's relegation from the Football League was finally confirmed as they could only draw at home to Chesterfield.

• Hartford: Players can hold heads high

The Hatters, who have made a fist of their unlikely League Two survival bid despite a 30-point deduction at the start of the season, only managed a goalless draw against the Spireites as Grimsby beat Notts County 2-0.

Town were victorious at Meadow Lane courtesy of goals by Robert Atkinson (52) and Danny Boshell (79), though they are not out of trouble themselves following Chester's victory earlier in the day.

Chester's 1-0 win at Accrington had earlier left Mick Harford's Luton a step closer to the precipice.

Second-bottom City temporarily lifted themselves out of the drop zone by beating mid-table Stanley courtesy of Ryan Lowe's goal five minutes before the break, which came from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Colin Murdock.

But Grimsby's win restored order as they went back up to 22nd spot with Chester back to second from bottom.

At the other end of the table leaders Brentford maintained their lead with a 1-0 win at Bournemouth, the victory coming courtesy of Darren Powell's header shortly before half-time. Powell was then sent off for violent conduct early in the second half.

Exeter beat Wycombe 1-0 thanks to Matthew Gill's second-half strike to replace their visitors in second spot while Bury's 2-2 draw at Darlington saw them slip out of the top three to fourth.

Bury had been on course for victory until Pawel Abbott's 74th-minute effort somehow found the back of the net.

Chris Dagnall (73) scored to help Rochdale to a 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury and keep them in fifth.

Fellow play-off contenders Gillingham beat Dagenham and Redbridge 2-1 at home with Dennis Oli scoring the winner in the 88th minute.

Elsewhere Bradford and Lincoln shared a 1-1 draw, Aldershot and Barnet also drew 1-1, Morecambe won 1-0 at Macclesfield and Port Vale and Rotherham shared a goalless draw.

  • Hartford: Players can hold heads high

    Luton manager Mick Harford spoke of his heartbreak after the Hatters were relegated from the Football League.

    Harford said: ''It was never inevitable but it was always going to be very difficult in terms of where we were with the penalty points.

    ''I've said to the players, 100% it's not their fault. They are a fantastic bunch of lads who have put their necks on the line and their careers on the line for Luton Town Football Club and they can walk out of here with their heads held high.

    ''It's quite clear that the past incumbents of the club are the ones to blame. The penalty points were a massive burden and we just couldn't overcome it.

    ''At five minutes to five on the 13th of April, that's the rebirth of Luton Town Football Club and there are a lot of people worse off than we are.

    ''The benchmark is Doncaster Rovers. They went down but they came back and they're now in the Championship with a new ground.

    ''That's what we'll be aiming to do and I just feel for the fans as well as the players because they don't deserve what they've had to put up with.

    ''The game today wasn't irrelevant because if we'd have won we'd have still been in with a chance.

    ''In the second half there was only one team that wanted to win it but we couldn't find the cutting edge that we had at Wembley and that's been the story of our season really at home.''

    Luton chairman Nick Owen added: ''We're shattered really but it was always predictable from day one that we were going to have an unbelievably difficult challenge ahead.

    ''If you take away the 30-point deduction, 24 hours before the first game we still had 11 TBCs (to be confirmed) on the team sheet.

    ''But we assembled a squad which coped admirably given the circumstances. We were given our penalty to preserve the integrity of the Football League and hopefully that integrity has been preserved - that's all that matters.

    ''This club has become a tighter knit community because of this, as shown by the 40,000 we took to Wembley.

    ''We're much stronger psychologically, spiritually and financially. We're not going out of existence, which looked like might be happening at one point, we're just going to be playing in a different league and as the fans sang, Luton Town will never die.''

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