But at the last minute, they learned they would reach the qualifier regardless, their opponents gaining passage through association with another governing body. Quixotically, that same team, KC Athletics, were the very same play-in round opponents.
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It was a peculiar doubler-header. They lost the first They were hopeless, admits Freeston. The first lot of teams from the pro ranks, those from the third-tier USL, join the tournament in round two, with the second-tier NASL clubs following in the third. Like Bradford, they dare to dream. Over their shoulder during the play-in round against KC Athletics, the home of the Rapids lingered like a beacon.
Might the dream be a local derby of unfathomable proportions, one ever so close to home on a level besides geography? Topics US Open Cup.
MATCH PREVIEW: Chesterfield FC v Aldershot Town
US sports features. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Semi-final agony Unfortunately the Hatters were unable to build on this narrow escape and by late autumn were once again struggling at the wrong end of the table. Boardroom reshuffles and the loosening of the purse strings for David Pleat enabled him to buy the players necessary for long term survival.
Even though most of these new players were 'cup-tied' the Town amazingly fought through to the F. Cup semi-final where they were narrowly and unluckily beaten by Everton.
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Also unpopular was the decision to ban away supporters in the wake of damage caused by so-called Millwall supporters in an FA Cup match at Kenilworth Road. Pleat departs Perversely, it was during this period that the Town enjoyed the most successful period in their history. John then resigned due to his dislike of the high profile nature of the job. Wembley winners Defeat in the Simod Cup final, the Mercantile Credit Centenary Tournament and the FA Cup semi-final appeared to signal a season of glorious failure but on 24th April , an army of 35, Luton supporters saw the Hatters win their first ever major trophy.
A last gasp home win over Norwich in saved the Town from relegation but was not enough to save Ray Harford, who was dismissed mid-way through the following campaign. Ex-Hatters star Jim Ryan took over to see the Town escape the drop at the last over the next two seasons before he was replaced by the returning David Pleat.
Back to Division Two This time the Town had used up their nine lives and sank back down in after 10 years at the top. They did not find life much easier at the new level and struggled to adapt and almost dropped again in And down again Surprisingly, the Hatters fought through to the FA Cup semi-final again in , seeing off Premiership high flyers Newcastle and West Ham along the way. Unfortunately, defeat by Chelsea at Wembley meant that all the Town had to look forward to was another fight against relegation.
After only a few months he was replaced by the experienced Lennie Lawrence — but to no avail. Down again. Play off failure Back in a division they last left in , the Hatters took a little while to acclimatise but when sharpshooter Tony Thorpe got his eye in, the goals started to flow and by Christmas they had hit top spot. Unfortunately, a late season wobble with too many points dropped at home meant that the Hatters had to settle for third and a place in the play-offs where they were beaten by a superior Crewe.
The players never looked back. Records tumbled throughout the year as Luton ran away with the League One title, amassing 98 points and finishing 12 points clear of nearest rivals Hull City.
Selling again — and back down The Hatters took the Championship by storm in , surprising many pundits and finishing up in a creditable mid-table position. Sadly, finances dictated by a small, antiquated, low-capacity stadium meant that several players were then sold and not adequately replaced - leading to relegation at the end of the campaign.
During the first month of the season it seemed that the Hatters stood a decent chance of doing so, after four wins from their first five league and cup fixtures including a victory over Premier League Sunderland at Kenilworth Road. Administration, and Points However form began to tail off and worse news was to follow when the club were deducted 10 points for falling into administration in November. From being in a comfortable mid-table position the Hatters found themselves deep in a relegation battle.
On Boxing Day the Hatters were involved in a highly-controversial match at Bristol Rovers where incredibly they held out to record a draw despite having to play half the match with nine men and the last 13 minutes with only eight men on the pitch following three sending offs.
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Sell, sell, sell With the administrator in charge, the New Year saw the beginning of extensive player sales. But the club also hosted Liverpool at Kenilworth Road in the third round of the FA Cup and an exciting draw earned the Hatters a much needed money-spinning replay at Anfield. At this point the administrator had been working on cutting the spiralling wage bill, with Chris Coyne, David Edwards and loanee Jaroslaw Fojut all departing — and the Hatters unable to sign anybody while still in administration, leaving the squad decimated. Blackwell then decided to announce that he would quit following the replay at Liverpool.
The news made it an extra-special night at Anfield where almost 6, Luton fans out-sung the famous Kop for long periods despite a defeat - Kevin Blackwell's last match, with the administrator moving quickly to install legend Mick Harford as his replacement. With the new owners set to take full control of the club the Hatters prepared themselves for beginning their League 2 campaign with 15 points deducted for failure to agree to a CVA Company Voluntary Agreement. However the Football League decided that because the club had been in administration for the third time in nine years, they would punish them further by deducting a further five points.
The club were still being investigated by the Football Association for the past financial irregularities made public two years previously. Scott Taylor Prop Forward.
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