Young guns fire blanks as Hatters score seven
A rampant display from Town saw them tear apart a young Arsenal side at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.
Manager John Still will have been particularly impressed with his team’s sharpness, bite in the tackle and ability to turn defence into attack in an instant.
Another major positive from the game was the brace for striker Mark Cullen, who if he carries on his current form, will be a marksmen to be feared in this season’s Skrill Premier.
Following a road accident which saw the Arsenal team caught up in traffic congestion in the build-up to the game, kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes, leaving the Kenilworth crowd to shiver as a summer shower came down.
However, the wet weather didn’t last for long, allowing the fans to enjoy a pleasant but not particularly eventful opening fifteen minutes. Arsenal, sporting their traditional yellow and blue away strip shaded the early possession, the tricky Thomas Eisfeld the architect of all that was good about their first half play. With sixty seconds on the clock, he wriggled into the box, but having slipped in Isaac Hayden, the move ended with the striker dragging his shot wide of the post.
Town worked their way into the game though and the fireworks began minute. The wily Guttridge fed Shaw on the 18 yard line, who went for the one-two. The ball deflected to Howells whose fierce drive could only be parried by Iliev. Poacher supreme Mark Cullen slithered into the box on the blindside and kept his composure to slot the ball home.thin the 19
Alex Lacey had to be alert four minutes later to block a goalbound Gunners’ shot but the resulting corner caused little trouble for Justham.
John Shaw was replaced in the 26th minute by Dave Martin, but if the Town faithful thought that would dent the Town’s potency, they were wrong.
Minutes after being chopped to the deck, the fired up Cullen burst clear of the Arsenal backline, leaving himself in a one-on-one situation with Iliev. With the linesman keeping his flag down, the little magician slammed his shot past the Gunners’ goalkeeper.
Just after the clock had ticked to the half hour mark, Town had a third.Whalley’s dancing feet were too much for the Arsenal backline to cope with, and when he was tripped in the area there was no hesitation from the referee as he pointed to the spot.
Whalley got straight to his feet, and giving the keeper the eyes, sent him the wrong way as he buried the penalty into the net.
Fancying a piece of the goal action, on 38 minutes Soloman Taiwo lined up a 30-yard free-kick with some intent. Bearing down on it in Bale-esque fashion, his fierce shot was spectacularly tipped over by Iliev for a corner.
Chants of ‘Easy, Easy’ were soon reverberating round the Main Stand as Howells got up highest to meet the inswinging corner, making it 4-0 at half-time.
Luton were in no mood to stop entertaining after the break. Howells, having almost been slipped in a few minutes before by a cultured ball from the outside of McNulty’s right boot, did get the better of the Gunners’ defence with his next chance. Pushing into a more forward role, he crept up on the shoulder to poke home a finish that was in some ways reminiscent of his strike against Aston Villa 11 days ago.
The young Welshman was instrumental in the Town’s sixth too. Marauding through the centre of the park, he slipped in Gray who finished cooly under the goalkeeper’s body, having just come on as part of a raft of substitutions made by Still moments earlier.
minute, he tricked his way through a couple of challenges but slipped at the vital moment in the box.thArsenal managed to gain a bit of a foothold in the game in the final twenty minutes, as inevitably, the mass changes took the sting out of the game. As Still experimented with a 4-5-1 formation, with replacement Wall ploughing the lone furrow, Arsenal came close to breaking their duck through right-back Bellerin. In the 77
Iliev square in the chest.Wall did get a chance to stretch his long legs when he galloped down the left channel to get into a shooting position. His effort hit
But Town made sure it was a lucky seven performance before the final whistle blew. Arsenal desperately searched for a consolation, and forced a corner. Matt Robinson was first to it and hacked the ball upfield and then got his head down and motored up the pitch. Ten seconds later, he had burst onto the loose ball and showing excellent composure fed goal-machine Gray for his second.
While for Arsenal’s young stars this will certainly be a harsh lesson as they continue to develop, it provides a fantastic confidence boost for the Hatters as they prepare for the start of another tough Conference season next Saturday.
Bring on Southport! #COYH
Luton (4-4-2): Town: Justham, Griffiths (Fitzsimmons 61), McNulty, Lacey (Charles 61), Henry, Howells (Robinson 74), Taiwo (Smith 74), Guttridge (Parry 74), Whalley (Gray 61), Shaw (Martin 26), Cullen (Wall 61).
Subs: Tyler, Fitzsimons, Charles, Wall, Gray, Parry, Martin, Robinson, Smith.
Gunners: Iliev, Bellerin, Moore, Yennaris (Crowley 76), Pleguezuelo, Dallison (Siemann 61), Eisfeld, Olsson, Iwobi, Hayden, Wellington (Jeffrey 61).
Subs: Jeffrey, Vickers, Kamara, Siemann, Dallison, Crowley, Bensebaini.