Coach on Youth Cup exit
Hatters Under-18s boss Paul Driver was proud of his side’s efforts despite exiting the FA Youth Cup following a 3-1 defeat at Huddersfield.
The Town youngsters led in extra-time thanks to Zane Banton’s cool finish but the Terriers hit back to score three times in the closing stages to seal a place in the fourth round.
“It’s frustrating to have lost given we had the lead but we acquitted ourselves well,” Driver told lutontown.co.uk.
“Not one single player of ours looked out of their depth. Huddersfield are at Premier League level in youth team terms so we’re pleased in what we’ve done.
“It’s been a decent run in the competition and we’ve gone out with a lot of pride. What we have to do is dust ourselves down and the aim now is to win the league [the Youth Alliance South East Division].”
Driver admitted the most disappointing aspect was Huddersfield’s equaliser, which came seconds after the Town had taken the lead.
“It was an outstanding finish from Zane but we switched off after the restart,” said Driver. “It’s frustrating but it’s a lesson the boys will have to learn. You’re always at your most vulnerable when you score and their lad has run through and been fouled and they score from the penalty.
“You go from being in front with 13 minutes left to being level with 12 to go and then before you know it you’re behind and chasing the game.”
The Town lie fourth in the Youth Alliance, three points behind leaders Colchester but with two games in hand.
“I’m happy with the run we’ve had in the Youth Cup and I’m disappointed we couldn’t go further, but we’ve now got to go and win the league and I think we’re capable of doing that,” added Driver.
The disappointment was shared by the players, who took to their Twitter accounts after the defeat.
"Great team performance and so unlucky with the result. Gutted!" said captain Charlie Smith.
"Heartbroken. Knocked out by Huddersfield in the FA Youth Cup," added Tinashe Chabata.
Goalkeeper Ben Barnes tweeted: "Unfortunately lost but so proud to be a part of this team with these players, just gotta work hard and go forward from here on."
"Great effort lads, couldn't have done any more, did everyone proud," tweeted defender Harry Tamplin.