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Club News


11 February 2013

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For the second week running, the Hatters’ switched the venue of their Youth Alliance game to their opponents’ ground due to Ely Way being unplayable.  

It was a decision that paid dividends too as the Town came away from the trip to Stevenage with a well-deserved 2-0 victory courtesy of goals from Arel Amu and Jemale McKenzie-Lowe.
Tinashe Chabata and Jerome Jibodu were both fit to start the game at the centre of the defence in front of Ben Barnes, and Under-16 Lee Hawkes came into the side at left-back with Brett Longden moving to his familiar right-back role.  The front six remained unchanged from the draw at Leyton Orient. 
On an excellent surface, the early exchanges saw some good play from both teams without either team being dominant or creating clear cut chances.  Stevenage's best chance came as they stole possession as the Hatters looked to build from the back but the effort on the goal didn't unduly bother Barnes.
The Hatters’ best opportunity in the first half hour came as Leeroy Maguarauhe found Zane Banton's run into the box and the forward looked to square the ball to the advancing Amu but the Stevenage defender got in an important block.
When the opening goal came for the Hatters in the 36th minute, it was through the same trio with Banton finding Maguaraushe inside the box and the winger chose to feed Amu rather than shoot himself and the latter made no mistake putting the ball into the corner of the net.  McKenzie-Lowe found himself space in the box in the 41st minute and hit shot rebounded clear off the knees of the Stevenage goalkeeper.
The Hatters continued in the ascendency at the start of the second half and doubled the lead when a precise Charlie Smith free-kick was volleyed home by McKenzie-Lowe.
Further chances were crafted throughout the half and the Hatters were denied by the woodwork on three occasions.  Firstly, a flowing move ended with Longden bursting into the box and his shot rebounded off of the post and out for a corner before another Smith free-kick hit the inside of the post and back across the goal to safety. 

In the last few minutes, a blast from McKenzie-Lowe came back off of the inside of the same post and went agonisingly across the goal.
Stevenage had a run of corners to put pressure on the Hatters’ defence and their best chance came when their striker drove into the box but Chabata got in an important block to maintain the two goal cushion.
A delighted manager Paul Driver told Talk of the Town: "I thought we did well. The decent surface helped us play a bit more football than we've been able to do recently and we continued the excellent work from the second half last week at Orient.  

“As a team, we are learning how to defend better and that was our third clean sheet in the last five games which is also encouraging.  

“We looked much more assured at the back with Jerome and Tinashe in there who were both excellent and having Brett getting forward from full back makes us better going forward.  With a bit more luck, we could have won by more as we created some good chances in the second half.”

Team: Barnes, Longden, Hawkes, Rees, Chabata, Jibodu, Amu, Smith, McKenzie-Lowe (sub Tayali 87), Banton, Maguraushe (sub Trottman 78).  Subs not used: Carpenter, Galliford, Pittfield.

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