Woolley and Robinson on target in Kent.
Another encouraging performance from the Hatters as Jake Woolley and Matt Robinson scored in a comfortable two-nil victory away at Maidstone United. Woolley opened the scoring, early in the second half, after a competitive first period ended goalless. Captain, Robinson stroked home a decisive second in the closing stages to confirm a Hatters win.
Robinson skippered a youthful side as the Hatters travelled to the Gallagher Stadium to face Maidstone. Scott Rendell led the line for the Hatters with JJ O’Donnell and Woolley supporting him from wide. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner added experience to the back line with Zak Stephens, Jerome Jibodu and Brett Longden setting up in front of Elliot Justham in the Luton goal.
The first sighting at goal came for the Hatters on seven minutes after Woolley’s persistence forced a corner for the visitors. O’Donnell trotted over to take it before whipping in a teasing cross for Stephens to attack at the far post. Clambering over the challenge he was unable to direct his header on target and it slipped past the far post as the game remained goalless.
O’Donnell was continuing to prove his worth for the Hatters after a mix-up in the Maidstone defence saw Stevenson retain possession deep into the opponents half. Picking his head up early, he spotted the run of O’Donnell who in turn swung a devastating cross in across the floor in front of the keeper’s nose. Hall and Woolley stretched to connect but neither could make a telling touch.
The Hatters were beginning to create more opportunities, the majority coming from O’Donnell’s set-pieces. He again wound up his left foot before drilling in a cross aimed at Rendell at the near post. Rendell flicked on the driven cross but a deflection saw his effort collide with the side netting.
Stevenson and Stephens both tested the resolve of Lee Worgan in the Maidstone goal with powerful headers from separate O’Donnell deliveries but neither could force the lead for the Hatters as half an hour approached.
O’Donnell and Hall both continued the Hatters pressure as they searched for the opener before half-time but both efforts failed to hit the target as the team’s strolled into the interval goalless.
No changes for the Hatters as the second kicked off and after Rendell saw his effort scrabbled off the goal line immediately Woolley turned home from close range. An effective high tempo was implemented from the Hatters for the second period and as the ball bobbled to the feet of Woolley in a crowded area he was able to stroke the ball underneath Worgan and into the net.
It was very nearly two on 57 minutes as Hall bounded into the area. Picking the ball up off of Rendell on the edge of the area, Hall skipped away from two challenges, before riding a third and shrugging his way into the box to work the keeper. His effort skipped up off the artificial turf and wide of the far upright as the score remained 1-0.
Hall again came close to doubling the Hatters advantage on 65 minutes after a tidy passage of possession between Stevenson, Rendell and Woolley. Stevenson cleared the Maidstone corner, looking for Rendell up front. The frontman’s dogged determination saw the ball pop out to Woolley on the flank who intern looped a pass over the top of the back line for Stevenson to leap onto. A neat flick from the midfielder, who had covered a lot of ground to rejoin the attack he started, set the ball back to Hall who prodded his effort goal wards. His shot however filtered through a barrage of Maidstone players before it bounced kindly into the arms of Worgan.
Worgan again was called into action to repel the attempts of Woolley and Robinson midway through the second half as Luton continued to press for a second. First, Woolley came close with an ambitious lob before Robinson’s low drive was plucked out from inside the upright by a sprawling Worgan in fine form.
Captain, Robinson had the final word of the evening as he doubled the Hatters lead to put the gloss on the result in the 90th minute. A slick passing move saw the ball fall perfectly for Robinson inside the area before the midfielder opened his body up to slide the ball into the far corner which proved to be the final kick of the game.