FA Youth Cup campaign off to winning start
Town Under-16s 6-0 Rothwell Corinthians Under-18s
The Hatters’ Under-18s eased into the second qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup by hitting six past Rothwell Corinthians at Kenilworth Road.
Charlie Smith led the way with a hat-trick whilst Ben Crilley, Daril Ngwala and substitute Arel Amu also found the target.
Manager Paul Driver made a number of changes to the side that lost to Watford in the Youth Alliance on Saturday, introducing a number of the first-year scholars to the starting XI. Striker Zane Banton, who made his debut for the first team at Woking on Tuesday night, was named on the substitutes’ bench.
The young Town side were almost ahead inside the first minute when Osamu Allman’s low cross was spooned over the crossbar by Ekene Amadi in the six-yard box.
As the Hatters continued to press for an early goal, Smith struck the Rothwell post with a daisycutter from the edge of the area before Ngwala saw a shot saved by visiting goalkeeper Jack Rowbotham on nine minutes.
However, a minute later, the Hatters were ahead when Allman tricked his way down the left, cut inside and teed up Smith to send a fine first-time shot past Rowbotham.
Allman almost set-up Tuki Tayali with a chance to make it 2-0 on 16 minutes before Allman fizzed a shot over the crossbar a minute later.
A lung-busting run from Crilley enabled Tayali to get a shot away that was saved before Amadi saw his follow-up effort blocked, but the Hatters did double their lead on 26 minutes when Smith struck his second. The Town won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area and Smith curled a fine shot into the corner of the net.
Five minutes later it was three as Smith turned provider for Crilley, the right-back, who finished well past an exposed Rowbotham.
Half chances continued to rain down on the Rothwell goal but it wasn’t until the 43rd minute that the Town scored again to make it 4-0 when Ngwala’s left-foot shot found the bottom corner.
After the break Tayali saw a header hit the crossbar from a Crilley cross on 48 minutes before Amadi shot wide a minute later.
Ngwala twice came close to making it 5-0 before Smith did make it five, converting from the penalty spot on 56 minutes after Amadi was fouled in the box.
The Hatters hit the woodwork for the third time on 71 minutes when Nwgala’s header hit the bar following Amadi’s cross, before substitute Jemale McKenzie-Lowe was denied by a smart save five minutes later.
With three minutes left the Town did make it 6-0 when Amu tucked home at the near post following a left-wing corner which he had won after his shot was saved – and that proved to be the final chance as the Hatters youngsters recorded a comfortable win.
The Town meet Corby Town at Kenilworth Road in the second qualifying round next month.
Town U18: King, Crilley (sub Chabata 76), Perry, Rees, Tamplin, Hawkes, Amadi, Smith (sub Amu 82), Nwgala, Tayali (sub McKenzie-Lowe 66), Allman. Subs: Banton, Barnes.