Town youngsters victoriousThe Hatters Under-18s travelled to Woodford Green on Saturday to play their Leyton Orient counterparts and returned with a 2-0 victory to extend their unbeaten run to four games and return to the top four of the Football League Youth Alliance League.
Paul Driver was able to welcome Osamu Allman and Daril Ngwala back from injury and they joined Ekene Amadi in attack while an injury to Craig King meant Liam Gooch started his first league game of the season in goal.
An excellent first half performance saw the Hatters create some great chances and only two brilliant saves from home keeper, Ben Card denied first Allman and then Ngwala an opening goal.
The breakthrough came on 15 minutes from some quick build up play and Ngwala punched the ball home from eight yards. The lead was then extended just prior to the break when great awareness from Allman saw him back heel the ball to Isaac Galliford for the midfielder to blast the ball into the net from ten yards.
An injury to Lee Hawkes gave a chance for Under-16, Akin Famewo, to make his youth team debut alongside skipper Frankie Musonda at the heart of the defence.
In a half of fewer chances, the home sides' best effort saw a free kick strike crash Gooch's cross bar and fly to safety and a great run and cross from Ngwala just evaded Amadi in the six yard box.
Another Under-17, Josh Brown, joined the fray with twenty minutes to go replacing Galliford while Tuki Tayali came on for Allman with ten minutes to go as the Hatters defended excellently to see out the game for the three points.
Afterwards Driver praised his side’s efforts, including the Under 16s, following the victory.
"It was great to get Daril and Osamu back - we are a much more effective attacking force when they play,” said Driver. “That said, our defence is again doing well whoever plays in there and we have conceded the least amount of goals in the league at the moment. Akin came in for his first game today and was solid in there against a decent striker for them. Josh Brown did an effective job in midfield, too, and we have been very encouraged with all of the 16s that have played for us over the last five weeks since we've worked with the injuries we have.
“It's also great for Goochy's (Liam Gooch) to get a clean sheet on his first start and that should give him great confidence going forward. Mark Tyler has been giving him loads of help this week since we knew Craig would be missing and that showed out there today.”
Town: Gooch, Maguraushe, Perry, Justin, Musonda, Hawkes (sub Famewo 46), Galliford (sub Brown 71), Atkinson, Ngwala, Amadi, Allman (sub Tayali 75). Subs not used: Craig, Cassells (GK).