10-man Hatters impress youth boss after cup victory
Victorious Under-18 boss Paul Driver hailed the character of his side after the Town youth team progressed to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 win at Notts County on Tuesday night.
The Hatters played an hour with 10 men following the dismissal of captain Frankie Musonda but goals from Freddie Hinds, Jack Snelus and George Murray booked the youngsters a meeting with Bournemouth or Oldham in January.
“The most important aspect is how well the boys coped when Frankie went off,” Driver told lutontown.co.uk. “We pulled through brilliantly with 10 men. There were six first years on the pitch at the time of the red card but it didn’t faze them, they were all excellent without their leader.
“Even with 10 men we created more chances and I don’t remember [goalkeeper] Liam Gooch making a save.
“As a collective unit the fact we did so well with Frankie is almost as important as the win itself. It showed the lads could step-up and show character to get the job done and pull through.”
The victory set-up a place in the fourth round of the competition – the first time a Hatters youth team has reached that stage in nine years.
On the potential fourth round opposition, Driver said: “Like Notts County they are two teams who are in different league to us but they are playing at the same level of youth football.
“We’ll go and watch the game [next week] and do our homework like we always do, but youth football is a funny old game. Notts County played Oldham earlier in the season, losing 5-0 before beating them 1-0 with precisely the same team the following week.”
Tuesday’s win stretched the Town youngsters’ unbeaten run to 22 games this season and to 30 matches including eight results at the end of last season.
And on Saturday it’s a return to league Youth Alliance action at Dagenham & Redbridge as the Hatters aim to put distance between themselves and the chasing pack.
“It will be a challenge for us because the environment will be so different from Notts County,” said Driver. “We’ll be back to a Saturday morning kick-off, we won’t be playing on a stadium pitch and we’ll be up against a different style of play. It’s just something we’re going to have to adapt to.”