Trialist at the double for young Hatters
Two headed goals from trialist striker Mustafa Tirkayi earned a young Town side victory in a friendly at Lowestoft on Sunday.
The former Cambridge and Tranmere frontman met crosses from Andy Parry and James Justin either side of half-time to put the Hatters in control against Conference North side Lowestoft.
And although the Trawler Boys reduced arrears late on, the Town held on to secure their first victory of pre-season on British soil.
Manager John Still fielded a young side for the trip to Suffolk with Tirkayi and Jake Howells joined by Matthew Robinson, Andy Parry, skipper and former Lowestoft defender Curtley Williams. The substitutes’ bench was made-up entirely of players from the Hatters youth team.
With a strong crowd watching on, it was the Hatters that came closest first when Zane Banton’s drive cannoned off the crossbar after just eight minutes.
Having survived that scare the home side should have gone ahead shortly before the half-hour mark when Jake Reed spurned a chance from close range.
But it was the Town who punished that miss on 33 minutes when Parry’s cross was met by Tirkayi and his looping header found the net to put the Hatters in front.
Reed was then thwarted by the agility of Town keeper Craig King five minutes later before the home side again came close to finding an equaliser when Robert Eagle’s shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
After the break Isaac Galliford’s drive from distance was well-saved on 55 minutes, but moments later the Town and Tiryaki doubled their tally when the striker got on the end of Justin’s centre to make it 2-0.
Home sub Bradley Woods-Garness should have pulled a goal back on 68 minutes when free in the box, and it was Lowestoft that ended the game the stronger as the Town rung the changes in the closing stages.
Woods-Garness did, however, make it 2-1 with 15 minutes left on the clock when converting a chance to beat King to set-up a nervy final quarter-of-an-hour for the Town.
The Town’s young sub Alex Atkinson saw his header smothered by the home goalkeeper with six minutes left but Lowestoft came mighty close to snatching an equaliser on 87 minutes when Chris Henderson’s 20-yard effort whistled inches wide of the target.
As Lowestoft pushed up chasing a late leveller the Town almost grabbed a third goal, only for substitute George Murray’s effort with the final kick of the game to be cleared off the line.
The Town are next in action at Boreham Wood on Tuesday. Full details to follow.
Town: King; Williams, Trotman, Abrahams, Musonda (sub Famewo 80); Galliford (sub Cotter 80), Robinson, Parry (sub Atkinson 53), Howells (sub Justin 23); Banton (sub Murray 80), Tiryaki.
Sub not used: Gooch.