Hall, Benson and Lawless on target at Kenilworth Road
Goals from Ryan Hall, Paul Benson and Alex Lawless gave a strong Hatters development squad a comfortable 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon at Kenilworth Road.
Hatters development and academy boss Andy Awford named a side which had amassed 334 senior appearances between for the Club, including Nathan Doyle – who played an hour – and Benson, who completed 75 minutes.
Against a younger Dons side – whose senior team visit on Saturday – the Town almost went ahead inside the first 20 seconds when Doyle’s volley from outside the box was kept out by visiting goalkeeper Will Mannion.
Wimbledon briefly threatened Elliot Justham’s goal in the opening quarter-hour but the Town came close to taking the lead in the 26th minute when Hall rifled a low shot goalwards that was tipped over by Mannion.
Lawless came close with a curling effort with the outside of his boot on 32 minutes, but a minute later the Hatters did have the lead. Hall took Doyle’s pass in a central position before rifling a low, swerving shot from 20 yards that pinged in off the post and into the back of the net.
As half-time approached the Hatters pressed for a second goal, and Lawless was denied by a save from Mannion on 42 minutes before Jack Marriott was denied space in the box after taking a pass from Lawless just moments before the break.
After the interval Hall came close to scoring an almost identical goal moments after the restart, only to see his effort clawed away by the visiting goalkeeper.
But after Doyle saw another long-range striker saved, the Town doubled their lead from the resultant corner on 50 minutes. The Dons only half-cleared the set-piece, allowing Lawless to curl the ball from the left to Dan Potts at the back post. His header back across goal was met by Benson who nodded home from close range.
Marriott then saw a goal ruled out for offside after Lawless’ effort had come back off the post on 56 minutes, before the Town striker was denied by a fine full-length stop from the Wimbledon keeper on six minutes later.
With Justham barely tested in the second half the Hatters confirmed their superiority with a third and final goal five minutes from time. Right-back James Justin’s cross found Lawless and the midfielder had time and space in the penalty area to pick his spot to fire home – and that was that.
A pleased Awford told lutontown.co.uk afterwards: “I was happy with the performance overall because there were a lot of positives to take.
“The senior boys got valuable minutes under their belts and scored goal well-taken goals, while the younger boys came in and acquitted themselves really well.”
The Town dev squad are next in action away to Southend in the Final Third Development League Cup on Tuesday 6th October. Click here for the full fixture list.
Town dev: Justham; Justin, Potts, Okuonghae, O’Brien; Green, Lawless, Doyle (sub Musonda 60), Hall; Marriott (sub Atkinson 83), Benson (sub Murray 74). Sub not used: King.