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TOWN YOUNGSTERS IMPRESS DRIVER DESPITE DEFEAT

30 January 2016

Young Under-18 side lose to Northampton

A Town Under-18 side including four under-15s were beaten by a full-strength Northampton at Lea Manor on Saturday morning.


Hatters boss Paul Driver only fielded two of his full-time scholars – first years Josh Brown and James Verney – and the rest of the side was made-up of under-16s and under-15s from the Town’s academy.


The Town trailed to a controversial free-kick in the first half before Verney and Scott Belgrove both had half-chances.


After the break the Michael Shamola had the Hatters’ best chance of an equaliser when hitting the post, but the young Hatters ran out of puff as the Cobblers scored twice more to run out 3-0 winners.


However, Driver was encouraged by the youngsters’ performance against players two or three years older than them.


“This week was about winning and development,” said the youth boss. “Winning at Oldham on Wednesday and then introducing a young group to under-18 football today.


“It was a good test for the boys and they did really well. Some of the passing was tremendous at times.


“We battled well and overall it was a good exercise. It was a learning curve for them all and I came away thinking to myself there’s a lot of potential there.”


The game was the Hatters’ final game in the Youth Alliance South East division and only their third defeat of the campaign.


The Merit Division – which will combine the top teams from the South West and South East – will begin in February. Fixture details to follow in due course.


Town U18s: Gordon-Stead; Mead, Jones, Panter (sub Tomlinson 77); Brown, Peck, Shamola, Read, Sorunke; Belgrove (sub Neufville 60), Verney.


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