Full-time scholars return to beat Gills
The Town Under-18s recorded their first win of the Merit League as second half goals from James Verney and James Justin saw off Gillingham at Ely Way.
For the first time since the turn of the year manager Paul Driver named an experienced side in Youth Alliance competition, having previous blooded under-15 and 16 players in previous weeks.
And the side containing all the full-time scholars were good value for their win over the Gills – their first over the Kent club in three attempts this season.
Verney opened the scoring shortly before the hour mark when racing onto Jack Snelus’s throughball and slotting home a cool left-foot finish.
The lead was then doubled to put the Hatters in control on 74 minutes when Cameron McJannet’s cut-back from the left was tapped home by Justin from close range.
The Town defence was rarely threatened which enabled goalkeeper Liam Gooch to keep his 20th clean sheet of the season.
A delighted Driver told lutontown.co.uk: “It was an excellent performance and a very pleasing result.
“We’re beginning to play out from the back but it’s good to see that when we lose the ball we do well to get it back.
“On another day it could have been three or four – and they know they need to be a bit more clinical – but the most important thing for me was from a mental and physiological point of view: this was the boys’ first Saturday afternoon game since 2nd January.
“They adapted well to the conditions – some of the boys’ have only played evening games in stadiums for the past six weeks – but their application and attitude was spot on.”
Town: Gooch; Justin, McJannet, McGhan-George, Bean; Brown, Bakinson, Snelus, Murray (sub Cotter 75), Atkinson; Verney.
Subs not used: Hinds, Famewo, Ellis.