The young Hatters suffered their third defeat of the season
Leyton Orient Youth 5
Luton Town Youth 3
A spirited comeback from Paul Driver’s youth team wasn’t enough to knock unbeaten league leaders Leyton Orient off their perch on Saturday morning, as the Hatters slipped to their third defeat of the season at Woodford Green.
After going 3-0 down within the opening 20 minutes, Town netted twice before half-time and equalised on the hour mark, but two goals in seven minutes from the hosts consigned the Hatters to a 5-3 defeat.
With the Hatters taking on Barnet in the FA Youth Cup First Round on Tuesday (7pm kick-off at The Hive), Driver rested a number of key players.
Akin Famewo was left out, whilst Freddie Hinds, Kavan Cotter, Arthur Read and Jack James all started as substitutes from the side that had beaten Stevenage in the League Cup the week prior.
The hosts stormed into a two-goal lead within the first four minutes with two close range finishes, giving debutant Lewis Todd in the Hatters net no chance.
A third was added in the 19th minute when an unmarked header from a wide free-kick was bundled over the line from close range.
Midway through the half, the Hatters were sparked into action by Jack Snelus when his 25th minute speculative strike from 30 yards was flapped into the net by the home keeper.
Just two minutes later, Snelus received a pass from Tyreeq Bakinson and his shot from the edge of the box took a slight deflection to beat the Orient keeper.
Todd was called into action three times in as many minutes to keep Orient’s lead to one goal. Firstly, he tipped away from a corner to deny the incoming attacker with the chance to head home. Then a one-on-one save denied the Orient striker from close range before a shot from just inside the box was tipped over.
Snelus then nearly completed the comeback and his hat-trick in the 39th minute from a quick corner routine but his chance went just over.
A bright start to the second half saw Orient have an early chance to extend their lead but Todd denied the hosts with his legs.
Moments later, a Snelus free-kick was nodded down by Ciaren Jones to Michael Shamalo but his hooked shot flew just wide.
The Hatters drew level in the 59th minute when a quick Kitan Sorunke throw to Harry Bean allowed the full-back to cross into the box and Geo Craig spun his man and smashed the ball home from the angle of the six-yard box.
With their tails up, the Hatters continued to press and a Shamalo shot from the edge of the box was deflected over the bar.
Orient sealed their win though with two goals in the 63rd and 70th minutes from close range finishes from crosses.
The goals clearly knocked the Hatters and they couldn’t get back into the game for a second time.
Speaking after the game, Driver said: "Today was, as you can imagine, not a game for the defensive purists with both teams looking like they would concede time and again.
“I was pleased with the initial comeback, as we could have crumbled at 3-0 so early in the game, but our defending just has to get better.
“We keep making the same mistakes at the back time and again and that's just not good enough. It has to improve quickly if we are going to move forward individually and as a team.”
Town: Todd, Sorunke, Bean (c), Bakinson (Cotter 60), Jones, Mead, Murray, Shamalo, Craig, Snelus (Read 77), Belgrove (Hinds 83). Subs Not Used: James, Panter (GK)
The youth team’s next action is at Barnet tomorrow night in the FA Youth Cup first round. Kick-off at The Hive is 7pm.