Town are triumphant in tough test at Barton
BARTON ROVERS 2
LUTON TOWN 4
Atkinson 2, Vassell 44, Gentle OG 70, Hinds 85
The Hatters Development Side ran out winners in the Bedfordshire FA Premier Cup Final against Barton Rovers, but it wasn’t as easy as the scoreline might suggest.
Two goals in the first half without reply for Town for Alex Atkinson and Isaac Vassell, gave Andy Awford’s side a comfortable lead at half-time.
But two goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half for the hosts gave the Hatters a scare, but after some inspired substitutions, Town went on to score twice to kill the game off.
Alex Atkinson thought he had settled any pre-match nerves within 70 seconds of the start, after a fantastic piece of play between Jake Gray and Issac Vassell. The latter fed the former with a defence splitting pass, giving Gray plenty of time to pick out Atkinson who made a darting run into the Rovers’ box and could pass it into the net from five yards out.
The Hatters’ second goal was near enough a carbon copy of the first, minus Atkinson. Gray burst down the right side of the Rovers’ box, he fired in a low cross, which Vassell was able to smash in from six yards.
Speaking before the game, Development Team Manager, Andy Awford said: “It will give members of the development team a great opportunity to play alongside first team players, which will be great for their progress going forward.”
With the likes of new loan signing Alex Gilliead impressing with his neat dribbling and turn of pace, it obviously inspired substitute Freddie Hinds and Arthur Read, whose introduction on the hour mark proved to be pivotal.
The game took a twist though, as Awford’s side threw away their lead in a 10 minute spell.
Barton found a way back into the game six minutes after the break, after the visitors
failed to clear from a corner. The ball fell for striker Elliot Bailey two-yards from goal who smashed it beyond Liam Gooch and into the net to halve his side’s deficit.
With 60 minutes on the clock, Barton found an equaliser through Kay Bola. Once again the Hatters defence was exposed, this time from a cross from the right, as Bola was able to head in from close range after Town failed to clear.
That queued Awford to make a string of substitutions, including the introduction of Read and Hinds.
Read made an instant impact, driving into the box from the right, taking aim and fired, his effort took a deflection off a Barton defender, wrong footing the keeper as it spun into the bottom left corner, restoring the Hatters’ lead.
The win was sealed with five minutes left on the clock, as Hinds beat the offside trap smartly after a through ball from Atkinson, keeper Fulton stood little chance as Hinds had all the time in the world to pick his corner, which he did so, burying the ball in the bottom left corner.
The 4-2 victory meant that Luton won their 18th Beds FA Premier Cup Final, their fourth consecutive victory in the competition.
Luton Town starting XI: Gooch, Cotter, Musonda, Famewo, Bean, Bakinson, Gray (Hinds 60), Gilliead (Read 60), Atkinson, Banton, Vassell (James 60). Subs: Gordon-Stearn (GK), Murray.