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YOUTH REPORT: HATTERS 2-0 NORTHAMPTON TOWN

5 September 2016

Paul Driver's side won their fourth game in five, bouncing back from their defeat to Peterborough

The Hatters Youth Team completed a brilliant week with a 2-0 win against their counterparts from Northampton Town at Ely Way on Saturday morning.
 
The team took on a lot younger look than usual, with Kavan Cotter and Tyreeq Bakinson rested after their exploits at Gillingham in the week with the first team. Akin Famewo was called up to the first team for their match against Wycombe Wanderers, with Cameron McJannet no longer part of the side after he joined Stoke City on deadline day, although he was at Ely Way watching on.

Youth team boss Paul Driver gave starts to U16s Toby Byron and record breaking Connor Tomlinson, who came on against Gillingham in the Checkatrade trophy against Gillingham to become the youngest ever player to make an appearance for the Hatters’ first team.  

Returning to the starting line-ups after injuries were George Murray and a strike partnership of Scott Belgrove and Freddie Hinds.
 
Belgrove was in the action in the opening seconds, closing down the visiting keeper straight from kick-off and nearly stealing the ball from him for a chance to score.
 
This set the tone for the first half in general as the Hatters pressed high for the ball and created a number of good chances. The best saw Belgrove through on goal but he poked his shot just wide of the far post.
 
Visiting keeper, James Goff had to make a smart save from an Arthur Reed free-kick, whilst Hinds had a couple of shots from distance that went just over the top.
 
Northampton got back into things as the half came to a close and only a sharp reaction save from Gordon-Stearn stopped them taking the lead.
  
The first goal came in the 50th minute when Belgrove again, pressed the Northampton defence on the edge of their box stealing possession and curled the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.
 
A second followed in the 65th minute when a shot from Arthur Read was parried by Goff, but Tomlinson was first to the ball as he headed into the open net from six yards out.
 
A triple substitution followed with the front three being replaced by Under 16s Jake Peck, James Verney and Geo Craig.  Jack James came on for Ciaren Jones and the hardworking George Murray made way for Kitan Sorunke as Driver made use of the new five substitute ruling for Youth Alliance fixtures.
 
As the time ran out in the game, Northampton looked dangerous on the break and from set-plays, but the Hatters were able to deal with the danger.
 
The Town held firm, as they completed their fourth victory in five games and now sit second in the table, behind an unbeaten Leyton Orient side.
 
Full Time:  Luton Town Youth 2-0 Northampton Town Youth
 
Luton Team: Gordon-Stearn, Bean (c), Jones (James 60), Murray (Sorunke 81), Mead, Byron, Read, Snelus, Tomlinson (Peck 67), Hinds (Verney 67), Belgrove (Craig 67).
 
Paul Driver spoke to lutontown.co.uk afterwards and was pleased with the team's performance after last week’s defeat to Peterborough.

He said: "This was the perfect performance to build upon Tuesday night’s loss to the Gills. The younger scholars all did well, the injured lads coming back looked good and got through the game OK and it is a testament to the strength in depth we have that two Under 16s played and both looked comfortable at this level.
 
“The older lads stepped up today and we need this from them when they play in the league games after getting bits for the 21s so we can them kick them on in that group.  Jack Snelus got on the ball and made things happen, Harry Bean bossed the back four and George Murray was superb in a different role for him as a defensive central midfielder.  Also, Joe Mead was strong at the heart of the defence.
 
“I was particularly pleased for Connor [Tomlinson] getting his first goal for us, and Ciaran Gordon-Stearn for his first clean sheet of the season."


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