Hatters fan Callum McIntyre's report on Tuesday's win
LUTON TOWN 4
Trialist (Wright) 41
DERBY COUNTY 1
By CALLUM MCINTYRE
A strong Hatters reserves side put a young Derby County development side to the sword on Tuesday afternoon – running out 4-1 winners at Kenilworth Road.
The game was a great opportunity for the players and trialists involved to show the Town coaching staff what they’re capable of as the 2016-17 Sky Bet League Two season reaches an exciting finale.
For the first 20 minutes the Hatters were fairly dominant, although they didn’t have much to show for their efforts until the 26th minute, when Jake Gray slotted the ball through to Jack Marriott, who struck the ball past Derby keeper Henrich Ravas to give the Town the lead.
With 34 minutes on the clock, Town conceded a free-kick 25 yards from goal which the visitors took full advantage of to bring the score level. Emil Riis Jakobsen took it, hitting the ball hard over the wall and into the bottom left corner past the Town’s trialist goalkeeper, Ben Killip from Norwich City.
Shortly after Derby equalised the Hatters upped the ante, looking to take control of the match once more.
Just before half-time, Jack Senior had passed the ball to Marriott, leaving the defence stranded. Marriott teed up the Town’s other trialist, ex-West Brom striker Andre Wright, who headed the ball into the bottom left corner from inside the County six-yard box to restore the hosts’ lead.
The start of the second half saw both sides struggle to create chances as the respective defences stood up to the questions asked by each other’s forwards.
In a ten-minute spell, the Town threw three substitutes into the action, with Joe Mead, Arthur Read and Zane Banton coming on for Johnny Mullins, Gray and Marriott.
With 78 minutes on the clock, Town gave themselves a two-goal lead after a very good passage of play that caught the opposition by surprise. Read created the chance, passing the ball into the path of O’Donnell, who crossed to Banton inside the visitors’ box. Everyone could only watch on as Banton virtually dribbled the ball between the posts to score.
The Hatters secured the win with a goal six minutes from time, as O’Donnell managed to lay on another assist for his team. The former Partick Thistle defender crossed the ball into Jonathan Smith, who side-footed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to ensure victory for the Hatters.
(Callum McIntyre is a 14-year-old Town fan and Lea Manor High School pupil who has been on work experience with the club's marketing & communications team this week)