The Hatters progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup after a devastating first-half performance ended Brentwood Town’s hopes under the lights at Kenilworth Road.
Striker Connor Tomlinson bagged all four goals inside the opening half-hour as the youngest player in the club’s senior history ran amok against the Non-League side from Essex.
Tomlinson had his first in the 11th minute when, after a passing move that started at the back with goalkeeper Tiernan Parker, Jones got down the right, put in a low cross and Tomlinson produced a neat near post finish.
A carbon copy involving the same Town duo produced the second five minutes later, and within another minute, Tomlinson had completed his treble, Josh Neufville setting him up for a right-footed finish from 12 yards out.
By the 29th minute he had his and his side’s fourth, this time latching onto a fine through ball to dink his shot over the onrushing Brentwood keeper Robert Horgan from the edge of the box.
Two great chances soon followed for Josh Neufville, the second saved by Horgan with legs after the Hatters winger stayed on his feet despite being fouled by Joe Debell as he cut in from the left, before the winger cut in and stung the keeper’s hands with a 25-yarder in the 35th minute.
Horgan was soon denying Josh Boorn too, before he set up his strike partner Tomlinson for what looked like being number five – but this time his curling effort from outside the box was just too high.
Horgan prevented Tomlinson getting that fifth in the dying seconds of the first half with another good save, before Parker was called into action for the first time at the other end, racing off his line to deny Jake Alderton a clear shot on goal as he latched onto a throughball on the edge of the Hatters area.
A scrappy start to the swcond half saw Hatters defenders Dequane Wilson-Braithwaite, Toby Byron and Jones go into referee Joel Mannix’s notepad, along with Joe Gregory of Brentwood, who had Tom Puleston to thank for a perfectly timed tackle to prevent a rampaging Neufville getting a clear run n goal.
Jonas Kalonda shot straight at Horgan in the 53rd minute, before Brentwood started to come into the game just before the hour, Brandon Wood forcing Parker into a save from a 25-yard free-kick and Ryain Metsha heading over from close range.
Their captain, Max Prior, then went on a surging run from midfield and extended Parker once again with their best move of the night, trading passes midway through and bursting past Corey Panter into the box.
Debell was soon into the ref’s book for a late challenge on the flying Neufville, who was soon shooting over, Tomlinson twice went close again – denied the second time by Horgan – before Brentwood were handed a goal.
Hatters sub Lewis Swindells fired a backpoass that was too sharp for Parker to deal with, and the keeper played it straight to Brentwood sub Frankie Goodall, who slotted into an empty net.
Horgan was in action again within minutes to keep out a Drew Richardson shot at his near post, then Parker was at full stretch to prevent Goodall’s deflected 20-yarder nestling in the bottom corner of his net, before tipping over Wood’s shot that was destined for the top corner in the 87th minute.
Puleston was next to test his own keeper, Horgan reacting brilliantly to push his team-mate’s sliding clearance from Tomlinson’s low cross around the post, before having to do likewise around the other post from his centre-half Forbes.
The visiting keeper was off his line quickly to smother Town sub Coree Wilson’s attempted shot in injury-time, as the Hatters had to settle for four and progress to an away tie against Hullbridge Sports or Peterborough United.
TOWN: Parker, Jones, Wilson-Braithwaite (Swindells), Panter, Byron, Kalonda (Wilson), Peck, Richardson, Neufville, Boorn (Lucas), Tomlinson. Subs: Nicolson, Holden (GK).
Goals: Tomlinson 11, 16, 17, 29
Yellows: Wilson-Braithwaite, Byron, Jones
BRENTWOOD: Horgan, Debell, Gregory, Prior ©, Forbes, Puleston, Alderton (Reed), Mahdi (Goodall), Metsha (Long), Campbell, Wood. Subs: Sen, Carr.
Goals: Goodall 73
Yellows: Gregory, Debell
REFEREE: Joel Mannix