Hatters kids chime in Portsmouth victory

Luton Town’s U18s continuued their fantastic start to the season with a 4-2 victory over last season’s Youth Allicance champions Portsmouth.

On their first game on the new Ely Way surface Arel Amu provided the spark as Town fought back from a goal down to triumph.

Boss Paul Driver said: “Result-wise, this was a superb victory. Portsmouth won the league last season and have started well and, like us, have the vast majority of last season’s team available to them so to reverse the defeat at the end of last season was pleasing.

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“We probably deserved to go in a goal down at half time as we were not disciplined enough in our play but the boys responded well to the information given to them during the break and were excellent in the second half.

“While everyone upped their game, Arel was the difference for us, for sure, and he gave them problems all half - creating one for Zane (Banton) and winning the penalty.

“We now need to keep working hard to maintain the good start to the season as we go into the FA Youth Cup and League Cup campaigns in and around the league programme itself and we feel we have a squad that is capable of having a good go at all three if we can keep everyone fit.”

Driver made one change to the starting line up that won the previous week at Orient with Daril Ngwala getting the nod ahead of Osamu Allman who dropped to the bench, which included the return of Leeroy Maguraushe and Lee Hawkes from injury.

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An even first half saw some excellent football played by both sides with the visitors looking particularly dangerous on the break.

However, Town suffered an early blow when Harry Tamplin injured his ankle and was replaced by Hawkes.

The half had few clear-cut chances and Portsmouth took the lead when a shot from distance rebounded to their striker just avoided being offside and finished well past the onrushing Ben Barnes in the Luton goal.

Charlie Smith picked out a good move from Jemale McKenzie-Lowe who controlled well, but was prevented from getting his shot off by the impressive Whatmough at the heart of the Pompey defence.

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Banton was then slotted through and rounded keeper Raine, but was unable to steer his shot into the goal.

The Hatters were much improved after the break and nearly drew level on 58 minutes when Amu’s shot was parried into the path of McKenzie-Lowe, but his effort went just over the bar.

The goal wasn’t long in coming for the big striker though, and he made no mistake with his strike from eight yards in the 61st minute.

Town then took the lead when Amu drove into the Pompey box and his drilled crossed was headed home by Banton at the back post.

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Leeroy Maguraushe replaced Ngwala on 68 minutes for his first outing of the regular season and the lead was extended shortly when Amu was upended as he again drove into the box.

Smith duly converted the spot-kick - his third in three games - to make the score 3-1.

Tuki Tayali replaced McKenzie-Lowe for the last 12 minutes as Pompey pulled a goal back with six minutes left.

However, any nerves were eased though as Luke Trottman’s strike from the edge of the box flew into the top of the net to restore Luton’s two-goal cushion and make the final score the reverse of the last weekend defeat in Portsmouth in April.

Hatters: Barnes, Trottman, Galliford, Rees, Chabata, Tamplin (Hawkes 18), Amu, Ngwala (Maguraushe 68), McKenzie-Lowe (Tayali 78), Banton, Smith. Substitutes not used: King, Allman.

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