Luton legends turn on the style to vanquish Villains

Legends Friendly: Luton Town Legends 8 (1) Aston Villa Old Stars 1 (1)

Hat-tricks from ex-Hatter Liam George and youth team coach Scott Smith helped the Hatters romp to an easy 8-1 victory over Aston Villa Old Stars at Kenilworth Road this afternoon, writes Mark Wood.

Former star defender Marvin Johnson and John Dreyer were also on target in the rout as star-studded Luton Town Legends from across the years, jointly manager by Kirk ‘Basher’ Stephens and Jake Findlay, ran amok against the Villa old boys.

A slow-paced encounter saw both teams try to play football with Luton going close on five minutes when a cross by Mitchell Thomas was poked wide by Graham Alexander.

And Luton took the lead with a lovely goal on nine minutes when Alexander turned provider and his cross was headed home by George.

A fine tackle by Lil Fuccillo denied Ian King on 16 minutes before Jack Ambler pulled off a great save to deny Mark Kinsella on 14 minutes.

Villa’s number seven was causing plenty of problems and John Faulkner was withdrawn for Dreyer midway through the half.

The Midlands side though levelled on 29 minutes when good work by Darren Bradley created the chance for King to fire home the equaliser.

An even encounter saw George drag an effort wide on the half-hour and seconds later the linesman’s flag saved the visitors when their keeper cleared straight to George who teed up Scott Oakes to fire home, only to have it ruled out for offside.

Alexander won a free-kick on the edge of the box just before the break, but his curler dipped just over bar.

Town made three changes at the interval bringing on current assistant manager Alan Neilson, Gavin McGowan and youth team coach Smith.

The Hatters started the second half brightly, keeper Derek Dudley just beating Robinson to Alexander’s through ball before the former Northern Ireland international had a shot saved after good work by former fans favourite Oakes and Alexander.

Kinsella fired a well-placed free-kick into the wall after a foul by Dreyer and his rebound was straight at the keeper.

Dave Morton threatened but Neilson got in a telling touch, while at the other end Oakes’ effort was spilled but no-one was there to turn in the loose ball.

But Luton did regain the lead when Alexander’s 47th-minute effort escaped the keeper’s clutches and George was on hand to tap home.

And it was three two minutes later when Robinson’s cross finally found its way to Smith whose low shot snuck past the keeper.

With the hosts well on top, a well-worked Villa moved ended in Morton driving a great chance over on 51 minutes, before Town added a fourth two minutes later when Robinson’s pass set Smith free and his low drive across the face of goal found the far corner.

A cute George pass put Alexander away and he unselfishly looked to the offside Smith at the far post, but he couldn’t connect properly with his volley, while Kinsella’s venomous drive at the other end was easily saved.

However, George won the hat-trick race when the ball fell to him in the box and he calmly curled home Town’s fifth before being replaced by Johnson who soon had shouts for a penalty turned down after a lovely turn on the edge of the box.

Joint manager Findlay replaced Ambler in goal on 61 minutes and the gloveless keeper was soon into the action falling on a loose ball in the box.

With many of the players visibly tiring the Hatters added a sixth on 62 minutes when Julian James’ cross was turned home by skipper Johnson and a seventh followed two minutes late when Johnson slipped through Smith and he finished with aplomb.

Substitute Micky Adams sent a late free-kick dipping over the bar for the visitors before, with three minutes to go, Alexander’s cross picked out Dreyer and he thumped home his header at the far post.

Johnson went close again in the dying moments when his header from Oakes’ corner clipped the bar on its way over as Town ran out easy winner.

Hatters: Jack Ambler (Jake Findlay 61), Julian James, Mitchell Thomas (Gavin McGowan 36), Kevin Watson, Marvin Johnson (C, Alan Neilson 36), Steve Robinson, Scott Oakes, Graham Alexander, Liam George (Marvin Johnson 59), Lil Fuccillo (Scott Smith 36), John Faulkner (John Dreyer 22).

Villains: Derek Dudley, Jon Pearson, Gavin Price, Ryan Hastie, AndyGardner (Mick Adams 59), Darren Bradley, Ian King, Mark Kindella (C), Dave Morton, John Capaldi, Paul Sanderson.