Inexperienced Luton Town U18s went down to a 1-0 home defeat to Northampton Town in the Youth Alliance League Cup at Ely Way on Saturday.
Victory saw the Cobblers clinch victory in the league to progress to the knockout stages.
Boss Paul Driver used the game to give all of the first year scholars a competitive start as Town named a much-changed team to the one that had progressed into the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup in midweek.
Driver said: “The boys did very well in the first half and I thought we edged that. They understandably tired in the second half but kept plugging away and could have grabbed a point. Overall, though, I can see the progress the first years are making as a group and as individuals so I am pleased on that front.”
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Town started well and looked composed in possession in the first half. The best chance fell to Daril Ngwala who went through from a good move, but the keeper saved one-on-one.
The Cobblers started well after the break and took the lead on 51 minutes. A shot deflected off Harry Tamplin and forced a smart reaction save by Craig King and, with the ball going into the air, Keiran Fitzgerald beat Tinashe Chabata to touch the ball home with more than a hint of handball involved.
Luton’s best chance to level came two minutes from time when Kane Smith, from the Baldock Development Squad, found space in the box but his effort went over the bar.
Hatters: King, Hawkes, Perry, Galliford, Tamplin, Chabata, Ngwala, Allman, Rees (K Smith 61), Tayali, Amadi. Substitutes not used: Barnes, Amu, C Smith, McKenzie-Lowe.