Mix and match Hatters entertain Still in county cup win over AFC Dunstable

The goal-fest between Luton Town and AFC Dunstable at Creasey Park on Wednesday night could have ended 12-12 if it had gone to extra-time according to Hatters boss John Still, writes Mark Wood.

AFC Dunstable v Luton Town. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 47.
AFC Dunstable v Luton Town. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 47.

Town eventually prevailed 7-5 against their Molten Spartan SML Premier Division hosts in the first round of the Bedfordshire Senior Cup thanks to hat-tricks from young guns Zane Banton and Jemale McKenzie-Lowe and a David Viana strike.

Still, who looked on from the sidelines, said: “7-5, if there had been extra-time it could have been 12-12 it was one of them games wasn’t it. I can’t speak for them, but I think for us we had a few of the young ones in, and we like all the young ones, but sometimes the combinations... we haven’t worked it, we’ve brought them together

“Sometimes in the development games we will have a session or two before with the team that might play. Because we used a few of the young ones, it wasn’t quite possible to do that, and I think that we lacked a bit of balance, particularly when we changed it defensively and changed another one of the young ones over.

“We took JJ (O’Donnell) off at half time, I think we were leading 3-1 at half time, we made another change with one the centre-halves and probably defensively we weren’t as capable as we would normally be.”

Town named first-teamers Solomon Taiwo, Matt Robinson and O’Donnell in their starting XI, but it was the youngsters who really caught the eye.

And Still was impressed, as he said: “It’s important the young ones get a chance to try and show where they are for us and two of the young ones got hat-tricks for us, Zane (Banton) and Jemale McKenzie-Lowe.

“So they showed their capabilities. I think Charlie Smith, when he played first half further up the pitch wide left showed his capabilities. I was quite pleased with that, Brett Longden who hasn’t been around because he’s been out on loan, at right-back, I thought was more than capable and I thought all of the senior players did OK.

“Taiwo had to come off injured, but I thought they all did OK. I thought because it was a bit mix and match at the back our understanding wasn’t quite as good, but we scored seven goals and the two kids up front…”

It was a gutsy performance from AFC, but BJ Christie’s double alongside goals from Craig Butler, James Bishop and Hayden Wills, couldn’t prevent Luton from retaining the David Preece Memorial Trophy on the night.

Caretaker AFC manager Kevin Taylor was proud of the way his side responded after their 2-1 home defeat to Biggleswade United in the league at the weekend.

He added: “After Saturday’s game it would have been easy for the players to hide and go missing in a contest in which AFC should not have stood a chance against a team of professionals.

“However, that wasn’t the case and each and every one of them did themselves proud in an eventful game.

“On the night there were some great individual performances and the team are certainly heading in the right direction.

“The players were a credit to me and the club and should be proud of themselves for the effort and performance they put in against a very good Luton side.

“After last night’s performance, confidence should be sky high for when we travel to Holmer Green on Saturday.”