Town U18s follow up Colchester draw with Stevenage win
Having earned a goalless draw at table-topping Colchester United last Saturday, Town followed that up with a 2-1 victory over Stevenage on Tuesday in the Youth Alliance.
Four points was a superb return from two excellent performances by Paul Driver’s young squad, which contained only Tinashe Chabata from the second year group and saw starts for a number of U16 players.
He said: “We saw two superb performances in these games and the first half at Stevenage, given that we had such a young group out compared to the opposition, was arguably our best 45 minutes of the season.
“I am particularly pleased for Alex Atkinson who showed what a prospect he is and I am really looking forward to working with him over the next two seasons.
“Osamu Allman just keeps getting better and better and the Stevenage game was probably the best I have seen Tinashe Chabata play all season.
“We’ll continue to use the younger lads for the rest of the season, while the older boys gain their experience in the senior game.
“That may mean that we relinquish the chance to win the league, but the older lads need kicking on now and, who knows, if the younger ones continue to play like that for the rest of the season, we may be close at the end.
“Even if we are not, we should beat last season’s points total and this lot will benefit massively from the experience of U18s games under their belts.”
There were few chances in a tight affair against Colchester with Atkinson, fresh from celebrating receiving a two-year scholarship, going the close for the Hatters with a long-range shot that went just over the bar.
Allman shot over when through one-on-one with the keeper, while Atkinson was again involved in the build-up to a cross and shot from Tuki Tayali which appeared to strike a defender’s arm, but Town’s penalty appeals were turned down.
Colchester’s best effort was a thunderous 30-yard drive that cannoned back off of Craig King’s bar to safety.
The U’s, meanwhile, had a clear penalty claim turned down in the second half when their striker seem to be pulled down by King, but the appeals were turned away as the game finished goalless.
Driver named the same outfield 10 for the Stevenage game and handed schoolboy keeper Liam Gooch a chance in goal, with King due to play for the Development Squad at Peterborough the following day.
A tremendous all-round team effort saw the Hatters lead 2-0 at the break with Gooch barely troubled.
Luke Trotman combined with Atkinson in the 16th minute and drove into the box to score, and the same two players then carved out a chance for Tuki Tayali to finish neatly from 10 yards.
Hatters continued to play well in the second half and created some good chances, with Trotman always involved.
A four-man breakaway saw the impressive Allman set up Daril Ngwala with five minutes to go, but the striker’s effort went just wide.
The nerves were made to jangle when the hosts pulled a goal back in injury time from the penalty spot, but Hatters held on to record a deserved victory.
Hatters Teams for both games: King/Gooch, Trotman, Perry, Justin, Chabata, Hawkes, Atkinson, Alderson, Allman, Ngwala, Tayali. Substitutes Musunda, Craig, Leadbeater, Amadi.