Pre-season friendly: Bedford Town 0 Luton Town 9
An 11-minute hat-trick from striker Jack Marriott was the highlight as Luton Town ran riot in their first pre-season outing on domestic soil, thumping Southern League Division One Central side Bedford Town 9-0 at the New Eyrie this afternoon.
Marriott, who only came on for the second half, scored with clinical finishes on 52, 55 and 63 minutes, as the Hatters were far too strong for their opponents, who ply their trade four leagues below the League Two visitors.
Boss Nathan Jones picked a strong side to begin with, giving run-outs to summer signings Christian Walton, Johnny Mullins, Jordan Cook, Alan Sheehan and Danny Hylton.
Trialists Lewis Kinsella and Isaac Vassell were included on the bench too, after both have been training with the club recently following their releases from Aston Villa and Truro City respectively.
As expected, Luton were dominant from the word go, showcasing an excellent tempo and willingness to get forward, against their hosts, who contained ex-Luton midfielder Adam Watkins, plus former youth teamers Lee Hawkes and Devante Stanley, as they took the lead on just five minutes with a wonderful goal.
Olly Lee’s crossfield pass was brought out of the sky by James Justin, with his second touch a perfect cross that was met by the onrushing Dan Potts of all people, who powered a header beyond Sam Wyer and into the net.
It was a strike new addition Hylton would have been proud of and he stretched his neck muscles moments later, directing Sheehan’s cross wide, before Sheehan himself fired wide from distance.
Luton were looking good in the opening salvos, deploying a 4-1-3-2 formation, and with 15 minutes gone were inches away from a second as Cook motored away, released the over-lapping McGeehan whose cross was just missed by Josh McQuoid at full stretch.
McGeehan then tried his luck from eight yards after Justin’s attacking run down the right as his fierce left-footer draw a superb stop from Wyer, the flying keeper tipping his effort on to the post.
Wyer was then called upon again, as his clearance was seized upon by Lee in his own half, the keeper frantically back-tracking to pluck Town midfielder’s punt goalwards out of the sky.
Luton’s second arrived on 27 minute though when Justin was fouled on another foray down the right and from the free kick, Sheehan’s fizzing delivery was flicked home by McQuoid.
Chances came and went for Cook and McGeehan, while Hylton beat the hesitant Wyer to a ball over the top but couldn’t direct his header goalwards, before trying to catch the keeper out at his near post, who recovered in time.
It was 4-0 on the stroke of half time as Hylton got the goal his all-round play deserved, when McQuoid was felled by Wyer, allowing the summer signings to sidefoot home the penalty.
Hatters made 10 outfield changes for the second half, with both trialists Kinsella and Vassell on, along with youngsters Akin Famewo, Frankie Musonda, Tyreeq Bakinson and Zane Banton.
Any thoughts the newlook visitors would take a while to find their stride though were soon put to bed when Banton found space in the area to glance home Stephen O’Donnell’s cross beyond replacement keeper Adam Harpur.
Marriott was also quickly on the scoresheet, in some style too, bending a beautiful shot from outside the area over Harpur and into the top corner.
With 55 on the clock, Luton had an seventh when Marriott’s speedy run on the left was finished spectacularly past his own keeper by Lee Hawkes.
Hatters continued to cut their hosts’ defence open with ease, grabbing two more goals in quick succession, as Marriott turned home Banton’s corner for his second.
Town’s leading scorer from last season then completed a 11-minute hat-trick as he collected a through ball, went clear and easily slotted beyond Harpur to make it 9-0.
Walton was then been replaced by Liam Gooch, with Marriott off for Alex Atkinson, as all of Town’s young starlets impressed, in particular Bakinson, utilised in a more attacking role this time, plus young centre half Famewo, who will surely be the next to pen a pro deal at Kenilworth Road.
Hatters threatened double figures with Jonathan Smith off target, while Bakinson was closer than most, powering one over the top and seeing a low daisycutter well claimed by Harpur, but they declared at nine, in what was an excellent workout for all concerned ahead of a trip to Boreham Wood on Tuesday night.
Eagles: Sam Wyer, Devante Stanley, Matt Clifford, James Peter (C), Lee Hawkes, Luke Knight, Marcus Campbell, Josh Beech, Adam Watkins, Danny Watson, Phil Draycott.
Subs: Josh Bamford, Jaiden Irish, Bruno Brito, George Boland, Dominic Morgillo, Aaron Opoku, Tom Roberts, Ben Farrell, Adam Harpur.
Hatters: Christian Walton, James Justin, Dan Potts, Johnny Mullins, Alan Sheehan, Olly Lee, Cameron McGeehan, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Jordan Cook, Danny Hylton, Josh McQuoid.
Second half: Christian Walton (Liam Gooch 60), Stephen O’Donnell, Akin Famewo, Lewis Kinsella, Glen Rea, Frankie Musonda, Jonathan Smith, Tyreeq Bakinson, Zane Banton, Jack Marriott (Alex Atkinson 75), Isaac Vassell.
Referee: Mr G Muge.