Town kids net late winner to beat Dons

L13-256 Luton Town U18 team pic at LTFC training ground, Ely Way, Luton.'Mark wood'JR 10'2.3.13
L13-256 Luton Town U18 team pic at LTFC training ground, Ely Way, Luton.'Mark wood'JR 10'2.3.13

In their first game at Ely Way since early November Brett Longden late winner saw Luton Town U18s overcome AFC Wimbledon 4-3 in an entertaining game Youth Alliance game on Saturday.

That victory helped the Hatters to keep up the pressure on Watford and Leyton Orient at the top of the table.

Boss Paul Driver said: “This was a great game between two sides trying to play good football and we are delighted to have taken the three points to keep our hopes of the league alive which is great when you consider the line-up has two U16s in there and six first year boys - so we are young.

“The boys now have three really tough games to Bournemouth and Portsmouth - both away - and Southend (home) but we’ve come through the game without any injuries and have great back-up from the 16s and the older boys out on work experience if we need them.”

For the third game running Town named the same outfield line-up, but an illness to keeper Ben Barnes meant he was replaced by Josh Carpenter.

The Dons opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes with a powerful strike from 20 yards that went in off the underside of the cross bar giving Carpenter no chance.

The Hatters almost struck back immediately, but when Leeroy Maguraushe’s side-footed effort from a well-timed run at the back went just wide.

Town levelled though on 20 minutes when striker Zane Banton finished well after finding himself space in the box, to make it three goals in the last three games.

AFC had a goal ruled out for a foul on Carpenter two minutes later before an excellent move, started and finished by Jemale McKenzie-Lowe, put the hosts in front on 32 minutes.

The big striker won the ball in midfield and switched the ball to Luke Trottman who found Charlie Smith and his cross was finished by McKenzie-Lowe powerful header.

AFC Wimbledon always looked a threat and levelled when a dangerous cross was turned into his own net by Zac Jules just before the break.

The second half continued in the same vein with both teams looking dangerous going forward.

And it was the Hatters who retook the lead eight minutes in when Ian Rees was fouled in the box and Smith duly netted the spot-kick for his third goal in four games.

AFC replied with a penalty of their own just before the hour when Carpenter was adjudged to have fouled the oncoming striker and was booked.

Jerry Nash and Daril Ngwala replaced Maguaraushe and Banton, who were both carrying knocks, for the final 20 minutes.

And just when it seemed the game would end in a draw, a brilliant run and left-foot strike from Longden from outside the box flew into the top corner to win all three points for the Hatters.

Hatters Carpenter, Longden, Jibodu, Rees, Chabata, Jules, Trottman, Smith, McKenzie-Lowe, Banton (Ngwala 68), Maguraushe (Nash 68). Substitutes not Used: Kirkpatrick, Perry.