Awford’s delight as young Hatters defeat Wolves

Andy Awford
Andy Awford

Town’s Academy and Development manager Andy Awford was a proud man after a youthful Luton XI won 1-0 at Championship opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday afternoon.

The Hatters took on Wolves’ Category 1 Academy side at the Sir Jack Hayward training ground and emerged with another excellent victory thanks to Freddie Hinds’ first-half goal.

Wolves fielded two different sides in each half with recent signings Ola John, the Dutch international on a season-long loan from Benfica – who paid nine million euros for his services in 2012 – and Moroccan international midfielder Romain Saiss, who joined from French Ligue 1 side Angers for a reported fee of £3m.

Zane Banton was the most experienced player in the Hatters line-up, with recent signing from Huddersfield, Jack Senior, making an impressive first appearance at left-back.

Awford told the club’s official website: “Wolves play in a Cat One development league – an Under-23 league – so with it being a friendly they used it as an opportunity to experiment with one or two things, and I knew they might use one or two first-team players coming back from injury to give them game time.

“It gave our young players another great opportunity to go up against a Cat 1 Under-23 side sprinkled with Championship players. They came through it and won the game again, which I was delighted about.

“We were excellent as in the first half we were by far the better team. We looked very compact, we didn’t have too many troubles defensively and we looked a threat when we had the ball.

“Every time we had it, the front two, the midfield support and the full-backs joining in looked really good and I was really pleased with what I saw.

“We deservedly got the lead and maybe deserved a little bit more than 1-0.

“In the second half, they changed the whole team and our lads flagged a little bit – we’ve had a lot of games lately for them, which is why we put five subs on and made the changes around 60-70 minutes to get the lads off who’ve had a lot of football lately.

Then you’re even younger than when you started. “At the end of the game we had five first-year apprentices on the pitch, so it was really good. Fair play to Wolves, they had the upper hand for the last half-an-hour and had a couple of chances.

“Kingy made one very good save, but we saw it out and I was pleased we managed to hold out for the win. Away from home, you’ve got to dig in sometimes, and we did. There was all the nice stuff in the first half, and then afterwards they showed real good character to see the game out.”

Luton: Craig King, Jack James (Joe Mead 65), Jack Senior, Tyreeq Bakinson, Frankie Musonda, Ciaren James, Kavan Cotter (Scott Belgrove 70), Zane Banton (Geo Craig 70), Freddie Hinds (George Murray 70), Alex Atkinson, Arthur Read (Kitan Sorunke 55).