Beds Premier Cup final, Biggleswade Town 1 Luton Town 3
Luton Town won the Beds Premier Cup after a comfortable 3-1 victory at Southern Premier League side Biggleswade Town this evening.
While the silverware was an added bonus for Hatters, far more important was the 90 minutes received by influential midfielder Luke Guttridge ahead of Saturday’s League Two opener at Carlisle United.
As expected, the 32-year-old looked a class above Town’s opposition throughout the game, and will now surely be in boss John Still’s plans for the trip to Cumbria.
Andy Parry was given his first taste of action too, with long-term absentee Danny Fitzsimons also starting, as did recent additions Ricky Miller and Charlie Walker, while young full back Luke Trotman was handed the captain’s armband.
The hosts enjoyed a superb start as straight from kick off, Mark Onyemah failed to cut out a ball to winger Craig Daniel.
He advanced into the box and with a covering challenge nowhere in sight, proceeded to beat Elliot Justham with a delightful outside of the boot finish.
Town were almost level instantly, as a backheel found Miller and his shot drew a smart save from Tom Gowans, before the linesman’s flag saw trialist Kynan Isaac’s classy effort cancelled out.
It took just 10 minutes for Hatters to equalise though as a long ball forward saw Gowans come charging out of his area.
Walker was always favourite to reach the ball first though and he did just that, before looping a delightful lob into the net from an acute angle.
The summer signing almost had a second from Guttridge’s cross, heading against the bar, while Parry showed fantastic powers of recovery to divert a dangerous cross behind at full stretch as Stuart Farrell semed destined to score.
Walker tested Gowans once more with a snap shot, but it wasn’t long before Town had turned the deficit around.
On 27 minutes, Guttridge’s free kick found an unmarked Miller in the area. His shot was blocked on the line, before Parry’s first attempt drew a fine reaction save from Gowans, but the defender then absolutely leathered the rebound into the roof of the net.
Town had the majority of play for the remainder of the half, Guttridge volleying over and Miller sending a free kick narrowly wide.
Biggleswade did have the ball in the net in the closing stages through Cam Mawer, but that was ruled out for offside.
Parry was replaced at the break after completing 45 minutes as Harry Tamplin took his place.
Isaac sent a shot inches past the post and Miller volleyed off target, before Walker missed a gilt edged chance to make it 3-1, scuffing badly wide from 10 yards out.
Walker then turned provider, as his dinked cross was headed just over the bar by the stretching Miller.
Waders had barely threatened since their early opener, but Daniel almost notched his second, speeding past Onyemah and drawing a fine block from Justham.
Town made two changes as the half progressed, Dave Martin and Zane Banton replacing Isaac and Walker.
It was Martin who created the third as some delightful wing play saw him get to the byline and unleash the perfect delivery for Miller to volley beyond Gowans to clinch victory.
Waders: Tom Gowans, Max York, Mark Coulson, Cam Mawer, Evan Key, Lee Allinson (George Bates 46), Craig Daniel, Lee Reed (Jon Woolf 60), Stuart Farrell, Jordan Davis (Dan Harper 80), Sam Reed (Lee Smith 50, Charlie Fawarle 89).
Hatters: Elliot Justham, Luke Trotman (C), Mark Onyemah, Danny Fitzsimons, Andy Parry (Harry Tamplin 46), Solomon Taiwo, Ian Rees, Kynan Isaac (Dave Martin 76), Luke Guttridge, Charlie Walker (Zane Banton 75), Ricky Miller.
Sub not used: Craig King.
Referee: Tom Rodderham.