Tomlinson and James earn fledgling Hatters a draw with Canaries

Town youngster Connor Tomlinson
Town youngster Connor Tomlinson

Pre-season friendly: Hitchin Town 2 Luton Town 2

A youthful Hatters side hit back from 2-0 down at half time to earn a creditable 2-2 draw with Southern League Premier Division opponents Hitchin Town at Top Field this evening.

With the first team only just returning to pre-season training, Luton sent a fledgling side over to the Canaries for their first friendly, with just Akin Famewo, Frankie Musonda, Arthur Read and Kavan Cotter having played a senior game for the club.

Connor Tomlinson, Luton's youngest every player in their history also started, with the likes of Michael Shamalo, Corey Panter and Jack James featuring too.

Town had three trialists involved too, including a young goalkeeper between the posts, plus two midfielders as well.

However, they fell behind on 20 minutes when Brett Donnelly slipped a through ball that split Town's defence and Jack Brooks raced clear to fire low into the net.

Shamalo dragged an effort that was easy for home stopper Michael Johnson, before Hitchin doubled their lead when a cracking 25-yard effort from Lucas Kirkpatrick flew in off the post.

It looked like Luton would struggle to find a way back, but in front of watching manager Nathan Jones, they halved the deficit on the hour mark when Shamalo slipped in Tomlinson for a cool finish.

Buoyed by the introduction of further youngsters, including Josh Neufville and Drew Richardson, Luton grew strong and earned a deserved equaliser on 73 minutes, when Callum Stead battled valiantly to set up the impressive James who clipped his shot into the net.

Hatters almost won it too late on, as further fine work from Stead saw him dink a cross over to the far post, but Scott Belgrove was denied by an excellent save.

Speaking about the fixtures, Jones said: "The game came very early for our lads, especially the delay with the the play-offs, so we had to put our pre-season back slightly.

"But it's a great test for our lads a great test for Hitchim as they're a very energetic and enthusiastic side too."

Hatters: Trialist (Tiernan Parker 66), Jack James, Corey Panter (Toby Byron 66), Kavan Cotter (Drew Richardson 62), Frankie Musonda (Joe Mead 56), Akin Famewo (Ciaren Jones 56), Trialist, Connor Tomlinson (Josh Neufville 62), Michael Shamalo (Callum Stead 62), Trialist, Arthur Read (Scott Belgrove 62).

Hitchin: Michael Johnson, Conor Roberts, Ben Walster, Jay Dowie, Daniel Webb, Lewis Rolfe, Lucas Kirkpatrick, Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly, Liam Brooks, Josh Bickerstaff.

Subs: Jack Green, Martin Bennett, Connor Vincent, Callum Riley, Alasan Ann, Josh Coley, James Budden, Trey Charles, Danny Clifton, Kieran McCaffrey, Zachary Decker, Ricky Christie.

Referee: A Dale.

Attendance: 1,332.