Youthful Hatters edge past Canaries at Top Field

Luton striker Isaac Vassell

Luton striker Isaac Vassell

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Striker Isaac Vassell netted his first goal in a Luton shirt as a youthful Hatters team won 1-0 at Southern League Premier Division neighbours Hitchin Town on Tuesday evening.

The visitors picked a side containing many who had come through the ranks at Kenilworth Road including James Justin, Frankie Musonda, Tyreeq Bakinson, Akin Famewo and Craig King.

In an even opening period, Bakinson had the game’s first shot on goal on 10 minutes, firing at home keeper Zac Barrett from 25 yards.

Hitchin weren’t without their chances though as Robbie Burns saw his header land on the roof of the net, while King was forced to save Matt Lench’s low shot.

Bakinson went close again before the deadlock was broken on 36 minutes when Freddie Hinds crossed for Vassell, who beat Barrett from the edge of the box.

Lench tested King again from distance, while Hatters were inches away from a second when Cameron McJannett’s fierce drive rattled the crossbar.

In the second period, Jack Snelus volleyed off target and Vassell almost doubled his tally after Bakinson’s surging run, firing wide.

Snelus brought a flying save out of the Canaries sub keeper late on, as speaking to the club’s official website, academy and development manager Andy Awford said: “It’s pleasing to win, of course, any win is a good win.

“But in the first half I was really disappointed with our all-round game, our level of intensity, our shape, our compactness, all the things that we talk about weren’t there.

“Fair play to the lads, they responded really well in the second half. They stepped it up and showed us individually and as a team what they can do.

“It’s a big learning curve for the lads. A lot of them are stepping up from the youth team into the U21s and trying to get into the first team, and they can’t have minutes like they did in the first half.

“It’s a learning environment, but that wasn’t good enough for the level that we need. The second half was. It was a lot better. But the first half was a reminder that they need to step up to the plate.”

Hatters: Craig King, James Justin, Frankie Musonda, Akin Famewo, Cameron McJannett, Tyreeq Bakinson, Kavan Cotter, Jack Snelus, Zane Banton (Kitan Sorunke 76), Isaac Vassell (Michael Shamalo 75), Freddie Hinds (Arthur Read 68).

Subs not used: Jack James, Ciaran Gordon-Stern, Ciaren Jones.

Attendance: 640.