Luton Town Elite Programme made the perfect start to the season with a 2-1 win at AFC Hornchurch in the Football Conference Youth Alliance League on Wednesday.
The two sides met early in pre-season where Hornchurch ran out comfortable winners, and they were comfortably on top again for the first five minutes.
But against the run of play Luton took the lead when forward Liam Brooks chased down a long ball to block keeper Joe Morris’ clearance and Brooks was able to tap home from a few yards out.
Hornchurch continued to boss possession but lacked any end product until the levelled in fortuitous circumstances just before the interval.
Left-back Romy Mataurin curled a ball into the box and, with neither centre-back Rhys Carrey or the AFC striker making contact, keeper Bradley Stewart was left stranded as the ball bounced passed him and into the net.
Luton were on top in the second half as they were more solid defensively and retained possession with much more success as they started to create chances.
Billy Murray stung the hands of the keeper and Spencer Smith forced a save from a well worked corner.
After a break in proceedings due to Billy Murray’s injury, Town got the deserved breakthrough on 68 minutes when Kane Smith nodded home Sean Morrison’s cross from four yards out.
Luton created a couple more opportunities, while Hornchurch were wasteful in possession and couldn’t find the key to unlock the Luton defence.
Manager Adam Balletta added: “We came here today, knowing that in pre-season we didn’t do ourselves justice when we played them at The Arena.
“Today it took the lads some time, but we were able to find weaknesses in how they defended.
“Yes we’ve got our goals from a bit of luck and a set-piece, but in the second half we’ve created some good chances that we hadn’t been creating in our pre-season matches.
“It wasn’t by any means our best performance, but what we have done today is worked hard, got our set up right and got a positive result.
“I thought there were some good performances individually as well, JJ (Jordan Jones) defended pretty well against an electric wide player and Spencer has come through his first 90 minutes in a few weeks and defended pretty well.
“As a collective I’m happy, but know that in a couple weeks time we will be better than we are now.”