Gambin scores twice as Luton put six past Hitchin

Pre-season friendly: Hitchin Town 2 Luton Town 6

Friday, 6th July 2018, 9:57 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:15 pm
James Collins put Luton 1-0 up at Hitchin this evening

Luton Town got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start with a 6-2 win at Southern League Premier Division side Hitchin Town this evening.

Early on, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu looked lively, linking well with both James Collins and Elliot Lee, while Alan Sheehan's free kick was easy for keeper Michael Johnson.

Town took the lead on 22 minutes when James Justin, deployed at left back, sent in a low shot which Johnson spilled, allowing Collins to turn over the line from close range.

The keeper did cling on to Lee's curling attempt on the half hour, but he was picking the ball out of the net on 39 minutes when Arthur Read cleverly played the striker through and he clinically found the bottom corner.

Lee then had another go with one of those outside the box efforts he produced last term, missing the target this time, while Read also had a pop, blasting way over from the edge of the area.

Town changed their entire 11 for the second period, with Sonny Bradley getting his first outing in a Luton shirt after joining from Plymouth, partnering Lloyd Jones in the heart of the visitors defence.

Jones had the first effort, heading wide from a corner, but Luton had an excellent third just eight minutes in through Harry Cornick.

The attacker, whose bleached blonde haircut was one of the main talking points of the evening, showed great persistence to win the ball back twice and then a real cool head to put his effort beyond Johnson's grasp.

Cornick almost made it four after fine work by Aaron Jarvis on the right picked out the ex-Bournemouth man and his fierce effort was well gathered by Johnson.

Hitchin's keeper was starting to get overworked now, preventing Cornick from scoring again, while Jack Stacey hammered over the top.

Town were starting to play some pleasing on the eye football, Jarvis finding Andrew Shinnie and he put Jake Jervis away, his dink read by the replacement Hitchin keeper.

Jervis had another chance from 12 yards, when he was felled in the area after latching on to Luke Gambin's ball over the top and then stroked his penalty into the bottom corner.

Stacey should have had a fifth, sidefooting wide, before Hitchin pulled a goal back on 77 minutes, ex-Luton youngster Isaac Galliford dispossessing Jones and racing through to confidently beat James Shea.

Galliford tested Shea again, the Luton stopper flipping his free kick over the top, but Luton were on target once more, as Gambin's deflected shot from 20 yards wrongfooted the home keeper to make it 5-1.

Hitchin managed another consolation in the final minute through Trey Charles' precise finish, while Gambin followed suit from further out with virtually the last kick, as Luton blew off the cobwebs ahead of their trip to Slovenia tomorrow morning.

Hatters first half: Marek Stech, Frankie Musonda, Matty Pearson, Alan Sheehan, James Justin, Alan McCormack, Arthur Read, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Elliot Lee, Danny Hylton, James Collins.

Hatters second half: James Shea, Jack Stacey, Lloyd Jones, Sonny Bradley, Jack Senior, Glen Rea, Luke Gambin, Andrew Shinnie, Harry Cornick, Aaron Jarvis, Jake Jervis.

Attendance: 788.