Moncur and Jervis on target as Town defeat Eagles

Pre-season friendly: Bedford Town 1 Luton Town 2

Saturday, 13th July 2019, 5:55 pm
Andrew Shinnie hurdles Bedford Town keeper Alex Bennion this afternoon

Goals from George Moncur and Jake Jervis saw Luton defeat Southern League Division One Central neighbours Bedford Town in their latest pre-season friendly at the Eyrie this afternoon.

The Hatters should really have won by more too, finding home keeper Alex Bennion in inspired form throughout, the Eagles' stopper making a host of fine saves to keep the score down.

Town boss Graeme Jones went with a strong side as James Shea, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Andrew Shinnie and James Collins all started.

Summer signings Callum McManaman and Martin Cranie both began as well, while young pros Josh Neufville and Corey Panter lined up as Luton's full backs.

Early on, Moncur's effort deflected goalwards, with Bennion unable to hold, although redeeming himself to bravely stop Collins' rebound.

Matty Pearson then glanced wide from Shinnie's corner, before Town stopper James Shea was called into action, producing an excellent low stop from ex-Hatter Dan Walker's angled drive that appeared destined for the bottom corner.

Pearson had another go from Shinnie's next set-piece, unleashing an acrobatic volley this time, which flew narrowly wide.

Midway through the half, the pair combined for the third time, with Shinnie's excellent corner once again picking out the centre half, who directed his powerful header off target.

McManaman then failed to make the most of a chance when Collins' low cross bounced invitingly for him, while Shinnie sent a curling attempt straight at Bennion.

Town's midfielder was the architect of most that was good about Town's creative play in the first period, as he swung over another enticing corner that Collins this time could only nod behind.

Luton's leading scorer from last season threatened once more, unleashing a fierce left-footed drive, Bennion producing a smart stop..

Moments before half time, the woodwork denied Hatters an opener, with Moncur's curler cannoning back off the bar, while Bennion repelled McManaman's follow up, Cranie dragging his rebound well wide.

Jones rang the changes at the interval, replacing seven of his side, but it was one of those who remained, Moncur, who opened the scoring just four minutes in.

Capitalising on some poor defending from an Eagles side that had kept them out for the first 45, the midfielder found space inside the area to slot home from a tight angle.

Eagles keeper Bennion prevented Town adding a quickfire second as he made an excellent block from Elliot Lee, who had linked up cleverly with Jervis.

The hosts, who hadn't come anywhere near Town's goal since the opening forays, almost had a fortuitous leveller when Marek Stech couldn't claim a hanging corner, the ball hitting defender Derrick Ubah but falling wide.

They went close again on a break forward, Stech saving with his legs this time.

However, Town soon regained the ascendancy, with Harry Cornick prevented from making it 2-0 by Bennion, the striker then backheeling for Lee to go through, Bedford's overworked custodian making an even better stop this time.

Jack Vasey should have brought Eagles back on level terms volleying over when Luton failed to clear their lines.

The closing stages then Jervis double Town's lead, as sent clean through, he rounded Bennion twice, keeping his composure to beat the covering defender on the line and find the net.

Cornick was denied from close range, before the Eagles had a goal back, Tre Mitford volleying in at the far post.

With time running out, Cornick frustratingly still couldn't beat Bennion, the keeper sticking out a leg to divert his attempt away, but Town had done enough to make it two wins from two.

Hatters: James Shea (Marek Stech 46), Josh Neufville, Corey Panter (Brendan Galloway 46), Matty Pearson, Lloyd Jones, Martin Cranie (C Luke Berry 46), Andrew Shinnie (Ryan Tunnicliffe 46), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Elliot Lee 46), George Moncur (Sam Beckwith 65), Callum McManaman (Harry Cornick 46, James Collins (Jake Jervis 46).

Bedford Town: Alex Bennion, Cade Stephens-Abbey, James Hall, Ben Ford, Gavin Hoyte, Derrick Ubah, Dan Walker, Callum Donnelly, Tre Mitford, Ebby Nelson-Addy, Connor Tomlinson.

Subs: Steve Burford, Mammy Soetan, Rafe Goodman, Sam Asante, Joe Steele, Nathan Olukanmi, Jack Vasey, Scott Joseph.

Attendance: 1,604.