Beds Premier Cup final: Barton Rovers 1 Luton Town 6
Striker Jack Marriott gave manager John Still further food for thought this evening by notching four goals as Luton Town won the Beds Premier Cup by steamrollering Barton Rovers 6-1 at Sharpenhoe Road.
While most of the attention at Kenilworth Road during pre-season has been firmly on whether Town would be successful in their pursuit of Craig Mackail-Smith, a deal finally confirmed on Saturday, Marriott has been quietly going about his business.
A thigh strain ruled him out of the early matches, before he netted against Thurrock and Coventry, with the icing on the cake, his four-goal blast tonight.
The summer signing from Ipswich was a constant pest to the Rovers defence, demonstrating an excellent array of prolific finishing with either foot, as Luton simply blew Rovers away in the final stages.
There was also a welcome 90 minutes for goalkeeper Mark Tyler, who showed no signs of discomfort from his knee injury in what was a relatively quiet work out, while Andy Parry was back after featuring for Yeovil Town recently.
An early opening saw Zane Banton go close, as he skipped around his man and whipped in a low shot that was well handled by the outstretched hand of Kyle Forster.
Jake Howells was then narrowly wide before Luton were ahead on 16 minutes as Marriott began his evening’s work, nipping between two defenders to deftly beat the keeper.
It was 2-0 moments later as Howells advanced forward and fed the overlapping Luke Trotman, whose cross was hammered home by Banton.
Marriott came close to a second only to be denied by Forster who spread himself well, with the stopper making a routine save from Hall’s volley.
Barton’s best chance fell to skipper Paul Andrews as he headed over at the back post from a deep free kick on the stroke of half time.
After the break, Marriott shot low at Forster and then got himself in a tangle trying to convert Howells’ cross.
Rovers had a goal back on 50 minutes though as a nicely weighted ball through the middle saw Jason Blackett outpace Parry to easily beat the advancing Tyler.
Hall shanked a free kick disappointingly wide from a decent position, while Marriott went clean through, but got it all wrong as the ball went tamely behind.
Barton had a sight of goal through Ryan Dasilva as his weak effort was easy for Tyler, while Curtley Williams then took matters into his own hands, bursting through the middle, only to lose his composure at the vital moment, dragging off target.
With minutes starting to tick away, Luton started to show their superior fitness as a lovely interchange between Howells and Hall saw Marriott pick his spot, bending into the bottom corner.
Rovers almost drew level, Mahmut Calgar nodding wide, while Jack Keating also put a free header past the post, but Marriott’s hat-trick was complete as he took Banton’s pass and rifled left-footed past Forster.
Hall got in on the act too, speeding away to dink into the net, while the final moments saw Marriott put the icing on a superb night, as he broke away to confidently convert his fourth.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Curtley Williams, Tinashe Abrahams, James Justin (Kieron Wiltshire 85), Luke Trotman (Kyran McGhan-George 85), Andy Parry, Ryan Hall, Matt Robinson (Frankie Musonda 81), Jake Howells, Jack Marriott, Zane Banton (George Murray 85).
Sub not used: Liam Gooch.
Barton: Kyle Forster, James Bishop, Lucas Perry, Warren Plowright, Paul Andrews (C), Joe Reynolds, Connor Vincent, Ashton Grant, Jason Blackett, Ryan DaSilva, Alex Eade.
Subs: Alex Condon, Kev Kilroy, Mahmut Caglar, Jack Keating, Jordan Davis.