Luton Town 6 Peterborough Northern Star 0
A hat-trick from striker Zane Banton saw Luton comfortably progress through in the FA Youth Cup with an easy win over Peterborough Northern Star at Kenilworth Road tonight, writes Mike Simmonds.
It had at one stage looked like Town would easily beat the 11-2 scoreline they managed against Cogenhoe in this competition two years ago as they went 3-0 ahead in the opening 11 minutes.
But to their credit, their United Counties League opponents, who arrived late for the game, forcing kick-off to be delayed, showed fine resolve to limit their hosts to six, with eccentric goalkeeper Daniel George an entertaining hero on the night.
It took Town a mere three minutes to break the deadlock when Jordan Davis found Banton and he coolly slotted past George.
The striker added his second moments later as a clearance was headed into his path and he took a touch before firing past the static George.
Hatters were 3-0 up on 11 minutes when the impressive Davis broke from midfield, fed Banton and his cross was netted on the turn by Arel Amu.
Joshua Edmundson tried his luck from range for the visitors, but Ben Barnes watched it into his gloves, while the keeper’s long kick saw Davis clean through, only to shoot straight at the grateful George.
The Star keeper pulled off a better save when Davis bore down on him again with 16 minutes gone, before he had a far easier stop from Brett Longden’s 20 yard curler.
Jemale McKenzie-Lowe went for brute force on 31 minutes as George tipped behind while the striker tried again, but could only shoot straight into the keepers midriff.
McKenzie-Lowe got the goal his overall performance warranted on 43 minutes though when, found by Longden’s driving and incisive run, he angled a low drive into the bottom corner from just outside the box.
Town should have made an even quicker start to the second half as Davis raced away only to see George save well, before McKenzie-Lowe fired the rebound wide of an open goal.
The visiting keeper was the only barrier between Hatters and double figures at times as he made another good stop from Amu’s 20-yard attempt, before diving to claw Amu’s fierce blast away.
Davis, who was Town’s standout player on the night, with his purposeful running on the wing, had yet another one-on-one opportunity with 63 minutes on the clock, but was once again foiled by George, who stood his ground to block with his legs.
Luke Trotman replaced Charlie Smith on 66 minutes and it was he who finally bagged the fifth as he turned in the rebound after his original shot was charged down.
Hatters were quick to make it six as well, as McKenzie-Lowe drove into the box and sent over a cross that Banton slid into the net for his treble.
Star almost had a consolation when Joshua Sanders saw his free kicked deflected and then blasted the rebound just wide of Barnes’ goal.
Isaac Galliford almost added a seventh in the closing stages when he burst into the area, rounded George, but his cross cleared behind for a corner, while Ian Rees then looped a header against the bar from Amu’s searching delivery.
Nevertheless, Town were more than comfortable winners on the night and will face the winners of Friday’s clash between Barton Rovers and Rothwell Corinthians on Monday, October 15, again at Kenilworth Road.
Hatters: Ben Barnes, Brett Longden, Isaac Galliford, Ian Rees, Jerome Jibodu, Tinashe Chabata, Jordan Davis, Charlie Smith (Luke Trotman 66), Jemale McKenzie-Lowe (Devante Stanley 75), Zane Banton (Daril Ngwala 75), Arel Amu.
Subs not used: Ollie Cole, Josh Carpenter.
Star: Daniel George, Ashley Clipston, Daniel Wilson, Joe Papworth, Jorge Barbosa, Kane Gilbert, Joshua Edmundson, Joshua Sanders (Sam Wilson 75), Aziz Dost, Allan Warriner (Courtney Pierre-Weeks 75), Ben Mucklin.
Subs not used: Harry Holt.
Bookings: Papworth 79, Dost 82.
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