Hatters beaten late on by Stevenage in development clash
Town fall to defeat at Top Field
A strong Luton XI were beaten by a late goal from Stevenage in their development squad friendly at Hitchin Town this afternoon.
The Hatters, under the watchful eye of manager Nathan Jones and the majority of his backroom staff, selected a side laden with first team experience for the contest, Luke Berry and Danny Hylton both starting after their cameos in the FA Cup third round win over Harrogate Town on Sunday.
Gabe Osho, Dan Potts, Glen Rea, Elliot Thorpe and Harry Isted were all included for valuable minutes, with U18s skipper Caset Pettit named captain, while youngsters Jacob Pinnington, TQ Addy and Ed McJannet all started too.
The opponents had the better of the opening minutes, Osho making a brave block and Isted off his line bravely to prevent a Stevenage attacker from opening the scoring.
Midway through the half, Town began to create some moments of promise, Potts sending over a trio of dangerous crosses, while Pettit’s ambitious looping volley didn’t come down in time.
Luton were getting their most joy on the left, Thorpe driving forward and finding Potts, whose ball in was missed by the lurking Hylton.
The always impressive Isted came to Town’s rescue once more with a fine stop to prevent Stevenage moving in front, another decent opportunity from the rebound skewed behind.
In the closing stages of the first half, Luton almost had the lead, Thorpe setting off on a driving run to find Addy, his cross met by McJannet, the Irish youth international unable to turn his effort on target.
Berry lofted over the top following McJannet’s delivery into the box which was to be the last action for the midfielder, replaced by Connor Lawless at the break.
If his substitution was tactical, then Hylton’s early in the second period was anything but, the striker caught late by a Boro defender and although it looked more a clash of legs, limped off gingerly, Tyrelle Newton on in his place.
Boro were beginning to look more likely, Isted parrying ex-Hatter Arthur Read’s low attempt, before bravely throwing himself in the way of the rebound for a brilliant stop.
He was beaten moments later by Jamie Reed’s 20-yard blast which thundered against the bar and out, before Read’s cross-shot ricocheted off Lawless and flew on to the roof of the net.
Luton looked for the opener too, Lawless’ driven free kick met by Thorpe a few yards from goal, but he couldn’t keep his header down.
With 15 to go, Town replaced Potts and Rea with Josh Williams and teenage defender Aidan Francis-Clarke, as Luton, with Addy prominent, gained the upper hand, the winger having one shot blocked, Pettit firing into the stands from 20 yards.
Isted had to get down low to prevent a daisycutter from creeping in his near post, before the only goal of the game arrived with four minutes left, a good move down the left ending with a shot swept into the top corner.
Addy almost had an immediate equaliser, his angled volley drawing a flying save from the Stevenage stopper, while he got away once more to cross for Newton, the midfielder unable to get enough on his header.
Hatters: Harry Isted, Jacob Pinnington, Dan Potts (Josh Williams 74), Gabe Osho, Casey Pettit (C), Glen Rea (Aidan Francis-Clarke 74), Luke Berry (Conor Lawless 46), Elliot Thorpe, TQ Addy, Danny Hylton (Tyrelle Newton 51), Ed McJannet.
Sub not used: Jacob Cowler.