Hatters youngster Nelson believes FA Youth Cup win over QPR shows Luton U18s can 'beat anyone'

Town U18s attacker Zack NelsonTown U18s attacker Zack Nelson
Town U18s attacker Zack Nelson
Teenager on target once more as Town go through

Luton U18s attacker Zack Nelson insists his side believe they can beat anyone when on top of their game as they reached the FA Youth Cup fifth round in style by seeing off QPR 3-1 at Kenilworth Road last night.

Having trounced U18 Professional Development League North Division side Birmingham City 6-0 in the previous round, the Hatters then went up against side sitting fourth in the U18 Professional Development League Two South and produced an excellent display to go through.

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Nelson, who scored a wonderful counter-attacking third goal on the night, said: “It feels amazing.

"We haven’t been able to get to this round since 2016 when the likes of James Justin were playing, so the team is really buzzing and we’re looking forward to the next round.

"We’re going to put in the hard work and hopefully another good result to come.

“Confidence is massive, it’s definitely boosted our confidence and it shows that we can go out here and beat anyone.

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“We had a lot of confidence going into the game as we know we’re about and that if we play to our strengths then no team is going to be able to stop us really, so it was really pleasing.”

Luton had got off to the worst possible start when R's midfielder Teddy Lawrence bundled the ball over the line from close range inside the opening 60 seconds.

However, Town weren’t behind for long, Jake Burger backheeling Jacob Vickers’ downward header into the net, Oli Lynch tapping home Jacob Pinnington’s deflected cross too.

Nelson continued: “It was a bit of a shock to go behind, but us lads, we never give up, we all stick together and fight to the end, that’s just what we do.

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“As soon as Jake got that goal, we knew we were going to be back in the game and we’re relentless, we’re a ruthless team.

"We just look to be on the front foot all the time and as soon as we got the goal, I thought we were in control.

"Second half we were a bit under pressure, but we stuck together and in the end we got the result which is the most important thing.

“That’s the type of team we are, always on the press, looking to win the ball back at all times.

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"We’re aggressive and today you can see it worked as we got the result.”

The Hatters dominated the opening 45 minutes as they looked like they could score with every attack, Archie Heron going close, as did Nelson, before QPR improved dramatically in the second period.

Town’s back-line defended doggedly though, centre backs Vickers and Jack Bateson catching the eye, and when they were breached, keeper Sam Bentley made two terrific saves, before Luton bagged a third on the break through Nelson.

A long ball forward saw Lynch’s flick on held up by Millar Matthews-Lewis who then teed up Nelson to classily sidefoot into the bottom corner, following up his hat-trick in the third round win at St Andrew’s.

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He said: “It was going on the counter attack and I just thought I’ve got to bust a gut to get in the box and run off the back of my man.

"It was just natural for me to pass it into the bottom corner, but I can’t do it all by myself, I just have to thank my team-mates for giving me the opportunity to do so.

“I told Millar to play me in, a bit of confusion between me and OIi, but I called it and he’s let me have it so I’ve just taken it.”

With 1,005 in attendance, including over 150 from the visitors, despite topping their EFL Youth Alliance South East table with 15 wins from 16, Nelson was pleased there were no signs of nerves from the players in what was the biggest game of their young careers to date.

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He said: “It was a really good feeling, because this season we’ve put in so much hard work,

“It was a really good experience to show the fans what we’re about and show them all the hard work that we’ve been putting in.”

Victory sees Luton through to the fifth round now as they host EFL Youth Alliance North West leaders Preston North End, who won 2-1 at Gillingham 2-1 last night.

Nelson added: “We’re looking forward to it and now we just need to push on, get back to the training ground and continue to work hard.”

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