Woolley’s late double enough for Hatters to beat Bedford

Bedfordshire Senior Cup round two

A LATE double by youth team striker Jake Woolley fired Luton Town past Bedford Town in the Bedfordshire Senior Cup tonight, writes Mike Simmonds.

Woolley showed great composure to net on 75 and 86 minutes as Hatters’ second half dominance was eventually rewarded.

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Luton named a side containing 10 players with first team experience, who would have been looking to impress watching boss Gary Brabin ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy trip to Kidderminster Harriers.

Eagles striker Drew Roberts, who had been interesting Hatters in recent weeks clipped the top of the bar with a volley on two minutes, while Jerry Nash then won a crunching challenge in midfield and the ball was worked to the right where Charlie Henry crossed for Jake Woolley to head straight at Ian Brown.

The hosts were desperately close to the opener on 10 minutes when Gareth Price’s side-footed effort beat Lewis Kidd but was cleared off the line by JJ O’Donnell.

Hatters went up the other end and a striding run by Nash was picked out by Woolley, and he fed John Paul Kissock, who fired over.

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Home striker Roberts was proving the liveliest player on the pitch in the opening forays but his radar was awry and Lewis Kidd wasn’t tested.

With 32 minutes on the clock, Henry thundered a shot goalwards after a short corner with Kissock which Brown parried away and Tom Damon completed the clearance.

Kissock was toying with the Eagles defence at times, with stepovers galore and after one jinking run, he pulled the ball across the face of goal, but no Town player could apply the finishing touch.

The pint-sized midfielder then teed up Henry whose low drive was comfortably handled by Brown, while Kissock then rather selfishly fired over with Henry and Poku well placed.

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Luton came close to breaking the deadlock before half time as Shane Blackett’s flicked header looked like it would creep in, but for Max York’s intervention.

Charlie Smith replaced Dean Beckwith after the interval and Bedford thought they had taken the lead when Damon crossed for Josh Beech to head past Kidd, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

The hosts came close once more as Price delivered a teasing cross and James Hatch headed over, before Roberts broke clear again only to see his deft lob caught by the back-pedalling Kidd.

Henry looked lively throughout the evening and cut in from the right flank to fire a swerving effort that Brown did well to hold on to.

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As the half progressed, Town kept hold of the ball much better though with Godfrey Poku beginning to dictate matters in midfield with their superior fitness starting to tell

Eagles weren’t allowed any respite and as they tired, the goal finally came on 75 minutes when a corner was swung in, Blackett’s header was saved by Brown only for Woolley to gleefully turn the ball over the line from a matter of yards.

A well-placed Henry shanked out of the ground before Poku threaded Woolley through and his left-footed was only just wide of the mark.

The striker made it 2-0 on 86 minutes though, finishing off a delightful team move. Poku and Henry swapped passes before Kissock’s throughball found Woolley and he deftly dinked his effort over the advancing Brown.

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Bedford almost pulled one back when Hatch’s header thundered against the post, but Luton held firm to ease into the next round.

Eagles: Ian Brown, Max York, Aaron James, Josh Beech, Gavin Hoyte ©, Ollie Thorne, Gareth Price, Jamie Cole, James Hatch, Drew Roberts (Jermaine Ivy 66), Tom Damon (Seb Simpson 81).

Subs not used: Jon Darby, Paul Cooper, Michael Kavanagh.

Hatters: Lewis Kidd, Curtis Osano, Shane Blackett, Godfrey Poku, Dean Beckwith (Charlie Smith 46), Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Charlie Henry, Jerry Nash (Leery Maguraushe 89), Jake Woolley, John Paul Kissock, JJ O’Donnell (Jerome Jibodu 89).

Subs not used: Brett Longden, Josh Carpenter.

Booked: Thorne 57.

Referee: P Forrester.

Assistant referees: R Trinder, J Smith.

Attendance: 232.

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