Near neighbours Hitchin consign Luton to embarrassing defeat
Hitchin Town 4 (2) Luton Town (1)
A youthful looking Hatters team packed with triallists were put to the sword by near neighbours Hitchin at Top Field on Monday night.
Lethargic Luton were outplayed and outfought throughout and Asa Hall's strike was scant consolation as Town were well beaten by their Southern League opponents.
Luton had their first real effort on four minutes, triallist Andy Taylor letting fly from 25 yards, and Martin Bennett did well to hold on.
The hosts though were lively and competitive throughout the first half and Jake Howells was at full stretch to clear a dangerous looking free-kick over his own bar three minutes later.
Hitchin though took a richly deserved lead on 11 minutes when Luton keeper Dean Brill misjudged a a corner from the left and Paul Barnes was left unmarked to head home from just a couple of yards out.
But Luton levelled with a well-worked goal from Shrewsbury triallist Hall seven minutes later. Dean Morgan combined with Andy Taylor on the right, and his cross was headed powerfully home at the near post by Hall.
The Canaries almost re-took the lead on 22 minutes when Paul Barnes raced on to a great through-ball, only for Frenchman Nigel Atongana to put in a brilliant last-ditch saving tackle to deny him.
Dean Morgan's canny cross on 27 minutes was again well taken by Bennett and Hitchin seized the lead seconds later with Paul Barnes' second. Derwayne Stupple threaded through a lovely pass and the Hitchin hitman had no hesitation in thrashing the ball past Brill from just inside the box.
And the hosts were unlucky not to stretch their lead soon after when Carl Williams' 30-yard drive was deflected just wide.
With 10 minutes of the half Canvery Island triallist Ryan Edgar saw his low shot cause Bennett a few problems, but Hitchin held on to go in 2-1 up at the break.
Brothers Mark and Paul Barnes almost stretched Hitchin's lead early in the second half, but Brill did well to hold on to Mark's header from point-blank range.
Danish striker Jesper Jorgenson should have levelled on 59 minutes when a deflection sent him clean through, but the Esbjerg hitman fired straight at Bennett with the static defence appealing for off-side.
Hitchin twice went close on 63 minutes, but both Dean Gilbert and Russell Ball hitting efforts straight at Brill.
Jorgenson saw a tame effort easily saved on 72 minutes as Luton struggled to create any real opportunities.
And Hitchin wrapped up victory with eight minutes left when substitute Scott Orphanou shrugged off Luton's defence and fired home past the exposed Brill.
Things got even worse for hapless Hatters with four minutes left when substitute Russell Ball raced clear and his shot squirmed under Brill's grasp as the Southern Premier division side sealed an emphatic victory.
Luton: Dean Brill, Ashley Deeney, Jake Howells, Asa Hall (Matthew Spring 46), Nigel Atongana (Harry Hogarth, 69), Aswad Thomas, Andy Taylor (Stephen O'Leary 46), Jamie Tolley (Kevin Watson, 46), Jesper Jorgenson, Ryan Edgar (Adam Watkins 69), Dean Morgan (Scott Sinclair, 46). Subs not used: Mark Farthing, Aiden Quinn.
Hitchin: Martin Bennett, Michael Cox, Tom Pepper, Carl Williams, Marcus Gross, Dean Gilbert, Jonathan Woolf, Derwayne Stupple, Paul Barnes, Mark Barnes, Lee Wilson. Subs: Gordon Barr, Ben Windsor, Mark Smith, Matt McArdle, Russell Ball, Scott Orphanou, Graham Clarke.