A physical performance from Nathan Jones’ Luton Town was enough to thrash Terry Westley’s U23s at Kenilworth Road last night, as the Bedfordshire side progressed to the Last 16 of The Checkatrade Trophy.
The hosts first took the lead on 28 minutes through Lawson D’Ath and while the visitors wasted their chances, teenage prodigy Aaron Jarvis doubled the advantage just after the break.
It was then made three by fellow starlet Kavan Cotter in the last ten minutes, effectively putting the affair to bed, before Jordan Cook put the cherry on the Luton cake on added-time.
The Hatters will now await the results of Friday’s Third Round Draw to be held live on TalkSport easily, while the Claret & Blue starlets have five consecutive in all Competitions to reflect on after making and exiting the Knockout Round for the first time.
From the start in Bedfordshire, Nathan Jones opted for a staggering 11 alterations in the wake of a 0-5 FA Cup First Round thrashing of Non-League Gateshead on Sunday.
Coming into the side was James Shea, James Justin, Frankie Musonda, Akin Famewo, Jack Senior, former Hammer Pelly Ruddock, Lawson D’Ath, Jordan Cook, Luke Gambin, Aaron Jarvis and Kavan Cotter, they took the places of Marek Stech, Jack Stacey, Johnny Mullins, Alan Sheehan, son of Steve Dan Potts, Glen Rea, Olly Lee, Luke Berry, Andrew Shinnie, Danny Hylton and Elliot Lee.
Meanwhile, Terry Westley decided on three changes to his team that were bested at Adams Park last Tuesday in this Competition, a defeat that meant a trip to Luton and not an encounter with Forest Green Rovers.
Defensively, injured first-teamer James Collins and fellow back four-member Vashon Neufville departed in favour of promising starlet Alex Pike and full-back Joe Powell as Spanish prodigy Antonio Martinez came in for Jahmal Hector-Ingram.
On a chilly night just North of London, the hosts would get off to the far brighter start, as Ben Johnson’s vital late tackle denied Jarvis a simple tap-in, just days after the full-back was involved in David Moyes’ West Ham United Squad for the Premier League clash with Manchester City.
Last ditch tackles were soon becoming something of a theme at Kenilworth Road with Pike putting one in to deny Jarvis yet again and then Powell, stopping Cook from finishing simply.
But, Town couldn’t be kept out for much longer and they seized a deserved advantage just before the half-hour came up with Cotter picking out D’Ath with a precise delivery and the young Englishman heading past Nathan Trott.
The Bermuda-born keeper was able to get a hand to it, however not enough of one to stop the ball from bulging the back of the net on the night that Westley returned to face the club he Managed for a few months back in 1995.
However, it would soon be time for some goalmouth action at the other end as Domingos Quina came close with a free-kick that was just tipped over by Shea and then Martin Samuelsen equally with a close-range effort that was well blocked, the scoreline would remain the same at the break.
The visiting starlets came out fighting in the second period with top-scorer Martinez and substitute Grady Diangana almost finding an equaliser in the opening exchanges.
But, when this never came, Luton punished them by going two to the good on 56 minutes when Jarvis arrived ion the scene of a long ball forward to poke the ball past Trott.
This paved the way for a late show from The Hatters as they sealed the deal on the latter stages of the 90 minutes, some poor defending attributing to their third, with Cotter being left to eventually finish a poorly dealt with cross.
Ten minutes later, Cook was finally able to get his name on the scoresheet in bizarre circumstances, tackling Trott when he was clearing the ball from his own box and being left with a simple finish into an empty net to ensure a night to forget on the road from the team in black and blue.
That’s nine goals in two games now for Luton, who sit top of League Two and will welcome second-placed Notts County to Kenilworth on Saturday afternoon in what is being dubbed the biggest match of the season for both teams.
Meanwhile, our Development Squad will now turn their attention back to The Premier League Two Division One and try to bring an end to a dismal run of form at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday evening.