FA Youth Cup first round: Luton Town 3 Colchester United 1
Luton Town U18s progressed to the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a fine 3-1 win over League One side Colchester United at Kenilworth Road last night.
The visitors were considered favourites for the tie as they play a level above Hatters as a Category Two academy side, but they were swept aside by a superb first half performance as Town’s youngsters made it 16 game unbeaten this season.
It was Colchester who had the better of the opening exchanges as Tariq Issa forced keeper Liam Gooch into a smart stop, before the hosts went ahead on 20 minutes when Alex Atkinson collected a poor clearance and fed Freddie Hinds who netted with a composed finish.
That saw Luton on to the front foot as George Murray and Kavan Cotter tested the U’s defence before the main turning point of the game as Colchester striker Eion McKeown fired into the side-netting after half an hour.
Hatters then went straight down the other end to move 2-0 in front when a terrific passing move saw Cotter’s teasing low cross deflected past his own keeper by Joe Tennent.
It looked like game over five minutes before half time too as Cotter was the architect once more, racing down the right for Alex Atkinson to sweep home from six yards.
Hatters almost had a fourth on 43 minutes when Jack Snelus was denied by the visiting keeper.
In the second period, Luton looked for more goals as Kyran McGhan-George’s header flashed wide, while he then rattled the woodwork shortly afterwards.
However, Colchester reduced the arrears as Louis Dunne ran clear to slip the ball under the onrushing Gooch.
Hatters almost restored their three-goal advantage on 68 minutes when Murray’s low left-foot drive was stopped, but the hosts were relieved to see the offside flag raised when Colchester substitute Degarrey Sheriff volleyed home.
However, Luton dug in and Paul Driver’s side almost scored a fourth when Cotter volleyed over at the back post.
The youngsters comfortable held on to record their 14th win in 16 games to book a second round date at either Leyton Orient or Hornchurch who play this evening.
Hatters: Gooch, Justin, McJannet (Bean 81), Famewo, Musonda, Snelus, Atkinson, McGhan-George, Cotter, Hinds, Murray.
Subs not used: Verney, Jones, Read, Bakinson.