Hatters start Trophy campaign by defeating Seagulls U21s

Aaron Jarvis opens the scoring for Luton this evening
Aaron Jarvis opens the scoring for Luton this evening

Checkatrade Trophy group stage: Luton Town 2 Brighton & Hove Albion U21s 1

Luton made a winning start to their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with one of the most one-sided 2-1 victories you are likely to see against Brighton U21s this evening.

Although only one goal separated the side at the final whistle, there was a gulf in class for the entire 90 minutes, with only the brilliance of Seagulls keeper Jason Steele ensuring the hosts didn't rack up a cricket score.

The only two worries for the Hatters were injuries to midfielder Eunan O'Kane and Jorge Grant, who both had to hobble off and must now be rated doubtful for Saturday's trip to Doncaster Rovers.

Boss Nathan Jones chose a strong side for the clash, with Alan Sheehan, Alan McCormack and Harry Cornick all starting, while Harry Isted and Arthur Read made their full debuts.

Town went close inside 60 seconds, Aaron Jarvis's left footed effort well saved by ex-Sunderland stopper Steele, who at 28, was easily the most experienced member of the visitors side.

After dominating the first five minutes, it was no surprise Luton went 1-0 up, James Justin's cross rammed home on the volley by Jarvis.

That should have been the signal for the floodgates to open, O'Kane somehow missing from close range after being teed up by Cornick.

Read's long ranger was easy for Steele, who was left grasping thin air from O'Kane's next attempt, which flew inches over the top.

Steele quite literally kept Albion in it during the first period, getting a strong hand to Grant's 22-yarder, while Jarvis skied an inviting attempt into the stands.

On 27 minutes, Justin was the next to catch the wasteful bug, hammering way over from O'Kane's majestic throughball, while the bar then came to Brighton's rescue as Jarvis set up O'Kane, the Leeds midfielder's curler cannoning off the woodwork.

Grant missed the target on the angle and McCormack answered the fans pleas to unload from 35 yards, Steele getting across to parry.

Worringly, O'Kane then had to go off before the break, Frankie Musonda on in his place, as Steele somehow ensured it stayed it remained 1-0 on the stroke of half time, changing direction in mid-air to keep out Read's deflected strike,.

Town were unsurprisingly on the front foot in the second period, Grant sending an attempt over, while Jack Senior's lovely raking cross was met by Cornick, Steele sticking out a paw to divert away.

Isted had to keep his wits about him to prevent a shock leveller, making an excellent stop from Jordan Davies' deflected attempt, while Luton went straight back up the other end, Jarvis stabbing wide from Senior's low cross.

The keeper continued his one man resistance, blocking from Jarvis, as Luton kept pushing, Sheehan's shot taking a nick to fly behind, Jarvis missing another opportunity to double his tally.

With 11 minutes to go, Steele's rearguard was finally broken, with Grant's long ranger hitting a Brighton defender to wrongfoot him, quite possibly the only way he would be beaten again on the evening.

However, that saw the visitors have their best spell, with Isted handling Davies' dipping volley excellently, although he could do nothing about Aaron Connolly's glancing header that made it 2-1 in the closing stages.

However, MK Dons' penalty shootout win over Peterborough means that Town lead the table ahead of their clash with Paul Tisdale's side next month.