Stech and Jones return as Hatters are held by Shrimpers

Hatters defender Lloyd Jones impressed against Southend
Hatters defender Lloyd Jones impressed against Southend

Luton duo Marek Stech and Lloyd Jones made their return from injury as the Hatters development squad drew 3-3 with Southend United in the EFL Central League at the Brache this afternoon.

With Alan McCormack and Kazenga LuaLua also playing, Town had a side packed with experience, along with a number of the talented U18s too.

Youngster Connor Tomlinson had the first opportunity of the fixture, firing over from 20 yards after being found by Jones' floated ball forward.

Luton went close again five minutes later when Arthur Read majestically turned three Southend defenders on the far side of the box, before cutting in on his left foot, his strike deflected behind for a corner.

Stech was forced into a decent save when Tom Clifford bent a free-kick from 25 yards over the wall, but he was beaten on the half hour, Clifford’s set-piece finding the bottom corner.

The Hatters were back on level terms with four minutes of the first half to go as a well worked corner saw Read cross in for Jones to fire in from close range.

LuaLua put Town in front three minutes later as he drove an effort into the bottom corner, with Tomlinson making it 3-1, flicking in Toby Byron's delivery from the left.

Stech was forced into a brilliant save as he palmed away Adamdou Ba's effort from just inside the box, while after the break, Jones cleared Hutchinson's follow-up off the line.

Southend weren't to be denied though and got back into the game on 66 minutes through Isaac Hutchinson, Norman Wabo netting an identical goal just a minute later to bring the game level.

Alan McCormack nearly grabbed a late winner as he got on the end of Jack James' right wing cross, but the Irishman's header smacked off the crossbar and away from goal.

First team coach Joaquin Gomez said: "It was a competitive game, I thought we dominated most of it.

“We went about it in the right way, we prepared properly, I thought they players worked really hard.

“We set up well, we pressed well, we just went through a spell and we didn't deal with it very well.

"The goalkeepers we have at are at a high level and Marek is coming back from injury and needed minutes.

“He helped us get through the second half with some of his saves, while Lloyd was really dominant throughout the game.

“One of the main things was for him to lead that back four, he did really well, he won his headers, he kept people around him well balanced.

“On the ball we know what he's like and he moved it really well."

Hatters: Marek Stech, Jack James, Lloyd Jones, Corey Panter, Toby Byron, Alan McCormack, Jake Peck, Arthur Read, Kazenga LuaLua, Aaron Jarvis, Connor Tomlinson (Josh Neufville 76).

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Jonas Kalonda, Lewis Swindells, Drew Richardson.