Town held by Seagulls as Lawless returns

Alex Lawless
Alex Lawless

Hatters were held to a 0-0 draw by Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion in their Final Third Development League Cup clash at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

The hosts welcomed back midfielder Alex Lawless for his first action since breaking his foot against Northampton on October 2.

Fraser Franks, Alex Lacey, Alex Wall and Jim Stevenson all started, as did trialist Roddy Collins, formerly of Derry City, with the Seagulls selecting their U21 side.

Visiting midfielder Jeremy Balmy had the game’s first real shot on 15 minutes, his effort from distance easy for Elliott Justham.

Wall then went for placement rather than power when sizing up a 25-yard free kick that keeper Harry Doherty palmed around the post.

The Luton striker then came even closer with a fierce angled effort that brought a flying save from Doherty, while Charlie Walker put rebound into the side-netting.

Brighton thought they had the lead on the half hour when a set-piece was headed home, but was quickly chalked off by a linesman’s flag, which had only been changed moments earlier.

Luton then attacked with speed as Wall galloped down the flank and found Walker, who beat his man to shoot goalwards, with his effort deflected behind.

Lawless was withdrawn at the break as Ricky Miller came on and Luton started brightly, Collins seeing his cross shot turned over by Doherty, while Walker’s drive drew a brave block from Danny Pappoe.

Hatters stopper Elliot Justham showed good handling to claim Balmy’s low drive, with sub Miller almost breaking the deadlock as Doherty repelled his close range blast.

The hosts had a header cleared off the line, with Stevenson volleying the rebound narrowly wide and Jeffrey Monakana fizzed an effort that only just missing, as it shaved the post.

Town striker Ross Lafayette was replaced on the hour mark, leaving the field clearly disappointed by the decision, with U18s defender Frankie Musonda on in his place.

Wall went it alone as Doherty parried uneasily behind and the Seagulls stopper then saving Walker’s long-ranger and Miller’s snapshot.

The visiting keeper was lucky to see Stevenson’s effort squirm form his grasp and go behind, but Luton couldn’t break through as honours remained even.

Hatters: Elliot Justham, Roddy Collins, Paul Connolly, Fraser Franks, Alex Lacey, Matt Robinson, Jim Stevenson, Alex Lawless (Ricky Miller 46), Charlie Walker, Alex Wall, Ross Lafayette (Frankie Musonda 59).

Subs not used: Liam Gooch, Daril Ngwala, Leeroy Maguraushe.

Seagulls: Harry Doherty, Bradley Barry, Rob Hunt, Glen Rea, Tom Dallison, Jeffrey Monakana, Jeremy Balmy (Charlie Harris 67), Robbie Dean (Jimmy Muitt 67), Jesse Starkey, Jason Davis.

Subs not used: Josh Smith, Cameron Wiltshire, Ben Barclay.