Luton Town U18s show promise on their return to action

Luton U18s v Cambridge U18s. wk 30.Luton U18s v Cambridge U18s. wk 30.
Luton U18s v Cambridge U18s. wk 30.
Having been back in training for three weeks, Luton Town’s U18s have drawn two and lost one friendly against Southend, Colchester and Cambridge in the last two weeks.

The eight existing players from the squad have been joined by 11 new first years as boss Paul Driver has looked to give each of them an equal share of game time.

Two very different teams played each half against Southend as it ended 0-0, with keeper Craig King making an early penalty save.

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Town then fought back three time to draw 3-3 against Colchester at their new Tiptree training facility on a scorching hot day. Most players again played 45 minutes with a few getting an hour.

Jemale McKenzie-Lowe cancelled out an early goal from the hosts, who then scored again to lead 2-1 at half time.

Zac Stephens pounced on a loose ball from a corner early in the second half to restore parity but Colchester went in front soon after with a strike from 15 yards.

Zane Banton then had a good goal ruled out for offside as the Hatters pushed for an equaliser.

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An excellent move involving Ian Rees and Leeroy Maguraushe ended in Banton’s shot being tipped wide by the keeper, but levelled when Harry Tamplin nodded home at the far post from Daril Ngwala’s resulting corner.

Cambridge United then scored twice in the last three minutes to grab a 3-2 victory over Luton in a competitive friendly at Creasey Park on Friday.

Game time was again shared around as an older line-up started.

Hatters opened a 2-0 lead just after the half hour with goals from Banton and Tuki Tayali, but Cambridge pulled one back before the halfway mark and then scored twice at the end to complete the turnaround.

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Meanwhile, Banton, Amu, Ben Barnes, Charlie Smith and Rees were part of the Luton squad that defeated Biggleswade on penalties in the Bedford Senior Cup.

Banton continued his excellent pre-season by scoring the equaliser in normal time within a minute of coming on as a sub and then converted his penalty in the shoot-out.

Smith also completed an encouraging performance on the night by scoring his penalty in the shoot-out where Barnes was the hero saving two of the Biggleswade spot-kicks.

A few games against senior teams now follow with their Youth Alliance fixtures starting against Dagenham & Redbridge on August 10.