U18s Match Report - Luton Town 3 Cambridge United 0
Cambridge United Under 18s were unable to follow up last week’s midweek victory over Stevenage on Saturday in the Youth Alliance League fixture with the Hatters, the hosts coming out 3-0 victors.
The match, played at Kenilworth Road started well for the U’s, who stamped their authority on the early stages, looking most threatening and dominating the possession in the opening quarter of an hour.
Jordan Brown was causing problems for the host’s back four and Dylan Williams playing some exciting penetrating passing to open up the defence. It was a William’s pass that saw Brown face the Luton keeper in the 15th minute only to see the latter come out on top with a save with his legs.
Almost immediately after, a U’s corner was defended and the resulting counter attack saw Luton arrive in a similar position one versus one with U’s keeper James Macree, the finish was expertly taken and gave the hosts the lead against the run of play.
Luton then grew into the game and their confidence began to show with some clever and fast attacking play befitting of a team top in the League and unbeaten in 22 games.
United struggled to get a hold of Luton as they started to turn the screw and sustain their attacks and momentum, but always looked as though they could spring an attack against the expansive home side.
Any hopes United had of going in level at the break were damaged with a second goal for Luton. The in-swinging corner misjudged at the front post by Williams, leaving an unmarked Hatter to pounce and slam the ball home from eight yards.
Both teams made a lively start to the second period but Luton’s third came just ten minutes into the half as the U’s failed to clear a cross from the right wing. The third goal all but sealed the three points for the home side although the U’s put in a good second half performance with good use of the ball and possession against a deeper home side.
There were moments for both teams to score in the final 30 minutes, but neither side were able to find the net, and neither goal keeper was overly stretched.
U’s coach Mark Bonner said of the game, “Luton looked like a team who have been winning and play with the confidence of a winning team. On the other hand, we have to find some resilience when we come under pressure, and also some confidence in possession to play with more freedom. This is a fragile team of young men who need to take responsibility for their confidence and self-esteem and not allow what people think of them or what happens to them to crumble.
“We started the game really well and looked a threat but lost control in the middle of the pitch and then found it hard to get back in the game. We needed to keep it at 1-0 at worst going in to half time but conceded a poor goal at a set play. After the third goal Luton lost some intensity and were happy to counter attack and that gave us more of the ball but in less threatening areas.
“Overall we didn’t have quite the same intensity as last week but there were some bright moments in the game. It is now for making the boys to understand that it takes more than a few moments to win a game, and also the work required day to day to prepare for a game properly. The major issue at the moment is the frailty of the players’ mindset, and we are working closely now to develop greater self-esteem and motivation to their day to day life.
“Teaching young people to have a positive outlook, understand how to get the most out of themselves and how they need to earn everything is tough, but it’s a challenge we must all enjoy.”
Team; Macree, Davies, Jones, Darling (Bell-toxtle 45), Emmins, Williams, Chambers-Shaw, Burniston (Boddey 75), Lea (Leavers 65), Foy, Brown.