Luton 2-2 Spurs U21s (4-2 on pens)
Report from Kenilworth Road
15 August 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Our first ever foray into the Checkatrade Trophy ended in penalty shootout defeat at Luton Town on Tuesday night (August 15).
One of a number of Premier League Under-21 sides invited to take part in the competition, we battled valiantly against the League Two hosts and came out of the 90 minutes with a creditable 2-2 draw thanks to Joe Pritchard's shot which cannoned in off Hatters goalkeeper James Shea and Ryan Loft's cool finish on the break.
Both sides picked up a point in Group F as a result, but competition rules meant a shootout would take place, using the new A-B-B-A format, with a bonus point for the winners.
Luton's Elliot Lee rattled home the first in front of a noisy 2,699-strong crowd which included 404 Spurs fans, plus former manager of both clubs, David Pleat.
But Samuel Shashoua's first attempt for us hit the post and from there it was tough. Christian Maghoma and substitute Kazaiah Sterling scored, but Keanan Bennetts fired over the bar and it was left to Luke Gambin to maintain Luton's flawless record and give them a 4-2 triumph.
Goal: Luton 1-0 Spurs U21s - Luke Gambin - 19mins
The hosts were in our faces from the off and worked several shooting chances, with goalkeeper Brandon Austin pulling off a magnificent close-range stop from Lee's shot-on-the-turn inside 90 seconds. Danny Hylton, Luton's 27-goal top scorer last season, saw his shot blocked at the near post and Lee hooked wide, but we weathered that early storm – making the manner of Luton's opener all the more disappointing. The ball was worked in to Gambin on the right side of the six-yard box, he had centre-back Maghoma tight to him but still managed to get a shot away, which found the far corner.
Goal: Luton 1-1 Spurs U21s - James Shea (OG) - 21mins
We were right back in the game within two minutes of conceding as space opened up for skipper Pritchard to run into, he pulled the trigger from 22 yards and saw his shot come back off the post before ricocheting in off goalkeeper Shea, who had dived low to his right in an attempt to save the original effort.
Above: Oliver Skipp goes up for a header.
Woodwork: Bennetts close to turning it around - 23mins
The equaliser gave us a real lift and two minutes later we almost found ourselves in front as Bennetts advanced in from the left and sent in a speculative ball that hit the far post. Luton still looked a threat with their pace and power in attack and forced us into a couple of errors, but we stayed in it and four minutes before the break, Shilow Tracey's angled drive was well saved by Shea.
Goal: Luton 1-2 Spurs U21s - Ryan Loft - 47mins
Less than two minutes after half-time we took the lead as Will Miller broke from deep and striker Loft held his run brilliantly before motoring onto Miller's ball forward to slot beyond Shea one-on-one.
Goal: Luton 2-2 Spurs U21s - Josh Mcquoid - 51mins
Luton's two half-time substitutes combined to restore parity just four minutes after our second goal. Jack James crossed from the right close to the corner flag and Josh McQuoid was left to score with a simple downward header at the back post.
Chances: Luton close twice - 86mins
Jordan Cook found McQuoid on the right side of the box and it needed a fantastic sliding block from Japhet Tanganga to thwart him. From there, the ball was swung in and Cook glanced a header just wide of the far post. There were a couple of other close ones for the hosts late on while substitute Sterling fired straight at Shea, but we stayed level.
Luton - Lee - scored
Spurs - S Shashoua - hit post
Spurs - C Maghoma - scored
Luton - Cook - scored
Luton - McQuoid - scored
Spurs - Sterling - scored
Spurs - Bennetts - over the bar
Luton - Gambin - scored
Coach Wayne Burnett said
“It was a really tough game for us, a really hard-fought game and I thought a draw was probably a fair result. What was really pleasing for me was that when we were under a bit of pressure, our players dug really deep and came up with answers and solutions. We have to be brave, we’re trying to play out - that’s our philosophy but we need to solve problems at times. The keeper kept us in it with some really good saves and after the nerves settled a little bit and we got playing, I thought we did very well and some of our play was very good at times. At 2-2, it’s a fair result, it goes to penalties and then it can go to either team. Overall it was a decent evening.
“It was a well-taken shot from Joe Pritchard (for 1-1). We’ll take any goal but it was a good move and we managed to equalise. For the second one, it was a fantastic pass through to Ryan Loft but it was a really good first touch, he’s taken it really nicely in his stride and it was a very cool finish.”
Luton Town: Shea, Justin (James 46), Senior, Cook, Mullins (c), Famewo, Gambin, Bakinson, Lee, Cornick (Read 77), Hylton (McQuoid 46). Substitutes (not used): Isted, Peck, Jones, Shamalo.
Spurs U21s: Austin, Dinzeyi (Eyoma 52), Bennetts, Skipp, C Maghoma, Tanganga, Tracey (S Shashoua 81), Pritchard (c), Loft (Sterling 77), Duncan, Miller. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, Roles.
Goals: Luton - Gambin 19, McQuoid 51; Spurs - Shea (OG) 21, Loft 47.
Yellow cards: Luton - Cook 90+2.
Referee: Craig Hicks.
We return to Premier League 2 action next Monday afternoon with a London derby against West Ham United at the Training Centre, kick-off 12noon.