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  • Writer's pictureBilly Mulley

Luton Town U18's league dominance and FA Youth Cup run is nothing short of exciting

Luton Town U18s may have exited the FA Youth Cup last night but their progress in the competition and in the league warrants all the praise that Alan McCormack’s side have been subject to.

It was excellent to see yet another strong attendance at Kenilworth Road yesterday evening as the Hatters were eventually on the wrong end of a 3-2 result against Preston North End.

In what was a well-contested affair between two well-organised and talented teams, the Hatters struck first through Oli Lynch. The Lilywhites netted twice in the first half to take the lead before Millar Matthews-Lewis equalised on the stroke of half-time.

A fantastic strike from Kian Best ensured that it would be the visitors who would set up a quarter-final tie at Deepdale against either Southampton or Fulham.

McCormack’s side may have been knocked out of the competition yesterday evening but it is abundantly clear that there have been so many positives to take from this season, whilst there is still scope for the young Hatters to continue thriving.

Looking at the league, with McCormack’s side operating in the third tier of the U18 pyramid, with the division relating to academy status, Luton have won 13 out of their 14 matches.

Already winning the league and sitting 15 points clear at the summit, the U18s have really been on another level throughout the campaign thus far. Not only have they run away with the title, but McCormack’s side have netted 63 goals in 14 matches, conceding a mere seven goals in that time.

The FA Youth Cup provided an opportunity for the U18s to come up against a team from the higher division in the last round, something that brought about a different kind of challenge. Putting in a convincing and dominant display against QPR, who sit seventh out of 20 in the U18 Professional Development League.

With the first team progressing at the rate it currently is, it has been difficult for the academy to keep up with the demands, and ultimately, limited chances have been provided in the senior set up. However, there is certainly potential for opportunities to be afforded to some of Luton’s younger players who are making excellent progress.

One of the key takeaways from the recent cup games is a lot of stylistic features that are seen in the first-team are mirrored in an U18s setting. Pressing high with intensity and intelligence, Luton caused problems for both defences during these two recent fixtures and you can bet your bottom dollar that this is integral as to why they have been so dominant in the league.

McCormack’s side also look to vary their attacking play and are as comfortable playing through the thirds as they are going more direct and benefitting from the physicality of Oli Lynch and the athleticism of Millar Matthews-Lewis.

Not only has this Cup run and fantastic domestic record captured the attention of the Luton fanbase, but important figures within the club have also shared their praise.

Club captain Sonny Bradley, who was on co-commentary duty for the clash with Preston was one senior figure within the first-team picture who was impressed, whilst Rob Edwards was equally as excited with the progress and standards shown.

Setting the bar high for the next for the class of 2023/24, it truly has been an excellent campaign so far.

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