Cambridge City 0 – 4 Luton Town 31/07/11

Posted on July 31, 2011

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Two goals in each half secured a comfortable win as the Town got back to winning ways with a friendly victory over Cambridge City.

Adam Watkins continued his promising pre-season with a well-taken early goal, Curtis Osano hit a wonder-strike, and Aaron O’Connor picked up from where he left off against Gabala with a brace.

Results in this kind of match are of little real significance and the Hatters will have been expected to defeat their Southern League opponents; but you can’t fake good style and the Town produced some sparkling football that suggests things are coming together well ahead of the start of the season.

New right-sided midfielder James Dance excelled with some top-quality touches, dribbles and crosses that would have caused problems for any opposition. Watkins again looked like he is ready for a more senior role this season with another lively performance and a goal, on-trial duo Leon McKenzie and Nathan Elder did themselves no harm with solid displays up front, and Alex Lacey belied his young age with an impeccable display at the back.

The Town started brightly in the Cambridgeshire sunshine, and created a number of chances early on. Strikers McKenzie and Elder linked up to good effect with Watkins who was playing in an advanced midfield role ahead ofKeith Keane, and City struggled to cope with the trio’s neat interchange play.

After 18 minutes the visitors took the lead. Keane picked the ball up deep in his own half and hit a pin-point 40-yard diagonal ball out to Dance on the wing. Showing fantastic technique, Dance brought the ball down from the air and cut inside his marker with the same touch before looking up and squaring for Watkins, who timed his run from midfield perfectly to finish from 12 yards.

That midfield pairing of Watkins and Dance were really beginning to dominate the game with their ball control and vision. They seemed to be involved in all of the Town’s best play, as the Hatters came close to extending their lead in a period of dominance. Elder’s header was cleared off the line from a Dance cross, Watkins stabbed wide after being teed up by Dance, Dance forced former Town ‘keeper Zac Barret into a good save, and another Dance cross was headed straight at the ‘keeper by Elder.

But when the second goal was scored, by Osano just before half-time, the goal was entirely the right-back’s own making. Picking the ball up deep in his own half, the Kenyan dribbled over the half-way line before switching gears and bursting forward, leaving City players trailing in his wake. Sprinting away from two Lilywhites defenders, he cut inside a third and unleashed a 25-yard left-foot rocket into the top right-hand corner. It was the kind of goal that, had it been scored in a competitive fixture, would have been considered a goal of the season contender. If an away friendly at Cambridge City  on a summer’s weekend didn’t seem the most attractive of fixtures before kick-off, Osano’s goal alone made the match worth seeing.

Many substitutions and the searing heat meant that the second half went through some quiet periods, but although Cambridge substitute Dubi Ogbonna rattled Mark Tyler’s crossbar with a viciously-struck shot, the Town’s dominance was never in question.

Barrett, City’s captain, made one splendid point-blank save when Elder volleyed Dance’s teasing cross, but the Hatters had to wait until the 79th minute before grabbing a third.

Dance cut in from the right and slipped the ball into substitute O’Connor, and the former Rushden man exchanged a one-two with fellow sub Danny Crow before slotting the ball past Barret into the bottom left-hand corner.

And Dance and O’Connor were involved one last time for a fourth goal in the 90th minute. Dance combined with Willmott as the two wingers ran rings around a tired City defence, and when Willmott fed the ball into the area O’Connor was there to fire into the back of the net.

Minute by minute report – Below

Full Time, a 4-0 win for the Tow.

90 mins: GOOOOAAAL City 0 – Hatters 4 (O’Connor)Emphatic stuff, third goal in two games for O’Connor. Nice interplay between Dance and Willmott, Dance assisted O’Connor to finish inside the area.

85 mins: Attendance given as 294. Lots of Hatters included in that number, a good effort.

83 mins: Lawlessfires a long-range shot over the bar after being set up by Willmott.

81 mins: In hot and tiring conditions, the players are still putting on a good show and there was a quick end-to-end passage of play there. Ed Asafu-Adjaye cleared Craig Hammond’s header off the line, and the Town broke straight up the other end, Robbie Willmott beating his man and sending a low left-foot shot just wide of the far post.

79 mins: GOOOOOAAAL Cambridge City 0 – 3 Hatters (O’Connor) Lovely goal, as the Town extend their lead. Dance fed O’Connor, who played a neat one-two on the edge of the box with Crow before slotting in to the bottom left corner. Very neat goal.

74 mins: Luton sub – Robbie Willmott on for Amari Morgan-Smith.

60 mins: Great save from Barrett. Dance again went past his man and curled in a fantastic low cross. Elder got in front of his marker and made good contact on the volley, but the former Hatters youth keeper made a terrific point-blank save.

56 mins: Great effort there from Cambridge substitute Dubi Ogbonna, on for Lee Clift at half time. He smashed the ball from a tight angle – Tyler was well beaten and as the ball bunced down off the crossbar the City players celebrated, thinking it was in, but the referee and linesman waved play on.

2nd half: Sorry, lost you again there, my laptop overheated in the sun I think. Super first half from the Town. City might be relatively lowly opposition but you can’t fake a good style, and th likes of Dance, Osano, Watkins and Lacey have shown style in abundance. A few changes at half-time: Jake Howells, Alex Lawless, Will Antwi, and Danny Crow come on, Adam Watkins,Keith Keane, Dean Beckwith and Leon McKenzie depart.

41 mins: GOOOOOAAAALL!!! Cambridge City 0 – Hatters 2 (Osano) What a goal! Osano picked the ball up in his own half, strode into the City half, switched gears to steam past two Cambridge players, cut inside and smashed into the top-right-hand corner with his left foot. A phenomenal goal, and he’ll quickly become a fan-favourite if he can regularly replicate anything like that kind of form on a regular basis.

37 mins: Is it just me or has Alex Lacey grown a couple of inches in height since last season? He’s cetainly bulked up at least, and is really dominating on the floor and in the air at the back.

34 mins: Speculative effort from Craig Hammond of Cambridge. A chipped ball over the top saw Hammond and Beckwith in a one-on-one race, so the striker got his shot away early and attempted to lob Tyler from 35-yards. Well wide though, so not a problem for the Hatters keeper.

32 mins: It’s the Dance and Watkins show so far. The twinkle-toed duo linked up nicely on the right wing there to set McKenie into the area, but City defender Dave Theobald got back wll to thwart the ex-Peterborough man.

29 mins: Another half-cjhance for the Town. Dance took the ball down from a deep corner (he really has a lovely touch by the way) and floated in a chipped cross towards Elder. The big target man, who has been playing well, just couldn’t get enough power in the header and Barrett was able to pluck the ball out of the air.

25 mins: As we take a brather while Luton captain Beckwith receives treatment for taking a knee in the back, I’ll fill you in on the action from the first period of the game. Under a very warm Cambridgeshire sky, the Hatters have started very brightly. Alex Lacey is looking very assured and confident in defence, and Watkins has been linking up nicely with Elder and McKenzie going forward. We’ve had a couple of chances, with Elder having a header cleared off the line, Dance having a drilled effort well-saved by former Town ‘keeper Zac Barrett, while Watkins was unlucky not to double his personal tally after being nicely set-up by Dance a moment ago.

21 mins: Apologies again for the lack of coverage for the first 15 minutes of the game, I was having some connections issues here in Cambridge. The Hatters are lining up 4-4-2 with Tyler in goal, new signing Curtis Osano at right back, captain Dean Beckwith and Alex Lacey in central defence with Ed Asafu-Adjaye at left back. James Dance is playing right midfield, Amari Morgan-Smith on the left, with Keith Keane and Adam Watkins starting in the middle. Up front, trialists Leon McKenzie and Nathan Elder are already impressing as a partnership.

17mins GOOOOAL!!! City 0-Luton 1 (Watkins) Terrific team goal from the Town. Keith Keane hit a beautiful 40-yard diagonal ball out to James Dance out on the right wing, Dance showed great flair to bring the ball down and cut inside his marker with the same touch, and then squared to Adam Waykins who buried his chance from 12 yards. Very impressive stuff from the Hatters, wh have started very brightly indeed.

Teams:

CITY: 1. Zac Barrett, 2. Liam Nicell, 3. Declan Rogers, 4. Dave Theobald, 5. Jordan Lambert, 6. Joey Abbs, 7. Lewis Trimmer, 8. Robbie Nightingale, 9. Craig Hammond, 10. Lee Clift, 11. Luke Robbins.

TOWN: 1. Mark Tyler, 2. Curtis Osano, 3. Ed Asafu-Adjaye, 4. Keith Keane, 5. Dean Beckwith, 6. Alex Lacey, 7. James Dance, 8. Adam Watkins, 9. Nathan Elder, 10. Leon McKenzie, 11. Amari Morgan-Smith. SUBS: Will Antiw, Aaron O’Connor, Jake Howells, Robbie Willmott, Danny Crow, Alex Lawless, Kevin Pilkington

This report was originally published on www.lutontown.co.uk

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