Published: 15/01/2011 19:59 - Updated: 22/02/2011 12:15

Watkins and Atieno double up in cup cruise for Hatters

Written byBY IAN RYAN


Adam Watkins scores from the spot against Uxbridge
Adam Watkins scores from the spot against Uxbridge

Kenilworth Road
FA Trophy Second Round
Saturday, January 15, 2011, 3pm

A brace from youngster Adam Watkins and a double from Taiwo Atieno fired Luton Town into the last sixteen of the FA Trophy after comfortably disposing of lower league Uxbridge.

Atieno gave the Hatters the lead in the first half but Luton really turned on the style in the second with Watkins, in his first start for the Hatters, adding two either side of Atieno’s second, his first from the penalty spot before smashing home Luton’s fourth after good work down the right by Cauley Woodrow.

Richard Money rung the changes to the Luton Town side that drew 0-0 with AFC Wimbledon mid-week with Mark Tyler skippering a weakened Hatters side and Money handing 18-year-old Christian Tavernier his Luton debut.

Luton started in real comfort and it didn’t take long for them to find their feet, creating a neat and quick passing rhythm to regularly cut open the Uxbridge defence with JJ O’Donnell, in particular, enjoying plenty of space down the left to constantly get the better of Gavin Brown.

But the first effort on goal didn’t come until the tenth minute, after a quick break from the back allowed Jason Walker to attempt a David Beckhamstyle lob from the halfway line and Uxbridge keeper Michael Plwonski breathed a sigh of relief as the ball trickled just wide of the post as the beaten stopper scrambled back in vain.

The visitors offered nothing in return in the opening quarter of an hour and seemed to have a hit-andrun game plan to catch the Hatters on the break.

But after 18 minutes the Hatters were deservedly in front. Godfrey Poku drove forward from his own half and played Atieno through one-on-one with Plwonski and, with the keeper racing out, the striker kept his cool to slot the ball home.

Moments later, Tavernier was denied a dream debut goal as Walker cut the ball back to the midfielder just inside the area but the teenager’s effort came back off the bar despite beating Plwonski.

Uxbridge finally mustered an effort on goal after a slip from Alex Lacey allowed Chris Moore to race clear against Tyler. However, the striker’s effort lacked accuracy and Moore dragged his low drive wide.

Atieno should have made it 2-0 after brilliant work from O’Donnell – who continued to enjoy himself down the left against Brown – to deliver a near-perfect low cross for the striker to side foot straight into the arms of Plwonski. Anywhere either side of the keeper and the Hatters would have doubled their lead.

It was beginning to look like a training session for the Luton side with both Walker and Watkins testing Plwonski from range.

However, Uxbridge could have gone in at the break level after Luton were momentarily reduced to ten men when Lacey limped off the field injured, but Moore headed Andre Costa’s cross straight at Tyler in what was the visitors’ first effort of the match on target.

Atieno didn’t have long to wait before he was presented with the first chance of the second half but the striker squandered a free header from Lawless’s corner nodding straight at Plwonski – and then the Kenyan international nodded into the path of Watkins who blazed over.

A foul by Ed Asafu-Adjaye 25 yards out gave the visitors a golden opportunity to test Tyler when the resulting Dean Clark curling header took a deflection on the way through but the keeper got down well to save.

Watkins scored his first ever goal for the Hatters and Luton’s second of the match after Brown pulled down Atieno in the box. The youngster then stepped up to drill the spot kick into the bottom corner.

Watkins could have grabbed his second moments later as his low drive required a fine diving save to tip the ball wide.

The Hatters continued to charge forward with a long-range effort from Atieno finishing miles over the bar and a powerful strike from Cauley Woodrow.

Atieno then added his second after O’Donnell did well to beat his man and deliver a fantastic pass into the path of Atieno to fire home past Plwonski.

Moments later, Watkins also claimed his second and Luton’s fourth thanks to a great run and cross from Woodrow which allowed the midfielder to blast in at the near post and wrap up the win for the Hatters.

Watkins’ then limped off after picking up a knock with seconds remaining to loud applause from the Luton faithful – a well-deserved reaction to a memorable game in the youngster’s short career.

LUTON TOWN: Tyler, Atieno, Lawless, Asafu-Adjaye, Besta, Walker (Woodrow, 45), Lacey (Carney, 45), Poku, O’Donnell, Watkins, Tavernier (Ann, 61)
Unused subs: Patrick, Cain

Referee:  Mr S Martin

Attendance:  1,958 (140)

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