U18s Coach Proud Of Town's Effort“Charlie Higgs and Ryan Barnett, who are both U-16, weren’t intimidated at all,” added Dawes.
“They went on and imposed themselves at the game and they made a difference when they came on.
“I don’t think there was that much in the game at all and like I said, there were eight of those players who played today who are going to play in that tournament again next year.
“I think the fans will see that this group of players will all fight and compete.
“They all want to win a game of football. They have got quality that they showed in spells today but that’s the next big step for them, trying to manage these occasions on this pitch and try to be a little more relaxed and composed in possession.
“I thought it took us a little bit too long to make passes and keep possession and use the pitch a little bit more.”
Two of Ian Dawes’ changes came in the shape of Charlie Higgs and Ryan Barnett, both of whom represent the under 16’s and the Manager believes that the 600 plus crowd would have seen a lot of positives from this group of young lads.
“We matched them in a physical battle,” he said. “At half-time we asked if we could get a bit more quality in the game and I thought on the ball in the second half we were better but, like I said, key moments at the back cost us the game.
“What frustrates me is that they didn’t really work hard enough for that their first goal it was a bit too easy for them.
“We knew their game plan was to pack the midfield so we had to stop them and then try and play ourselves and I thought we did that really well and the two goals came through the long ball.
“We ended the game with two U-16 players and I thought they worked hard and will all be better for it.
“At the end you’re just hoping for one big chance but we just didn’t quite take our opportunity.”
And despite Luton’s physical advantage, Dawes believes that his side more than matched a side who are currently top of their respective league.
After a somewhat cagey first 40 minutes, where Luton’s Alex Atkinson struck the post from distance, Town ended the half on top with two quick chances for Ethan Jones and then Jack Watts.
“I thought the lads, from start to finish, were outstanding in the way they applied themselves in the game,” said Dawes.
“They worked hard, they fought and towards the end of the first half we had a couple of good chances. At half-time we were feeling a little bit confident.
“I thought we got into the game really well but a couple of key moments defensively in the second half inevitably cost us the game.
“However, we kept going and the younger players we had out on the pitch did really well.
“They made a good cup tie out of it and they’ll all be better for the experience.”
Two second-half goals from Hatters forward Freddie Hinds was enough to take the trophy back to Kenilworth Road, despite Chris Gallagher’s penalty 20-minutes from time halving the arrears in front of over 600 fans at the Greenhous Meadow.
Head of Academy coaching Ian Dawes felt his players were ‘outstanding’ in their Football League Youth Alliance Cup Final defeat to Luton Town.