Sheffield Wednesday: Jordan Lonchar stars as Owls kids thump Luton Town in the FA Youth Cup
Remember the name: Jordan Lonchar.
The gifted forward claimed a perfect hat-trick to help Wednesday’s Under-18s defeat 10-man Luton Town in the FA Youth Cup yesterday.
Lonchar has been scoring freely for the Owls’ youth team throughout the 2016/17 campaign and enjoyed taking centre stage at Hillsborough.
Steven Haslam, the Wednesday head of academy coaching, told The Star: “Jordan is a real potent threat for us in the final third and he showed his qualities.
“He can score different types of goals and is a player we are looking to develop over the coming years.”
Without top-scorer George Hirst, who travelled south with the first-team squad ahead of today’s Championship encounter at Reading, the hosts initially struggled to break down Luton’s defence.
It was the visitors who caused more problems and Owls goalkeeper Dan Wallis excelled in between the sticks, producing two smart stops to deny Arthur Read and Jack Snelus.
“Dan made some key saves at times,” acknowledged Haslam.
Against the run of play, Lonchar opened his account in the 39th minute, firing home from inside the six-yard box after great work out wide by Fraser Preston.
Moments later, a well-worked training ground routine carved Luton open. Owls captain Connor Kirby, who was outstanding in midfield, took a free-kick short to Liam Waldock and his lovely reverse pass released Preston, who drilled a low shot past Tiernan Parker.
There were more heroics from Wallis after the re-start, with Luton missing a number of opportunities to hand themselves a lifeline in the tie.
It ultimately came back to haunt them as Lonchar superbly headed in Joe West’s inch perfect cross.
After Harry Bean had been sent off for the Hatters following two bookable offences, Lonchar added the coup de grace, jinking his way past a defender before rifling home.
Wallis came to the hosts rescue again in added on time as he brilliantly kept out Snelus’ penalty.
“I’m delighted for the boys,” said Haslam, whose side will entertain Gillingham in the fourth round of the competition. “They put in a great shift and it was a good performance from back to front.
“It was a great occasion for the boys. There’s a bit more razzamatazz to this competition and they passed the test with flying colours.”
It is the first time the Owls have progressed to the fourth round since 2013.
Of Hirst’s senior call-up, Haslam added: “It’s our job to supply players for the first-team and it’s great that George has travelled with them. We want as many players as we can in and around that first-team environment.”
*Owls: Wallis; Brennan, Cook, Lee, West; Kirby (Swain 89), Price (Hunt 76); Hughes (Reaney 82), Waldock, Preston, Lonchar. Substitutes: Walker, Shaw.