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Final Third Development League Digest

10 September 2015

The Final Third Development League is back in full swing and there was plenty to report from a thrilling first week, including a rampant return to action for Luton Town.

Final Third Development League – South Division

Luton's title defence got off to a flying start as they thumped Gillingham 7-0 at Kenilworth Road.

Zane Banton, Jack Marriott, Pelly Ruddock and Curtley Williams gave an experienced Hatters side a four-goal lead at the break, and the reigning South Division champions added three more in the second period through Marriott, Ruddock and substitute George Murray.

In the division's other game, goals from George Oakley, Ibby Akanbi and Callum Wilson helped AFC Wimbledon to maximum points at Bournemouth, who responded through a Sam Matthews penalty.

That 3-1 win sent the Dons to the top of the table, due to them kicking off their campaign a fortnight ago when they defeated Cambridge United 4-0. Oakley was on the scoresheet that day too, along with Egli Kaja and Ade Azeez, who netted twice.

Newcomers Southend United also started their season early, and they kicked things off with a 3-0 win at Gillingham last week – Ryan Leonard helping himself to a hat-trick.

Final Third Development League – East Division

Rotherham were the big winners in the East Division this week, cruising to a 5-0 success over Gateshead.

Farrend Rawson, Chris Maguire, Richard Wood, Paul Green and Danny Ward all helped themselves to goals in the Millers' victory.

There were five goals at the Proact Stadium too, where Chesterfield overcame Doncaster Rovers 3-2 thanks to Byron Harrison's second-half winner.

Harrison and Armand Gnanduillet had given the Spireites the lead twice in the first half, only to be cancelled out by two Liam Mandeville efforts, but Harrison's 75th-minute strike eventually proved the difference.

Elsewhere, Notts County got off the mark with a 2-0 win over Grimsby Town, courtesy of Jimmy Spencer and Lartey Sarpong goals, while Hartlepool triumphed by the same scoreline away at Scunthorpe United.

Connor Smith and Kingsley Williams were the men on target to get Pools off to a winning start.

Final Third Development League – West Division

West Division champions Port Vale began their title defence with a seven-goal thriller against Walsall, taking the points in a 4-3 success.

Jordan Cook put the Saddlers in front, but Vale struck back to lead at half-time through AJ Leitch-Smith and Ryan Lloyd.

A second-half brace from Chris Birchall extended the Valiants' lead, but Jordan Sangha and Cook replied to close the gap late on.

Bradford City hit five without reply past Burton Albion in their season opener, with a Dylan Mottley-Henry goal sandwiched between doubles from experienced pair Luke James and Paul Anderson.

The final game of the week came in Wales where Shrewsbury Town defeated Wrexham on Wednesday, thanks to a Scott Vernon brace and a Shaun Whalley effort.

Jordan Davies and Jonathan Royle responded for the hosts but it was to no avail, with the Shrews holding on for a 3-2 win.

To keep up-to-date with the latest news from the Final Third Development League, follow @FinalThirdDevLg on Twitter and join in the conversation using #FTDL hashtag.

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