ROBINS’ UNBEATEN RUN ENDS AT LUTON
HATTERS boss John Still paid tribute to his side’s resilience as they ground out a win over previously unbeaten Cheltenham Town.
Mark Cullen’s goal after just eight minutes proved enough as Town recorded their first home victory of the campaign.
Still said:“We found the way we played first half really good, and in the second half, the word we had to come up with was resilience.
“They were pushing people on, got lots of balls in our box and I thought we defended it really well.
“Tyles (Mark Tyler) has done well without making a save you would say was fantastic, but I think the thing that we had was that resilience which was vital.
“We had it last year, maybe not that much, but certainly had to have it in places like Macclesfield and here against Lincoln and here against Halifax and they’re all part of it.
“So to have that in your team, can get you over difficult times.”
Cheltenham mounted a second half onslaught as they were denied by home goalkeeper Mark Tyler on a number of occasions.
And Robins manager Mark Yates added: “In the second half I thought we were outstanding and I think if we’d have got one we would have got a couple, but it wasn’t to be.
“I won’t fault the lads as long as I get effort like that. We’ve been built on hard work, effort and commitment and I got that all game.
“I just thought the first 15-20 minutes we were a bit misguided and we got beaten at what perhaps we do to teams a little bit too often. “Credit to them, they had something to hang on to and managed to do so. Their keeper has made a few good saves, but it’s just how we respond from this now.”
A strong start from the hosts paid dividends as, after Ross Lafayette saw his shot blocked and Cullen’s header was cleared off the line, they took the lead on eight minutes.
Scott Griffiths swung over a cross from the left and Cullen nodded beyond Trevor Carson for his second goal of the season.
The hosts had further chances. Lafayette had another effort cleared, while Luke Guttridge flashed just wide from distance.
Cheltenham threatened only sporadically, with Joe Hanks off target twice from range, and Steve McNulty making a superb block from Koby Arthur.
After the break, Hatters thought they had a second when substitute Jim Stevenson turned in from close range, but he was denied by a very late assitant referee’s flag.
The Robins then enjoyed wave after wave of attacks as they can count themselves very unlucky not to gain something from the game.
John Marquis’ free-kick was parried by Tyler, who then beat away Jason Taylor’s fierce drive and stood up well when substitute Omari Sterling-James raced through.
Guttridge sent an acrobatic volley over Carson’s bar and Cullen’s touch let him down, but Robins kept going, with Arthur the main culprit as he dragged wide more than once.
Tyler then saved the day late on too, reacting well to deny Arthur as Luton clung on.
LUTON: (4-4-2): Tyler 8, Lacey 7 (Stevenson 54 7), McNulty 8, Wilkinson 7, Williams 7 (Drury 78 6), Smith 8, Ruddock Mpanzu 8, Griffiths 8, Guttridge 7 (Howells 71 6), Cullen 6, Lafayette 7. Subs not used: Justham, Wall, Walker, Rooney. CHELTENHAM: (4-4-2): Carson 6, Brown 6, M Taylor 6, Elliott 5 (Harrison 46 6) , Braham-Barrett 6, Wynter 6 (Gornell 90 N/A), Hanks 7 (Sterling-Jones 63 5), Richards 7, J Taylor 6, Arthur 7, Marquis 8 Subs not used: Haworth, Deaman, Black, Reynolds.
MAKING HIS MARK: Cullen celebrates his early strike, which proved to be the winner STAR MAN MARK TYLER