NAYLOR’S RED SINKS UNITED
CAMBRIDGE United boss Richard Money felt the decision to send off Tom Naylor was the turning point in his side’s narrow defeat against Luton Town.
The midfielder, who was making his debut after joining on loan from Derby, was dismissed after 55 minutes for a two-footed challenge on Jim Stevenson.
Money had no complaints about the decision though, or the one to award the Hatters an 80th minute penalty kick, that Mark Cullen netted from at the second attempt.
He said: “The red card does change it.
“Even with the red card I still thought we would have enough to at least walk off the pitch with a point.
“I think it’s always wise to look after the event, but on first sighting, it didn’t look a particularly good challenge.
“But I have to say that I thought there were a few more than that, while it looks a penalty from where I am.
“You get days like that when you give away a penalty kick and then the goalkeeper saves the penalty and it goes straight back to the goalscorer and you start to think it’s not our day.
“I thought we were very good, I can’t say anything other than praise as I thought we were terrific.”
Town boss John Still added: “It was a game of few chances.
“I don’t think anyone had too many, but you expect that in this game.
“It was just about seeking out the one opportunity.
“I thought we were a bit unlucky on more than a couple of occasions.
“With 10 men, I thought we controlled proceedings in the game.
“Sometimes you can run away with 10 men, I’ve had it for and against, when it’s hard to win or you can get rolled over.
“But we can only worry about the job we did, and we did a very, very professional job in a hostile environment.”
The first half failed to live up to it’s star billing with chances at an absolute premium.
Tom Elliott saw his snapshot crash against the woodwork in a frenetic start.
A much-improved second period saw Naylor dismissed for his studs up challenge and Luton took advantage with Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu to the fore.
First he sent a rocket of a shot that hammered into the crossbar and away.
While it was from his lungbursting run that the Hatters eventually broke the deadlock too.
Breaking away at pace, the midfielder was brought down by Richard Tait in the area for a penalty with 10 minutes to go.
Cullen saw his tame effort saved by Chris Dunn, only for the rebound to fall perfectly in his path to fire into the net.
Cambridge tried to mount a late fight back, as Greg Taylor volleyed narrowly wide for the visitors, but once Elliott’s header was punched clear by Mark Tyler in the Hatters goal, the game was up for Cambridge. And Luton were eventually value for money for the three points.
STAR MAN P RUDDO CK-MP ANZU Luton TAKE TWO: Mark Cullen reacted quickest to the rebound from his penalty to score the only goal and, inset, celebrates the strike