AP­PLE­TON: I WON’T TAKE STEP BACK

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Simmonds

MICHAEL Ap­ple­ton vowed not to panic de­spite Ox­ford fall­ing into the rel­e­ga­tion zone fol­low­ing a slug­gish de­feat at Lu­ton.

The Yel­lows boss, who took over in the sum­mer, saw goals from Luke Wilkin­son and Jake How­ells con­demn his side to the lower reaches of League Two.

But the for­mer Pom­pey boss bit back:“My pa­tience has been tested a few times, but at the end of the day, you’re there to be shot at and I’ve got no is­sues with that at all.

“I said right from the start, I won’t be tak­ing a back­wards step and I cer­tainly won’t be do­ing any­thing dif­fer­ently this com­ing week or the fol­low­ing week, or the fol­low­ing week after that.

“It’s go­ing to take a lit­tle bit of time, it’s al­ready taken a lit­tle bit longer than I fully ex­pected.

“But when you break the game down like I did do, it's about tak­ing chances when they come along and try­ing to re­strict the op­po­si­tion to as less chances as you pos­si­bly can.”

Mean­while, Lu­ton first-team coach Hakan Hayret­tin re­vealed his team had been bat­tling a sick­ness bug in the week, as he added: “It’s a great re­sult for the foot­ball club and I think the boys showed great spirit and de­ter­mi­na­tion to see it through.

“They're a good team, we know what they're go­ing to bring to the ta­ble and I thought we were out­stand­ing.

“We've had peo­ple with stom­ach up­sets and the flu, we had to re­think the struc­ture of the team and it worked.

“The depth in our squad is quite deep, we've got some good play­ers com­ing back from in­jury and it worked for us. Ide­ally we would have had a lot more play­ers pick from, we didn't, but the boys we put out there did ter­rific.”

The hosts got off to a stun­ning start after just 80 seconds when de­fender Wilkin­son rose high­est to loop a header from How­ells' free kick over George Long and un­der­neath the bar.

The vis­i­tors even­tu­ally re­gained their com­po­sure and went on to en­joy some pe­ri­ods of pos­ses­sion.

Most of­ten than not though, their threats came from long range as the im­pres­sive Callum O'Dowda tested Mark Tyler with a low drive, while Brian Howard was wide on more than one oc­ca­sion.

After the break, home keeper Tyler made a su­perb stop from Ty­rone Bar­nett's de­flected drive with the striker then glanc­ing badly wide from six yards after O'Dowda sent over the per­fect cross.

The on-loan Peter­bor­ough for­ward was lucky to stay on the pitch with an aw­ful chal­lenge on Nathan Doyle as ref­eree Mark Hay­wood deemed it a yel­low card, when many oth­ers would have been reach­ing for the red.

Lu­ton then had the game sewed up on 67 min­utes when Johnny Mullins han­dled Alex Lacey's free kick in the area to gift the hosts a penalty.

Although How­ells saw his ef­fort saved by Long, he re­acted quick­est to bun­dle the re­bound over the line.

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

STAR MAN LUKE

SON WILKIN Lu­ton

Town JAKE THE LAD: Jake How­ells scored Lu­ton’s sec­ond goal

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