APPLETON: I WON’T TAKE STEP BACK
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.
STAR MAN LUKE
SON WILKIN Luton
Town JAKE THE LAD: Jake Howells scored Luton’s second goal