U’S SEEING NO HOME COMFORTS
OXFORD United manager Michael Appleton insisted he was happy with a point against high-flying Luton Town, despite it extending his side’s winless run at home to five games.
The U’s had to come from a goal behind as Jayden Stockley put Luton in front on 36 minutes, before Johnny Mullins levelled before half-time with his first strike of the season.
The result leaves Appleton’s side only six points off the drop zone, but the United boss said: “As points go it was as good a point as I’ve had for a while as manager because of the way the lads applied themselves.
“Over the next few games we’ll find out whether it was a point gained or two points dropped, but when you look at the game as a whole, we had the better opportunities.
“The first part of the second half, we started really strongly and the lads have had three or four glorious opportunities.
“Then Luton came back into it for ten to 15 minutes. It was a great game, there was real intensity about it and it ebbed and flowed. I was delighted with the way the lads went about it.”
Nathan Doyle went closest inside the opening 60 seconds when he fired well over from Andy Drury’s pass.
Town then had an even better opportunity as new signing Ryan Hall was denied by keeper Ryan Clarke, who spread himself to deny the winger from close range and Jayden Stockley’s follow up deflected behind.
Oxford should have taken the lead on 31 minutes as Danny Hylton released Patrick Hoban, but he couldn’t beat Mark Tyler. The Hatters then had the lead on 36 minutes when Shaun Whalley’s cross-shot was squeezed in by Stockley for his first Luton goal.
However, Oxford weren’t behind for long, levelling two minutes before the break as Mullins was left unmarked to drill into the bottom corner.
After the break, U’s deadline-day signing Alex MacDonald and Josh Ruffels were both wayward, while Mullins headed badly wide when completely unmarked and Hoban’s goal was was disallowed for offside.
O’Dowda poked tamely straight at Tyler, while James Roberts burst through as Tyler saved well with his legs.
Luton almost won it on 88 minutes as Wall’s low free-kick was well parried by Clarke, while Jonathan Smith’s first time shot swerved off target.
Hatters boss John Still said:“It was a fair result. I thought we took the ascendancy, but then I was disappointed with the goal we conceded.
“I’m happy with the performance, I’m happy with the result, and we’ve lost five games this season, so I’m happy with that too.
“I thought they brought a few players in and they looked quite strong. We defended okay and finished strongly, which was pleasing. But I think both teams will look at it and think ‘That was about the right result’.”
BUNDLED HOME: Sam Stockley finds a way to goal for Luton
GUIDED HOME: Luton’s Mark Cullen heads for goal
STAR MAN DANNY HYLTON