The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Jef­fer­son Lake

THE fi­nal eight games of the sea­son will be all about the play-off pur­suit for both Lu­ton and Northamp­ton, and it’s the Cob­blers who will be rid­ing high on con­fi­dence af­ter James Gray’s win­ner four min­utes from time – even if Hat­ters boss John Still felt it should have been a dif­fer­ent story at Six­fields.

The Hat­ters lost for a sixth straight game de­spite tak­ing the lead in the first minute of the sec­ond half through mid­fielder Alex Law­less’ strike.

The out­stand­ing Ricky Holmes equalised from the spot af­ter Michael Har­ri­man was ad­judged to have han­dled a cross and Gray won it late on.

It was the right re­sult and will once again stir the Cob­blers’ play-off am­bi­tions as they now sit just four points out­side of the top seven.

Lu­ton are two fur­ther ahead but have now slipped be­low the dot­ted line in a di­vi­sion in which they were lead­ers in Oc­to­ber.

Their manager Still felt his team were de­prived at Northamp­ton by a ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sion that he viewed as more ball to hand on Har­ri­man.

“The de­ci­sion that went against us for the penalty was dis­ap­point­ing,” he said.

“I can moan about that as much as I like but it’s not go­ing to change the re­sult and we’ve lost again.

“I thought we were com­fort­able for large parts of the game.

“We had a few more men back in the team and I didn’t feel like we were un­der any real pres­sure.

“Peo­ple were do­ing their job and it was a case of con­tain­ing them be­cause we knew chances would come af­ter that.

“We did ev­ery­thing that I would have liked us to have done.

“But I can’t con­trol the un­con­trol­lables and one of those is the ref­eree. We’ve had so many de­ci­sions go against us this year where we haven’t had penal­ties but no­body even ap­pealed for the one they got.

“Things like that are hurt­ing us at the mo­ment and I felt for the play­ers be­cause we’ve made mis­takes in games re­cently but our per­for­mance here was first class and I’ve got no prob­lems with it.”

Northamp­ton are back on track af­ter af­ter two suc­ces­sive de­feats prior to this game and their manager Chris Wilder was de­lighted with the re­sult.

“That’s what you are in this busi­ness for, days like this, it was a proper game of foot­ball,” Wilder said.

“We were dis­ap­pointed not to go in at half-time ahead but Lu­ton are a danger­ous side and they were determined to stop their los­ing run.

“I felt we de­served to win the game.

“We told the play­ers at half-time to go out and play like they can and get the win they de­served.

“Lu­ton are an at­tack­ing team but we pushed them back and moved the ball around well, we just lacked that fi­nal pass. Their keeper has made some very good saves to keep them in it but they were al­ways go­ing to be danger­ous from set-pieces.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

RUN­NING WILD: James Gray cel­e­brates scor­ing Northamp­ton’s sec­ond

MY BALL: Lu­ton’s El­liot Justham holds on tight


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