A light-hearted look at the League, in­clud­ing Lu­ton’s cake mix

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Stu­art Ham­monds

ONE of Lu­ton man­ager John Still’s favourite foot­balling analo­gies in­volves com­par­ing his team’s per­for­mance to the mix­ing of the in­gre­di­ents that go into a cake. It doesn’t need Great Bri­tish

Bake Off pre­sen­ter Mary Berry to tell fel­low vet­eran Still that open­ing the oven door be­fore time will al­ways make the end prod­uct sink.

And so it has proved for the Hat­ters, who let in a goal in the 90th minute and be­yond for the fourth time in seven league games to go down 3-2 at Notts County last Satur­day.

With­out con­ced­ing their late ad­van­tages, Lu­ton would have gone into this week­end 10th in League Two tak­ing into ac­count the five ex­tra points and im­proved goal dif­fer­ence they’d boast.

In­stead, they wel­comed Mans­field Town to Kenilworth Road from 20th po­si­tion, with Still bring­ing back his Con­fer­ence-win­ning cen­tre-half Steve McNulty af­ter a month warm­ing the bench in an at­tempt to keep the door firmly shut.

Con­fi­dent

And the 65-year-old man­ager is con­fi­dent his side’s po­si­tion will rise as their time-keep­ing im­proves – as has been the case in the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons.

“Wher­ever we’ve gone I think we’ve played well, but last-minute goals have cost us,” Still told The

Football League Pa­per. “The de­fend­ers have been out­stand­ing for 90 min­utes, but we look at it on the DVD and nor­mally it’s some kind of er­ror. Not al­ways what I’d call an ob­vi­ous er­ror – a mis­placed pass or a missed header. Some­times you’ve got to look for it to find it, but it’s there. So we just keep work­ing on it in train­ing.”

Not that Lu­ton haven’t been able to take ad­van­tage of late strikes them­selves. In all com­pe­ti­tions, seven of their ten games so far this term have in­cluded a last-minute or added-time goal – and Still isn’t too con­cerned at this stage.

“It’s los­ing that lit­tle bit of con­cen­tra­tion,” he added. “We’d be half­way up the ta­ble if we’d main­tained our fo­cus right to the whis­tle, but we’ll grow and grow, like we did last year.

“We were in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion then went on a great run that took us to the top of the league just af­ter Christ­mas. I think we are play­ing well so I’m quite com­fort­able with things at the mo­ment.”

PIC­TURES: Gareth Owen

SAME OLD STORY: Con­ced­ing late against Portsmouth and Ox­ford United

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