Smith out of the ordinary for Notts
JAMIE FULLARTON hailed the impact of former Manchester United star Alan Smith after the midfielder helped steer his Notts County side to victory at Luton.
Smith was a half-time substitute having replaced the injured Scot Bennett and the former England ace produced an imperious display at Kenilworth Road.
After Alan Sheehan scored an own goal against his old club to give Notts the lead, touching in Wes Atkinson’s cross, Smith created Jon Stead’s winner which was brilliantly taken by the striker.
And Fullarton was quick to acknowledge Smith’s contribution with the former Leeds midfielder having rejected a move to League Two promotion contenders Plymouth earlier this month.
“I was pleased with how the players responded because we had a disappointing result last week,” said Fullarton, who has won two of his first three games in charge. “They’ve shown they can keep an even keel and not allow it to affect them. Their attitude and application was first class.
“We were helped by Alan Smith who showed he is an influence in the dressing room and on the pitch. He showed his qualities and gave us that impetus.
“We created some very good chances and that reinforced the belief we could go on and win the game. I was very pleased.”
Luton did have their chances to score before Notts took the lead, which came as a result of some fine approach play.
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu was guilty of missing the best of them when he raced through just before half-time but steered a shot wide of the post.
And right at the death substitute Joe Pigott was denied by Haydn Hollis, who made a desperate goal-line clearance to keep Notts’ clean sheet intact.
Hatters boss Nathan Jones appreciated his side’s effort, but felt they were undone by a lack of ruthlessness in the final third.
“I want the players to enjoy playing at Kenilworth Road and make it difficult for opposing sides, but it has not been like that,” said Jones.
“We needed the first goal and had we got that, it might have been a different story.
“It’s all ifs and buts, but at the end of the day they were the more clinical and they got the result.
“We are trying to score goals at home and it’s not through a lack of effort.
“Our approach play was very good. Some of the interplay and fluency was excellent.
“We just did not have a clinical edge in the box and that’s something we will keep working on.”
STAR MAN JON STEAD Notts