HAT­TERS BOSS STAY­ING HAPPY

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Sim­monds

NATHAN Jones de­clared Lu­ton Town’s per­for­mance out­stand­ing de­spite watch­ing them fall to de­feat at home to Craw­ley Town.

The Hat­ters boss felt his side dom­i­nated through­out but Craw­ley ended a week in which they were suc­cess­fully taken over by Turk­ish busi­ness­man Ziya Eren with vic­tory.

Matt Har­rold’s early strike, his third goal against Lu­ton this sea­son, sealed it but Jonathan Smith and Paul Ben­son both hit the wood­work to frus­trate the hosts.

“Per­for­mance-wise, I thought we were out­stand­ing,” said Jones.

“The way we moved the ball, the way we cre­ated, the amount of chances, op­por­tu­ni­ties, pos­ses­sion we had, was enough to win two or three games. But we didn’t.

“Credit to Craw­ley, they had one chance and took it and then showed a real re­silience to de­fend and grind out a re­sult.

“I’m happy with how we played, that’s as dom­i­nant a game you’re likely to see at this level, re­gard­less of the score. I’m just bit­terly dis­ap­pointed that we didn’t con­vert that into three points, be­cause if we had won that it would have been a won­der­ful, won­der­ful per­for­mance and a won­der­ful, won­der­ful day for Lu­ton Town.”

The Hat­ters dom­i­nated dur­ing the first ten min­utes, with Smith’s 20-yarder hit­ting the base of the post.

But the Red Devils led with their first ef­fort on goal, Har­rold clin­i­cally net­ting an eighth of the sea­son.

Craig Mack­ail-Smith di­verted Stephen O’Don­nell’s low cross over the top as Lu­ton looked for an im­me­di­ate re­sponse, be­fore the vis­i­tors looked to nab a se­cond, Gwion Ed­wards low shot, not miss­ing the bot­tom cor­ner by much.

That saw Craw­ley have their best pe­riod of play, Scott Cuth­bert pro­duc­ing a su­perb goal-sav­ing chal­lenge on Liam McAlin­den.

The se­cond half brought con­tin­ued pres­sure by the hosts, with penalty shouts for both Jack Mar­riott and sub Joe Pig­ott.

Dan Potts’ shot then drew a fine save from Jones, with O’Don­nell’s re­bound cleared off the line by Lanre Oye­banjo.

Sub Paul Ben­son then put a free header against the bar from close range as Lu­ton were beaten.

Craw­ley boss Mark Yates though felt his side were de­serv­ing of their vic­tory.

He said:“I thought we were great. How many shots has Paul Jones saved? Maybe two or three in the game.

“They’re a good side, they’ve got a big squad, high ex­pec­ta­tions here, won the last four and we’ve done the dou­ble over them.

“We worked that hard that we de­served the lit­tle bit of luck with the one that crashed on to the bar. “Balls have flashed across our box, but we de­fended it, had the de­sire to not let ball in the net, the de­sire to win the first ball.

“Yes they over­loaded us in the wide ar­eas at times, but we were su­perb and stood re­ally strong. “We al­ways car­ried a threat, and apart from the one that hit the bar, we had the three best chances of the game, so we were well worth our win.”

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