HATTERS BOSS STAYING HAPPY
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.”