NATHAN TIPS HAT TO SIDE’S STRENGTH

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By James Owens

NATHAN Jones hailed an “im­mense” dis­play from Lu­ton af­ter they over­came the dual set­backs of go­ing a goal and a man down to tri­umph.

Jack Mar­riott can­celled out Ryan Lowe’s opener for the hosts, with Jake Gray snatch­ing the win­ner af­ter the Hat­ters weath­ered a storm fol­low­ing Alan Shee­han’s sec­ond-half dis­missal.

The win saw the Hat­ters move into the play-off spots, much to the de­light of their 995 trav­el­ling sup­port­ers, and boss Jones.

“The send­ing off gave oth­ers an op­por­tu­nity to show how im­mense we can be as a team,” Jones en­thused.

“We de­fended un­be­liev­ably well. We worked hard, and we pressed in the right ar­eas. Peo­ple went above and be­yond.”

David Artell re­placed Steve Davis at Gresty Road this week, and the hosts be­gan brightly un­der their new man­ager. They cashed in on their pos­i­tive start on 28 min­utes when Alex Ki­womya’s de­fence­s­plit­ting ball found Lowe just left of goal. The vet­eran striker seized the mo­ment with typ­i­cal com­po­sure, tak­ing a touch be­fore stroking the ball into the far cor­ner.

But Mar­riott had been a per­sis­tent men­ace at the other end, hav­ing al­ready drawn two good saves from Ben Gar­ratt in the Crewe goal. And his per­sis­tence was re­warded in the dy­ing mo­ments of the half, when he spun onto strike partner Danny Hylton’s flick-on to fire a pow­er­ful low ef­fort at Gar­ratt, with the ball squirm­ing through the keeper’s legs and into the back of the net. A rash late chal­lenge from Shee­han saw him dis­missed for a sec­ond book­ing seven min­utes af­ter the restart, and hosts Crewe used their man ad­van­tage to dom­i­nate the next 15 min­utes.

But when the Hat­ters fi­nally man­aged to mount an at­tack, Hylton did su­perbly to reach the by­line inside the box be­fore pulling back for Gray to side­foot home from close range.

And Hat­ters boss Jones re­served his most ful­some praise for his strike duo:

“Danny put in a shift that was just mon­u­men­tal again, and if Jack was scor­ing with ev­ery shot, at this point in time, he wouldn’t be play­ing for us,” said Jones. “He’s a threat, he’s got a low cen­tre of grav­ity, and he’s al­ways look­ing to get in be­yond.

“When they’re at it, he and Danny are as good a part­ner­ship as you’ll see.”

New Rail­way­men boss Ar­tel saw pos­i­tives in his side’s first-half dis­play, but ad­mit­ted that they are psy­cho­log­i­cally vul­ner­a­ble af­ter their re­cent poor run.

“For the first 40 min­utes, we were the better team against a side go­ing for the play-offs,” he said. “We have to amend it a lit­tle bit be­cause we can’t keep that in­ten­sity up.

“They’re frag­ile. It was two points from the last 21 avail­able be­fore this, and if we con­cede a goal we’re a bit like a deck of cards at the minute.

“Win­ning is a habit, and los­ing is a habit, and we’ve got to crack it, oth­er­wise

PIC­TURES: WhiteRosePho­tos

GRAY’S DAY: Lu­ton goalscorer Jake Gray hits the win­ner. In­set: New Crewe Alexan­dra man­ager David Artell STAR MAN JACK MAR­RIOTT Lu­ton

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