Hatters boss Still glad missed chances didn’t cost his side against Bees

Creative Luton should have won their Boxing Day game at Barnet much more emphatically than 2-1 according to boss John Still, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th December 2013, 10:00 am
Barnet v Luton Town, photos by Liam Smith. wk 52.
Barnet v Luton Town, photos by Liam Smith. wk 52.

Joe Davis and Luke Guttridge both missed gilt-edged chances in the victory, with Town creating a host of other opportunities that they also failed to take.

First half goals from Paul Benson and Alex Lawless eventually proved to be enough, but they were forced to endure a nervous ending after Jonathan Smith was stretchered with a terrible injury and Jake Hyde pulled a goal back midway through the second half.

Still was said: “I think before they scored we could have been four or five up to be honest, I do.

“But that’s every credit to them, they’re involved in the game the same as us, they fought hard and took a few chances by throwing people forward and with one of them I think we found Luke Guttirdge with just the keeper to beat, and we really had to take the other goal and the other goal kills the game.

“The effect it (the Smith injury) had on me was such, that it must have had that effect on players.

“I think they probably found it hard to concentrate, I did. But away from home, against Barnet, we’ve won 2-1, that’s a great win for us.”

He was full of praise for the goals Luton did score in the first half though, saying: “It was a very good goal.

“I just had a feeling that playing him (Lawless) on what you might term his wrong side, might up his goals tally to get him on his right foot and it was a superb goal.

“I thought that was a good goal. The break for the first goal, I was happy with that.

“Andre Gray’s done really well and Benno’s done what Benno does best, and if Joe’s one goes in I would have thought that it would have been probably out of sight.

“But with two goals it’s not the finished article and we’ve had to dig in and work hard.

“Before they scored we should have taken a chance or two, we didn’t, but we won the game and at the end of the day that’s what’s important.”

It was the early miss by Davis though that stuck in the mind, and Still joked it would likely feature on future Christmas blooper reels.

He said: “We played really well first half, I think we’ll have to watch the TV at Christmas the next few years and see the miss from Joe Davis because I’m sure that’s going to be on one of them (shows), he should have scored comfortably.”

Town were nowhere near as good in the second half as they were in the first, and Still was certain Smith’s horrific injury played a large part in it.

“It’s really difficult, because I can’t say how the players feel at half time,” he said.

“I know how I feel, I can’t say how the players feel. It’s just a difficult time for everybody at that particular stage.

“At the end of the day, away from home, I think we’ve played really well, we’ve had to dig in a little bit at the end, but that shows perhaps a little bit of spirit as well.

“It’s really all I can say, I’m not really focused if I’m being honest.

“We’ve played well enough to win the game, Barnet had a go second half, but in the circumstances the way we’ve played I’m really happy.”

Town sold out their official allocation of 1,700 tickets for the game, with a number of Hatters fans suspected to have been in the home ends too, meaning they made up around half of the 3,608-strong crowd.

And Still was full of praise for their contribution, adding: “(1,700) and more I think. It was fantastic, the support was unbelievable, but it has been, and as long as the players play with spirit this is the key.

“You are not always going to play great, but as long as you play with spirit I believe that support will stay with us.”