Hatters careful not to provoke fans at a fervent Kenilworth Road

Town’s players were wary not to provoke any trouble in Saturday’s volatile FA Cup fifth round tie against Millwall at Kenilworth Road, writes Mark Wood.

Tuesday, 19th February 2013, 4:00 pm

With the scar of the 1985 riot a big talking point before the game, midfielder Alex Lawless said: “Games like this you see the press and stuff. You’re a professional, you’ve got to be professional and use your head and not wind the crowd up, just do well for yours and get your crowd going. From seeing the press and stuff that’s another reason why it’s so disappointing to lose now because it would have been so nice for our fans to have got a win over the opposition. It’s more disappointing because of that.”

Striker Andre Gray was glad there was no real vitriol in the atmosphere, saying: “Everything was concentrating on the football. I think I heard that was a long time ago and it seemed to be not as hostile as I thought it would be and I think the security did well with controlling the fans.

“Our crowd are always good. Obviously the Millwall fans added that extra noise, and the atmosphere was brilliant again and I think that kicks everybody on.”

Town’s players were applauded from the field by their fans at the end and skipper Ronnie Henry was delighted by the send-off.

He said: “Perfect. The supporters have been great. They’ve turned out in their numbers and I think it’s been a great day out here, considering the battle between Luton and Millwall from before. I think it’s all been fine, the supporters were great, came out in their numbers and I’ve got to thank them.”

And striker Scott Rendell relished the atmosphere, saying: “Anybody wants to play in front of as many people as they can and this place when it’s full, like today, as you can see, it was rocking.

“We had a couple of very good spells in the game and we got them on the back foot, we tried pressing high and you could hear when we got a block in or they put the ball out of play or anything like that you can hear them all roar, and that’s the magnificent thing about this place. It’s fantastic, we just need to knuckle down and work for the league now and give them something to cheer.”

Midfielder Lawless, meanwhile, was disappointed to let the bumper home crowd down, but hopes they will keep coming back for more.

He added: “I think if we can get a few results in the league you will see that every week here then. We get it away as well and the support is great. I think people would probably come maybe on a one-off today, in fact maybe a neutral, it’s often like that anyway and as a player it’s great. If anything it feels more like when you lose like that today when you feel like you’ve given a good account and errors it’s more disappointing then because you feel you’ve disappointed yourself and there’s a lot of people you see disappointed as well. It’s not nice to see.

“It definitely had an effect the timing (of the goals). But the crowd were great today and the lads fed off it and it’s a shame the goals came when they did. If we could have managed to get one before them then it would have been great to see what would happen then. It’s just very disappointing.”