Still remains philosophical despite ‘satisfying’ Braintree win
Satisfied Hatters chief John Still was delighted with the way his side came through Tuesday night’s challenging trip to Braintree on Tuesday night, writes Mark Wood.
The 2-1 victory was Town’s first-ever win at Cressing Road, but was no more important to Still than any other.
He said: “I prefer to win and the secret is you’ve got to win, all different sorts of wins. It was a very satisfying win, because people kept reminding me that we had never won there.
“Was it any more satisfying than Kidderminster? No. Was it any more satisfying than Woking? No, because it’s a win.
“The manner of the win, where we’ve all had to dig in, very pleasing, and the manner of the win, that for large parts of the game we were in control, and to go 2-0 up and then get a horrible deflection straight away, and lose two influential players, that was pleasing how we didn’t get bullied, didn’t take a step backwards and all stood up to the challenge of it, I thought was terrific.”
Winning ugly is also the sign of champions according to Still, but he felt his side had performed admirably on the night.
He said: “If you don’t play well, can you get something from the game, absolutely, 100 per cent. Sometimes you’re not going to play well every week, but it’s turning the 1-0 defeat into a 1-1 draw, and the 1-1 draw into a 2-1 win, absolutely that’s important.
“As I said, I think if the game goes five minutes after we score, I think we could actually score again, because I felt that was the way the game was going. But a deflection changed that and we had to come up with some real determination, some real team effort and it’s something I’ve never doubted and when we needed it, it was there.
“It was an encouraging way to win, because I look at some of our performances, we went away to Kidderminster and played some great stuff, some good football and some expansive football and won and I thought won comfortably.
“I think we also did that when we went away to Woking and played some good football, and there’s other times where you’ve got to find the other side of the game, I think like we did at Gateshead, everyone had to to dig and work hard because conditions were such that they weren’t conducive to what I call expansive football and I think Braintree falls into that category as well. The pitch was not in the best condition. I think it was very, very difficult for both teams if I’m being honest.
“And you’ve got to play conditions and we played conditions and came out on top and I think you’ve always go to find a way to win and I think the two lads at the back for the last quarter of the game did admirably, I was very pleased with them to be honest.”
That victory propelled the Hatters into second place in the league and kept them seven points behind leaders Cambridge United who comfortably beat lowly Aldershot 4-0.
Both Luton and the U’s have been in fantastic form with the pair scheduled to clash in a tantalising encounter at the Abbey on Saturday August 14.
But with that date put aside as an FA Trophy weekend, Still knows that crucial clash may have to wait.
He added: “You know one of the things I’ve learnt, I never look too far in front, because things can change.
“I’ve never been a believer in for or against six-pointers, I’ve never been a big believer in this game is only it. When it’s the last game of the season you need to win or lose something.
“Because things change really quickly and I think the season before last, I was watching the TV and the fella came on there, and I’ll never forget it, the TV guy, presenter, said ‘that’s it, the league’s Manchester United’s now’, I think they’d gone 10 or 11 points clear of Manchester City. Oh dear. Did Manchester United relax after that? I don’t know.
“As my old dad used to say, the only time it’s over is when you need seven off the last ball and I think that’s true so I never look too far at other results. There’ll come a time when we know and all the other teams know what they’ve got to do, but at the moment all we can do is keep playing and when we get towards the end of the season we’ll see exactly where we are and where everyone else is. I don’t really look too much at other clubs and where they are and what they are doing and when we play there.
“Because the game can change in an instant. In three games the season can change, it really can. A team can be 10 points clear of you, 12 points clear, and lose three games on the trot. It happens in football for a variety of reasons and all of a sudden it’s all changed again.
“Let’s worry about Cambridge when and if it comes on that day and we’ll worry about it then. And if it doesn’t it can be later in the year.”