Jones blasts Town’s ‘naivety’ during Exiles draw

Scott Cuthbert heads clear against Newport
Scott Cuthbert heads clear against Newport

Town chief Nathan Jones hit out at his side’s continued displays of naivety during the 1-1 draw with relegation threatened Newport County last night.

After taking the lead through Danny Hylton’s 24th goal of the season from the penalty spot inside five minutes, Hatters were pegged back midway through the half when Sean Rigg’s free kick deceived keeper Matt Macey who was left rooted to the spot.

We were naive, really naive and that’s the disappointing thing as we’re not learning and that’s frustrating.

Nathan Jones

Although disappointed with the manner of the goal, Jones was also exasperated that his side kept on giving the Exiles chances to pepper their area from set-plays, despite implicit warnings prior to the game.

He said: “Credit to Newport, they battled for their life and ours showed plenty of endeavour, but we were naive, really naive and that’s the disappointing thing as we’re not learning and that’s frustrating.

“I’ll have to see it again (the equaliser) before I comment, but the amount of free kicks we give away in the game are phenomenal.

“We say about it and they keep giving free kicks away, keep doing stupid stuff.

“Sides at this level want you to give them free kick and throw ins, so they can just smash it in your box and that’s the biggest naivety for me as we kept doing that.

“I don’t know what it is, just the naivety. Late on, we just kept doing it, ‘oh go on, try and get yourself a winner’ and at the end I’m delighted not to have conceded.

“It’s just frustrating, so frustrating, honestly.”

Defender Scott Cuthbert, who was magnificent on the night, also couldn’t hide his irritation at the amount of free kicks on offer for the home side once Town had moved in front.

He said: “With the pitch and conditions, you’ve got to play a certain way and we set up to play that certain way.

“I felt like we were comfortable and we just let them get back into the game, ground us down by giving stupid fouls away, bringing their big boys up.

“We wanted to stay solid and not give away any chances, but too many in terms of fouls around the box, long throws, corners, free kicks.

“When you’re giving them the attempts to pump the ball in the box, sometimes something’s got to give and unfortunately they’ve scored from a free kick.

“It’s disappointing from our point of view, as we just couldn’t get back into the game.”

Meanwhile, Luton won a number of free kicks themselves, but time and time again, sent them straight down County keeper Joe Day’s throat as boss Jones was heavily critical of his side’s final ball once more.

He continued: “We had enough set plays to put our head on the ball and score a goal. We have enough good deliverers of set plays, but we didn’t do that.

“How many set-plays did we have that we don’t look like scoring from? The work we do on them, I don’t know. It’s really, really puzzling and super super frustrating, it really is.

“Second half we were a little bit more on the front foot, had some more chances, but we got in good areas without capitalising on anything and when we do put balls in we don’t attack them with enough aggression or know how and we don’t pick people out.

“We’ve had enough opportunities, we broke away and we’re not picking out the right pass, the frustrating thing is we show them and it seems like they didn’t listen.

“We showed them on the video, showed them again, showed them again, we show them again and we show them again and we go through it in training, go through it in training and then we make the same mistakes.

“It’s a frustrating night, it really is and symptomatic of what we’ve been like as we create more chances than most sides, but sides nick one and we don’t seem to do that. We seem to have to play super well to win.”

The end result was yet another draw for the Hatters, their 14th of the campaign and third in four matches, a stat that Jones knows is far too high.

He added: “That’s not unlucky, that can’t just be unlucky. Look, we’re very rarely clinging on, it’s just a thing of capitalising.

“I’m disappointed with that as you’d rather have two wins, two defeats because at least you have more points.

“That’s been symptomatic, we’ve not been under massive amount of pressure to defend late on in games,

“The first half we were poor all over, we didn’t win our first headers, didn’t get on seconds, we didn’t stick to the gameplan, we were nowhere near.

“We should have had a penalty at half time as well, it’s a clear cut penalty, absolutely clear cut, but that was the only incidents of any note we had.

“Second half we changed things, we came out, we were more on the front foot and had some opportunities and some play, but I think draw’s a fair result.

“We’ve had too many draws and that’s cost us, and we’re where we are in the league because of that.

“But we’ve got to battle on, we’ve got eight more games and have got to try and go on a run. We don’t get beat very often, but we don’t half draw a lot of games.”