Jones delighted by Hatters’ second half bravery

Christian Walton questions Barnet's equaliser on New Year's Eve
Christian Walton questions Barnet's equaliser on New Year's Eve

A brave second half display was the main reason behind Luton ending Town’s boss Nathan Jones’ ‘pre-occupation’ over his side’s poor recent home form with a 3-1 victory over Barnet on Boxing Day.

The Hatters chief had seen his side win just one of their last six League Two matches at Kenilworth Road, but a strong start, plus a rare first half goal, with Alan Sheehan’s wonderful free kick breaking the monopoly of Danny Hylton and Cameron McGeehan goals since September 24, made it 1-1 at the break.

I was delighted, as our home form hasn’t been a worry but little pre-occupation, and I thought we were excellent.

Nathan Jones

In the second period, McGeehan was on target once more, before Alex Gilliead sealed a much-needed victory from range, as Jones said: “It’s good to get a home win.

“A lot was said about the Boxing Day performance and the failure at home, but I thought we were excellent at times.

“We started well, we could have got something, then we got a goal from an excellent free kick.

“Then they had a spell to be fair to them Barnet where they played and we didn’t get to grips with that.

“So probably at half time it was a fair result and then what we said was we just need to lift it, be braver in possession.

“We’d gone back to our favoured shape and I thought they were braver second half.

“They got on it, we started really well, after 12 seconds could have scored. The goal that Jordan Cook scored is onside and we’ve had that back, then he’s in again and he’s given offside, and he’s onside, so we could have had four early on.

“After scoring again, I thought we saw out the game really, really professionally.

“I was delighted, as our home form hasn’t been a worry but little pre-occupation, and I thought we were excellent.”

One thing that Jones wasn’t overly enthused with was the performance of referee Mark Haywood after Bira Dembele’s goal was allowed to stand, despite the visiting defender appearing to clearly bundle the ball over the line with his arm.

There were a host other decisions queried too as the Hatters boss continued: “There was a lot of appealing going on for handball so I don’t know.

“I have seen it, I didn’t see anything untoward, and I thought we could have defended from the throw-in better, which we’ve worked on this week ironically, as we feel we haven’t been as good from them.

“If I’m going to be ultra critical and I don’t want to get into trouble, I thought some of the decisions were strange to say the least.

“I think he could have managed it better, some of the things he didn’t give led to other stuff.

“The free kick for Scott Cuthbert heading it back to the goalkeeper first half was utterly baffling. Then the way where James Justin runs across the pitch and he’s brought him down and that leads to Alex Gilliead’s booking ironically.

“Just manage the game and I just felt he didn’t do that.”