Hatters boss Nathan Jones felt he had no option but to make a change of personnel during the first half of today’s 3-0 win at Cambridge United to prevent his side potentially losing the game.
Just before the half hour mark, and with visiting keeper Christian Walton having made three superb saves to keep the scores goalless, Jones took off Olly Lee for Scott Cuthbert, with Glen Rea moving out of defence into the holding role.
Cuthbert then excelled alongside Johnny Mullins, with Rea adding a solidity in front of the back four as Jones said: “It was possibly the ugliest game I have ever seen, especially first half, it was just horrible.
“We didn’t come out of the blocks, we didn’t do the basics right early on. It was a bit like York away from last year if I’m honest, where we didn’t win our battles, didn’t win our headers and I felt we needed to make a change to rectify that.
“Once we got to grips we kind of nullified what they had, but we could have been one down.
“We had some good chances, some real good chances, but they did as well. Once we picked the pace up second half, what a win away from home.
“It was a bit like York away from last year if I’m honest, where we didn’t win our battles, didn’t win our headers and I felt we needed to make a change to rectify that.”Nathan Jones
“This is a difficult place to come, I know the natives are restless but they’ll do well and they’ll beat sides here because it’s such a difficult place to come, but I thought second half we were outstanding.”
On the decision to withdraw Lee, Jones admitted the midfielder is going to have to make improvements to his game when opponents try and stop him playing.
The boss continued: “I needed someone who’s going to win headers in there, who’s going to get on seconds and is going to nullify their threat, so it was a thing on him.
“He has to get better on that because he is a wonderful footballer, but when sides put someone on him then he has to get himself in the game, and he didn’t do that.
“I felt if we didn’t do that, so I’m claiming one brilliant bit of tactical thing there as we did it to try and nullify their threat and then win the game, which we did.”
Meanwhile, when speaking about the players brought off the bench, with Jonathan Smith and Isaac Vassell introduced in the second period, Jones added: “Scott Cuthbert came on, won every header, was immense, was colossal.
“Our midget centre half was brilliant, Mullins. Glen Rea, that’s why I love that kid. If I have a kid, that’s what I want, hopefully he’s not as dull as him, but literally that’s what I want because he’s right up there and I love him.
“We ask them to be ready, they’re not subs, they’re not just going to pick up anything, they’re game changers.
“So when we need them they have to come on. We needed Scotty Cuthbert after 25-30 minutes, he came on and was immense, I needed Smudge to come on, he was superb, I also needed Vassell to come on late on, he won a few headers and relieved some pressure.
“It’s all part and parcel of the squad, we’ve had a good day today, a real good second half performance, but the win was everything.”