A ‘devastated’ Hatters boss Nathan Jones felt this afternoon’s 1-0 home to defeat by Colchester was like a ‘knife to the heart’.
The Luton chief saw his side beaten by Craig Slater’s late half volley as they fell eight points behind the automatic promotion places.
I don’t know how we’ve lost it and that’s why it’s like a knife to the heart to be honest.Nathan Jones
A downbeat Jones said: “I’m devastated. I felt we lacked a killer instinct, but apart from that, I think we controlled the game.
“I never imagined, not naively, but never imagined we were under any pressure or any problems, it’s just a hard one to take.
“We must have had 20 set-plays today, they’ve had one or two. They’ve scored from a second phase one, someone going to sleep and that’s killed us.
“I wouldn’t say it’s quite smash and grab, but it feels like that.
“All the play we’ve had, pressure we’ve had, chances we’ve had, on another day we would have had two or three,
“But I’m just really disappointed as overall our performance was what we expect, no problem with the performance, the pressing, the way we got into real good situations and had some great chances.
“I don’t know how we’ve lost it and that’s why it’s like a knife to the heart to be honest.
“I can’t be too down though, I’m trying to curtail my own disappointment, because they’re a great group.”
Jones was once again critical of the officials, exchanging strong words with referee Gavin Ward at the final whistle who he felt, along with their United, did their best to stop the flow of the game.
The boss continued: “The thing I was saying about the referee was it’s his job to control the game. When he’s taking ages to do everything, it just kills the tempo.
“Some people play that way. When we go away, we don’t kill the tempo, unless we’re two up and there’s three or four minutes to go, we don’t kill the game.
“They’re taking ages on everything which is their prerogative, but it’s up to the ref to just keep the tempo as there’s nine and a half thousand people here who came to see a football match.
“At least he can do is make sure we see two teams competing. I everything’s just laboured, it’s difficult to create a tempo, so we ask the ref to control that, I feel he didn’t and that’s not Colchester’s fault, that’s the ref’s.”
Although to many, the U’s appeared one of the few sides who hadn’t come to Kenilworth Road with the sole objection of spoiling the game, Jones felt that despite what he thought were further time-wasting tactics on display, his side had done enough to gain all three points.
He added: “Another side came here, slowed the game down again, took the sting out of the game, so we had to build the flow all the time.
“I felt we did that, we just needed to get the first goal. If we don’t get that first goal, it gives sides something to cling on to and to spoil a game and so on.
“Then we get hit by the sucker punch, but that happens, good luck to them. They’ve got a decent shape, they’re in decent form, but I felt at times we controlled the game, never felt we were under any pressure whatsoever.
“Danny Hylton’s had one (chance), so has Johnny Mullins, so we’ve had some good opportunities to win the game, but we haven’t and it’s disappointing, really disappointing.”