Jones rues ‘key moments’ as Luton fall to Pompey

Isaac Vassell tries to break through late on for Luton at Pompey
Isaac Vassell tries to break through late on for Luton at Pompey

Luton chief Nathan Jones felt his side’s inability to win the ‘key moments’ was to blame during their 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth on Monday.

After failing to defend a set-play from which Christian Burgess headed Pompey in front in the first half, Hatters then improved in the second period, only to see Danny Hylton’s chip cannon off the woodwork and Jonathan Smith miss a glorious chance too.

They scored from a set-play, so there were three opportunities and we were on the wrong end of one.

Nathan Jones

A disappointed Jones said: “We said it would be a game of key moments and it was. There were two key moments really, the set-play, where we gave a silly free-kick away and then we didn’t do well enough on the set-play.

“Then Danny Hylton hitting the bar with almost a moment of genius.

“I’ll have to see it again, but Jonathan Smith maybe could have done better too. They scored from a set-play, so there were three opportunities and we were on the wrong end of one.

“Portsmouth are a good side. They’re a big club, like us and it’s just small margins. We said about the last game, it wasn’t a 3-1 game (at Kenilworth Road) but it was just those margins.

“They had that quality and it’s just frustrating when that’s the difference.”

Defender Scott Cuthbert admitted he expected Hylton’s effort to make it 1-1 after keeper David Forde was left stranded, saying: “I was away celebrating, I thought it was in.

“The crowd at the back of the stand were going mental and I thought that’s it, equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.

“In these kind of games you just need that little bit of luck. We never got it, but I go back to the goal, it’s disappointing as it was their only chance and they’ve scored it.”

Jones was also quick to play down any excuses that Pompey had any advantage from an extra day’s rest too, after playing on Friday, with Luton taking on Barnet on New Year’s Eve.

He added: “We’re fitter than most teams in this league anyway so we can cope.

“We recovered well and we finished strong, so I don’t think that contributed to anything.

“At the end of the day, the only clear-cut chance they had, they put a set-play in our box, we didn’t deal with it, goalkeeping-wise or marking-wise and it cost us and that was the difference.”