Hatters boss John Still felt that trying to get his players fit for a chance to reach the play-offs eventually back-fired during the 3-2 defeat against Exeter City yesterday.
The hosts had led 2-0 at half time, only to concede three goals, including a last-gasp winner, falling to their third successive 3-2 home reverse and seventh straight loss.
“Cracks appeared when we ran out of petrol in certain areas of the pitch.”John Still
With the likes of Jonathan Smith, Nathan Doyle, Paul Benson, Luke Guttridge and Alex Lawless still short of match fitness, the Hatters noticeably struggled in the second period as Still said: “It’s a massive disappointment. To work so hard to get in front and conceding three goals again, it’s very disappointing.
“The players have worked their absolute socks off, I can’t ask for more from the players.
“We’ve run out of steam a bit which we expect because they haven’t played a lot. It was a tremendous effort, but that on the day wasn’t good enough.
“I think Exeter are a good footballing side, they were always in the game first half.
“We were 2-0 up, they came back strong, played very well second half, we made one or two changes and just ran out of legs.
“Jonathan can play a bit, but he’s had to come off, Doyle the same. We had a problem with Lewis (Kinsella), he had to come off with cramp, so we put (Alex) Lacey on there as I thought we might be able to hold on to it.
“The players have worked tirelessly, they’ve not always played great, but played okay.
“I don’t hold any responsibility on the defeat to them, I’m the manager and have to look at myself.
“I picked a team I really felt could win the game, I’ve gone for as many of our strong characters as I can, took a chance on the fact that they wouldn’t all be fit and we looked okay, cracks appeared when we ran out of petrol in certain areas of the pitch.”