Hatters boss John Still attached no blame to goalkeeper Elliot Justham after his awful error handed Southend victory at Roots Hall yesterday.
The 24-year-old somehow let Michael Timlin’s long range shot slip through his grasp and roll agonisingly into the net with nine minute remaining as Luton lost 1-0.
“There’s no criticism for him, he’ll become a bigger and better goalkeeper for that.”John Still
The mistake ended any realistic chances Hatters had of making the play-offs this season, as Still said: “Everyone did everything they could to get the result we needed and unfortunately a young man whose come into the team and done remarkably well has made a mistake, well that’s all part and parcel of football.
“There’s no criticism for him, he’ll become a bigger and better goalkeeper for that.
“That defines your career sometimes. He’s made a mistake, he’ll make more, maybe not as crucial, and that’s what you go through to learn the job.
“All of us as a man in the dressing room feels for him, but it’s gone now. Games sometimes hinge on one moment of magic or one mistake and unfortunately it was a mistake.”
Captain Steve McNulty also backed Town’s young goalkeeper to take the blooper in his stride, while he also felt the defence could have done more to help him out.
He added: “It’s the profession we play in, he makes a rick and it goes in.
“It’s going to be highlighted, but it’s not just him, as a back four we should have been pushed up more and been tighter to the man shooting, the midfield should have been tighter.
“So before he even had the shot, it should have been stopped at source.
“He’s made a mistake, he can hold his hands up, but he’s come on leaps and bounds over the last 18 months.
“He kept us in the game at times and has done over the last few weeks, so he won’t need much picking up.
“He’ll know he’s made a mistake, we all make mistakes, we’ll all get round him, put our arm round him, but he’ll be fine.”