Still remains upbeat despite Peterborough defeat

Craig Mackail-Smith saw this shot hit the post
Craig Mackail-Smith saw this shot hit the post

Hatters boss John Still felt his side acquitted themselves valiantly against League One Peterborough in their 2-0 FA Cup second round defeat on Sunday.

The hosts were worthy winners on the day, sending a massive 34 shots the way of Mark Tyler’s goal, with the keeper performing heroics at time to keep his former club at bay.

“It was just a hard exercise of trying to keep in the game for as long as we could.”

John Still

Bar Craig Mackail-Smith hitting the post and Luke Wilkinson’s header over, Hatters were restricted to very little at home keeper Ben Alnwick as Still said: “It was a fair result, the right result, but I thought we’ve competed really well.

“They’ve been free-flowing lately, scoring lots of goals, so we knew we’d have to do our share of defending.

“We thought we could break at them, Craig hit the post, but they had other chances, I’m not moaning about that.

“It was just a hard exercise of trying to keep in the game for as long as we could and I think in that last little bit of the game, they were just getting a bit nervy and they scored the goal.

“The last 10 minutes we perhaps would have pushed on, but as we picked up a little bit of injury in the last day or so, we couldn’t make the changes quite that I wanted, but the boys did well, stuck in really well.”

There was plenty of raised eyebrows when the two sides were announced as Luton made five changes, with Alex Lawless in at left back, as Scott Griffiths dropped to the bench, while Magnus Okounghae, Nathan Doyle, Paddy McCourt and Sean Long all came in too.

On why so many alterations were made, Still continued: “Scott Cuthbert hurt his hamstring, he responded a little bit to treatment, but nowhere near enough that he could play.

“Scott Griffiths had been off a touch in training, we decided we wouldn’t go with that.

“Because they play a diamond, we felt that would be good to go with too and Nathan Doyle who played in the reserves on Wednesday, we were always going to play him.

“It was good game for him and we thought it would be a good game for Paddy too, although I wasn’t not sure how long he’d go.

“I thought we could change him for Luke Guttridge with about 30 to go, but Luke Guttridge got injured in the warm up so we couldn’t use him.

“Jack (Marriott) was injured, so that’s why Craig played, as he hurt himself in training on Thursday.”

Winger Danny Green missed out too despite impressing greatly in recent matches.

Still admitted some of the selections were made with an eye on upcoming fixtures, as he added: “He’s had a little run of games Dan, he had done really well, but I thought the way we were going to play, maybe a rest might be the best for him at the moment.

“We keep picking up these injuries and are just trying to protect players a little bit who have been out for whatever reason and come back in and played enough games as I don’t want them to pick up injuries.”