Vassell had hoped he might start against Mansfield

Isaac Vassell in action against Mansfield on Saturday
Isaac Vassell in action against Mansfield on Saturday

Town striker Isaac Vassell admitted he thought he was in with a chance of starting Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Mansfield with leading scorer Danny Hylton suspended.

The 23-year-old who joined from non-league Truro City in the summer had been described as ‘rampant’ by boss Nathan Jones in the build-up to the match, but remained on the bench as Jake Gray came into the team.

Isaac Vassell

I had in my mind I might have a chance to start or play a part in the game, so I just prepared right and tried to train right this week leading up to the game well.

Vassell was eventually introduced as part of a double change with Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu midway through the second period as the forward said: “I had on my mind that just to prepare right or the game, like I do every week, I prepare for any outcome as we don’t know what’s going to happen until Friday or Saturday.

“He (Jones) might change it up, we don’t know as players, all we can do is be prepared.

“I had in my mind I might have a chance to start or play a part in the game, so I just prepared right and tried to train right this week leading up to the game well.”

When asked about the formation he adopted, as Luton had only Jack Marriott as a recognised striker for most of the game, Jones said: “We feel that the way Mansfield play, if we changed slightly and started the play from a different angle, then we would be able to get possession, draw them out, which would have been the case if we hadn’t conceded on nine minutes.

“Because we started very well and must have kept the ball for the first five minutes, so if that had prolonged then eventually they would have had to come out, but when you concede a goal it changes the perspective of the game and that’s what happened.

“Then we look like we’re chasing the game and you can’t play your original plan, because otherwise it looks patient and people get frustrated and so on.”

Jones did alter his tactics after the break, as Alex Gilliead swapped flanks, while he threw on both Vassell and Mpanzu for the final 20, with Cameron McGeehan drilling home a leveller on 77 minutes.

The boss continued: “We changed, had a bit more penetration about us and I thought we were excellent second half I really did.”

“At half time, I just wanted us to one, keep going, to keep believing in it as because as soon as we got the first goal I believed we would have gone on and won it.

“It didn’t come to the 70 odd minute, so that was the frustrating thing, but think if we’d have got it a bit earlier we would have gone on to win the game.

“We had a change of shape at half time and we needed to see where we could penetrate them.

“I thought Alex Gilliead was outstanding, in terms of, we wanted to get him into an area where we could get it to him and he could be a little bit more productive.

“The trouble was, just having Jack up there, we can’t just put balls into the box as he’s not a big one who’s going to win and be dominant in there.

“So we’ve got to be clever with our play and think when we put Isaac on we had a little bit more of a focal point, as we totally dominated the second half, it’s just a shame that Cameron’s goal couldn’t have been a winner.”

Vassell did impress when he came on, using his pace to try and get in behind a giant Stags defence, as the striker added: “Any impact that I can make is always good for me, I’m always wanting to get on and show what I can do, try and hurt teams in behind with my pace and what-not, so I was glad to get on.

“It was a point gained in the end, yes, a tricky game, tricky opposition really, they didn’t seem to play much football at all, very long ball, very basic and it was a tough game for us yes.

“We’ve played well and it’s another good performance, it’s just unlucky with a set-piece for their goal as apart from that we’ve absolutely dominated the game.”