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Buckle: Missed opportunities cost Town

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Hatters boss Paul Buckle felt missed chances cost his side dear as they were held to a 1-1 draw by fellow promotion hopefuls Forest Green Rovers at Kenilworth Road yesterday, writes Mike Simmonds.

Andre Gray gave Luton the lead after just four minutes with his 12th of the season before Matty Taylor equalised shortly afterwards.

Town striker Jon Shaw missed a glorious opportunity to put Luton back in front, before also hitting the post while defender Janos Kovacs saw a header flick the top of the bar in the second period.

Buckle said: “We’re disappointed we haven’t won the game. We set out to win the game and it was a fantastic start from us.

“I thought we looked very bright, got a goal in front and were in total control. We’ve conceded from a set-play which is a disappointment but I’m absolutely delighted with the players’ work ethic.

“We made chances all afternoon right to the very end. We hit the post, hit the bar, but in football when you make that many chances and are that dominant, it’s important to be in front.”

Gray went to miss a penalty midway through the first half, but Buckle refused to blame striker as he continued: “Andre was practising penalties yesterday (Friday). He’s scored a goal, is confident, and put everyone in the top corner yesterday, so I can’t blame him for not practising them while Scott’s (Rendell) not on the pitch and I fancied him to score.

“It was a huge disappointment for us because we score that, we get momentum.”

Both sides were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Alex Lawless was dismissed for his second yellow card in the space of a minute, while Al Bangura was also given a straight red for tangling with Andre Gray and JJ O’Donnell.

Buckle continued: “There wasn’t a bad tackle in the game. I don’t know where the decisions have come from and I’m as mystified as you are and the supporters.”

Meanwhile, Rovers boss David Hockaday was delighted with the point as it kept his side six points clear of the Hatters.

He added: “Given everything that’s gone on and the crowd here, they’re very partisan and appeal for everything. We get fouled and they won a penalty, so given all that, it’s a point, it means they don’t get any nearer to us which away from home at this stage of the season is vital, so I’m pretty happy with it.”

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