Confident Town youngster Jake Howells is targeting double figures for the season after burying the Hatters’ penalty hoodoo by netting his fifth spot-kick of the season in Tuesday’s 5-0 thumping of Wrexham, writes Mark Wood.
Luton have endured a miserable record from the spot in recent seasons, including a shoot-out defeat to AFC Wimbledon in the play-off final back in 2011.
Howells too has not been immune to failures from 10 yards, as he said: “It was Hayes & Yeading I think it was. We missed two that game as well.
“I’ve stepped up and I’ve scored them. It’s just one of them things. You can practice them all day long, but when you get put out there in front of a big crowd and it happens then it’s different. But I’m over the moon to score them.”
Taking penalties in a game though is so different according to Howells, as even top professionals continue to miss.
He said: “The keeper can go the right way, but if you hit a penalty good enough he shouldn’t be able to save it.
“You can put it wide, you can put it over, like you see in the Premiership and the Champions League people miss penalties, it happens.
“You can practice all day long on the training ground, but it’s different when there are 7,000 watching you and hoping it goes in, but I’m over the moon to keep scoring.”
With Luke Guttridge on a hat-trick Howells appeared to offer him the chance to take the second half penalty but declined, as the former Welsh U21 rolled past keeper Andy Coughlin who went the wrong way.
Boss John Still admitted he was glad Howells followed through, as he said: “I would have been really disappointed, that’s not his job. It’s Howellsy’s job to take the penalties.
“If Luke takes it and misses it, and we were to not go up by a goal, everyone would say we remember that.
“That’s his job. Unfortunately in this game there is no sentiment, that’s my job, go and do your job.”
Howells, 22, is enjoying the most prolific season in front of goal in his career as he targets double figures for the first time.
He added: “I’d love to. This is the most I’ve got in a season actually, so I’m over the moon to get more than I’ve ever got. If I can get to 10 then that would be brilliant.”