The Hatters arrived at Vale Park in glorious form, unbeaten since August 12 on their travels and having hammered Swindon Town 5-0 on Boxing Day.
However, they were second best throughout on the day, comprehensively beaten by their hosts, with Nathan Jones suffering his biggest reverse since taking over the club almost two years ago.
Luton then responded with a 4-2 victory over Lincoln, despite the dismissal of captain Alan Sheehan after just four minutes on New Year’s Day, as Hylton said: “It was important we bounced back after the disappointing game the other day.
“We’re not happy with the way we lost against Port Vale and not happy with the performance or anything, there wasn’t really a positive to take out of that game.
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“But it might not have not been too bad a thing that, it might have been a reality check, a little kick up the backside that we needed.”
Forward Harry Cornick agreed with his team-mate, saying: “It was good to bounce back from the defeat at the end of last year.
“It hurt us really, it was a bad defeat and we had to put it right and we did which was good.
“We’ve got to kickstart again, we keep falling short at the end of the months, so hopefully we can get on a little run again and try to stretch clear.”
The win over Lincoln ended an excellent Christmas period for the Hatters, as they took nine points from a possible 12 to move four points clear of second placed Notts County and extend their advantage over fourth spot to 11 as well.
Hylton continued: “Nine out of 12 is not too bad.
“There’s a lot of games and I don’t know if we’re in a better position than we were before Christmas, but we’re 11 points ahead of fourth place.
“We’re never going to go through the season unbeaten, we’re going to lose games and it’s just important that we react the way we did and go again.”
Meanwhile, Cornick, who scored his fourth goal of the season against the Imps added: “We’ve just got to keep taking each game as it comes and hopefully keep stretching away.”