Luton chief hails his side's 'magnificent' reaction to pick up a point against Millwall

Town boss Graeme Jones hailed his side’s character as they fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against Millwall at Kenilworth Road last night.

James Collins was denied a goal for Luton by this superb Bartosz Bialkowski save
James Collins was denied a goal for Luton by this superb Bartosz Bialkowski save

After dominating the majority of the first half and looking the team more likely to score in the second, Luton were then hit by a breakaway goal from the Lions on the hour mark, Tom Bradshaw sliding home the rebound after Simon Sluga had saved well from Jed Wallace.

However, Hatters ensured they weren’t beaten on home soil in the league for a third time this term, Callum McManaman netting with four minutes to go as Jones said: “Millwall have got their style, it’s not for me, but Neil’s (Harris) done a fantastic job there.

“Styles are just choices and Neil came with a plan, I thought they played on the counter and when we gave the ball away, they were at their most dangerous with Wallace and (Connor) Mahoney, but we coped really, really well.

“They weren’t a threat first half, at all. They scored, I’ll have to look in detail while they scored, but the reaction from our players was magnificent.

“I was absolutely delighted with the character of the boys.

"I spoke at the weekend about the same mental and physical consistency in their performance for 95 minutes, and I feel like I got that again.

"When you’ve got that, that makes you competitive and it puts you in a position where you’re going to get football results.

“I think possession was 61, 39, we had more shots than them both first half and second half, so you can only look at the facts of the game, the style of play brought more chances for us than it did for Millwall.”

After conceding it took the hosts a few moments to retain their composure, Matt Smith missing a glorious chance to double Millwall's lead, nodding wide from close range.

But once they did, Town came on strong and got the point they fully deserved at the very least, courtesy of McManaman’s first goal for the club.

Jones said: “We got a little bit ragged because we were trying to score immediately and football’s not like that.

"But the intention and the reaction was there, and sometimes you have to keep probing, do it in a level headed way, not tally ho where you’re throwing the kitchen sink at everybody.

"It would just be nice to be 0-0 in a game and be in a position to make some positive substitutions, because that was the plan, rather than reactive ones and how it looks, but overall I’m satisfied.”

The fact that Jones had to bring on his attacking players to find a way back into the game was due to Luton conceding the first goal for the sixth time this season and fourth in five matches at home.

When asked if he had been frustrated to have to come back from trailing again, the Town boss added: "You don’t want that, you want to take the lead, but maybe we’ll take the lead and get beat.

"Everybody wants this ideal world of clean sheets and score first, the end result was a draw.

"Saturday we got back in the game, reacted and won 2-1, so it’s about the character of the players, the reaction.

"Again it's something we’ve worked at, or something we’ve spoken about, something that I’ve instilled in every performance, so I’d rather look at the positives.

“I’ll have to see it back, I can remember Dan Potts over covering a little bit, guy taps it in back post, but I’m here for positive.

"We’ve just taken four points, we’ve just been promoted, 15 months ago in League Two, we’ve just taken four points against Blackburn and Millwall, I think that’s enough said."