Hatters striker Jack Marriott praised the ‘guts’ shown by manager Nathan Jones after Luton won 2-1 at Crewe Alexandra yesterday, despite being reduced to 10 men early in the second half.
The visitors were forced to play the last 36 minutes plus stoppage time a player light after Alan Sheehan was dismissed for his second booking with the scores at 1-1.
However, rather than take off a striker and look to preserve what they had, Jones kept both Marriott and Danny Hylton upfront in a bid to get the victory they desperately needed to make inroads into the top three.
The bold decision proved a masterstroke too as Marriott, who had netted Hatters’ leveller, saw his shot parried as Hylton picked up the rebound to tee up Jake Gray for his 69th minute winner.
On remaining so positive despite the red card, Marriott said: “I think that shows a lot of guts from the coaching staff and the manager himself, but also shows our mentality.
“We want to win the game, if unfortunately we lost the game by going for the win, that does happen, but we’re going to go for the win and we always will.”
A lot of people go 4-4-1 and then I think it just invites the pressure.Nathan Jones
Jones himself admitted that looking for the victory the only decision on his mind, as he said: “A lot of people go 4-4-1 and then I think it just invites the pressure.
“But we’re such a counter attacking side anyway, that we feel that as long as our outside men work hard, then we still have a threat on the counter to have won the game, and that proved right.
“We wanted to push, we felt we could still win the game, we wanted to win the game, so that’s what we did.
“We’re a strong side, we’re a fit side and that’s a credit to the people we have at the club and then they show a desire to work hard and want to do well.
“Jack’s tested the keeper as he’s done on a number of occasions today, Danny’s done immense, but we know what we get from Danny as he is immense and that’s what Jake does.
“He arrives, arrives well, he’s an attacking midfielder, that’s why we brought him here for that and I’m delighted for him.
“We’ve done it before, we’ve done it at Exeter away, done it at Newport at home, and won the game and scored again at Exeter.
“It’s not something we don’t work at, not something we don’t fathom for.
“We’re a brave side as we want to win games, but it’s only brave if they believe in what I try to do and they do that every day.
“It was a real rearguard at the end. We were only under pressure from crosses, but we dealt with them very, very well and I’m a very happy man.”
Jones did make two alterations when down to 10 men, bringing on Jack Senior for his Football League debut and Jonathan Smith to shore up the midfield.
Senior was quick to praise the work done on the training ground which allowed Hatters to remain such a positive force in the last half an hour, adding: “That’s testament to the lads, they work very hard in training and I’ve noticed that from the first day I’ve came in.
“The fitness level that you have to be at to play in this team, you have to sustain it and when you come to a Saturday you’ve got to be at it.
“We work on everything in the diamond and other situations when we’re ready for a Saturday and it just showed out there how good we are really.”