Clean sheet delights Town boss Still

Paul Connolly
Paul Connolly

Hatters boss John Still was elated after his side won their opening League Two fixture of the season with a 1-0 triumph at Carlisle United on Saturday.

Mark Cullen’s first half goal separated the sides, while Hatters had to batten down the hatches at times in the second period, holding off some sustained Carlisle pressure to seal victory.

Still still: “It was a tough game, it’s always going to be tough as they were playing a division higher last year, we were playing a division lower.

“I thought first half we were outstanding, but I did say to the boys at half time, it’s going to be a slightly different game because whoever had the wind it wasn’t any help.

“We’ve had to work our socks off second half, we did great with (Mark) Tyler making a save, without him having to do too much else.

“Our tactics were spot on and it got to a stage where I thought we had to pull them on to us and counter attack.

“The last 10-15 minutes we could have scored again, so an away performance, first game of the season at Carlisle, I was delighted.”

Still handed debuts to Paul Connolly and Luke Wilkinson in Town’s backline that impressed greatly, particularly during the second period, on their way to a first clean sheet of the campaign.

The boss said: “I thought Luke Wilkinson was absolutely outstanding.

“He never lost a header, his clearances were good, him and Macca (Steve McNulty) looked solid.

“Both full backs got people inside them so crosses had to come in at the best angle to defend, so I was really pleased.

“Not to concede away from home anyway is good, but not to concede at somewhere like Carlisle, who are a good side, I’m very pleased.”

Defender Alex Lacey was employed as a holding midfielder for the encounter, a position he played during the latter stage of pre-season, and Still felt it worked well against the Cumbrians.

He added ”Not enough games have been played to see how other teams are going to play, but we had a feeling they would play one behind the front two in some form, so he did a great job on that.

“He’s not the finished article and I’m not saying that’s going to be his best position, but I just felt that at the moment it’s an ideal situation for us.

“If Jonathan Smith was fit I’d probably try it with him and I just thought he’s probably the most ideal person to do it, so when it works you’re always delighted and it’s worked for us.”