Collins felt it was a clear penalty

James Collins blasts his penalty home
James Collins blasts his penalty home

Striker James Collins didn’t think there could be any complaints over the penalty he won during Town’s 1-1 draw at Stevenage yesterday.

With five minutes to go, the forward was clearly bundled over in the area by former Luton skipper Ronnie Henry, with official Darren Handley pointing to the spot, as the forward went on to tuck away his 14th of the season.

However, Stevenage boss Darren Sarll labelled it a ‘scandalous’ decision in his post match press conference, questioning whether the official had ever played football before, but on the incident, Collins said: “I got my head up, was about to strike it, and I just felt the lad come through the back of me.

“I’ve not dived or anything, there’s contact and it’s got to be a penalty, so I'm just happy to tuck it away.”

In the aftermath, Henry was seen chatting to Collins as he placed the ball on the spot, leading to jeers from the away contingent behind the goal.

On what was being said, the Luton striker continued: “He wasn’t trying to put me off, he was just asking me if I thought it was a penalty and I said to him, ‘you’ve come through the back of me, I think it’s a pen.’

“He wasn’t so sure, but the referee is the one that matters and he gave it.”

When asked about the attempts to put his striker off, Town chief Nathan Jones said: “That’s gamesmanship and that happens on penalties.

“I will see it probably tonight when I watch the game, we’ve got good penalty takers at the club and he showed his nerve to do that.”

Although taking the spotkick in front of nearly 2,000 travelling supporters, Collins didn’t feel under extra pressure, as he said: “I’ve taken penalties before, I practice them and that’s why you practice them.

“I always back myself to score and I'm just delighted it went in. It’s not about the goal, three points is what we needed and it’s a shame we didn’t come away with it.”

It was the summer signing from Crawley’s first penalty attempt for the Town, with the absent Danny Hylton usually first choice.

Collins was more than happy to be put on the spot though, adding: “When Hylts plays, he takes them and when he’s not playing I take them, so it's as straightforward as that.

“We practice them in the week, I was always confident I was going to get one.

“We haven’t had one for a while, so I thought we’d get one eventually, and that’s why we practice them.”