Edwards left 'proud' but 'really frustrated' by Luton's impressive first half display at Burnley

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Town boss on opening 45 minutes at Turf Moor

Luton boss Rob Edwards admitted he had been left both ‘proud’ but also ‘really frustrated’ with his side’s first half display at Burnley on Friday night that somehow saw the visitors trailing at the midway point of their Premier League clash at Turf Moor.

With the Clarets not changing their possession-based style since winning promotion to the top flight under manager Vincent Kompany, the Hatters played them at their own game, as inspired by midfield duo Ross Barkley and Sambi Lokonga, they dominated the ball to play through their opponents press, allowing Alfie Doughty and Chiedozie Ogbene to enjoy the freedom of the wings. However, despite all the good build-up play, other than a few speculative efforts from Barkley and Ogbene that were easily saved by James Trafford, plus Elijah Adebayo just unable to reach Doughty’s driven cross, the visitors failed to create anything resembling a clear-cut opportunity.

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That wasn’t the case for Burnley, Jóhann Gudmondsson slicing through to fire straight at Thomas Kaminski early on, before Zeki Amdouni scuffed a presentable effort, the Swiss international making no mistake on 36 minutes when Wilson Odobert had rounded Teden Mengi, beating the Belgian with a firm side-footed finish. It meant that despite being by far the better side, Luton somehow changed ends a goal behind, a cause of real annoyance to Edwards, who said: “I thought we were excellent, I thought we dominated large spells of the game.

Hatters boss Rob Edwards reacts to Luton's late 1-1 draw at Burnley on Friday night - pic: Naomi Baker/Getty ImagesHatters boss Rob Edwards reacts to Luton's late 1-1 draw at Burnley on Friday night - pic: Naomi Baker/Getty Images
Hatters boss Rob Edwards reacts to Luton's late 1-1 draw at Burnley on Friday night - pic: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

"First half we dominated and looked a threat and what pleased me most was the performance, we would never have been able to come here and dominate a game like that. We’ve had such difficult games, but we were really good with the ball. I loved a lot of that performance. When we lost it, we were aggressive and we won it back quickly, counter pressing was great and I thought we looked a real threat. We did get behind them and it’s just that last bit, so many shots blocked and close moments. To go in at half time I was proud of the performance but really frustrated.”

The boss felt it was important that despite Town being caught out by that one goal, he didn’t let it cloud his judgement when addressing his squad in the changing rooms, continuing: “At this level, everyone’s got quality and they had a bit of a sucker punch. We had control, Thomas decided to step in and go a bit longer, we didn’t quite catch up the game quickly enough, second ball fell to them and then we got done. But one frustrating moment in a half that was really, really good for us, so you can’t lose your head over that one thing. You’ve just got to improve on it, make sure it doesn’t happen again and continue to do the stuff that we were doing really well and was causing them problems.”

It became tougher to enjoy the same levels of control after the break, although Luton still finished with 62 percent possession, as looking to find an equaliser, Town left some spaces for the Clarets to exploit, but thankfully they were unable to get that crucial second goal. That then allowed the Hatters to snatch a deserved point in stoppage time thanks to substitute Carlton Morris’s contentious last minute header, as Edwards felt it was yet another example of his side’s undoubted character, adding: “Second half, they blocked things up a bit more and it was harder to get in behind them, especially when they changed to a back five later on.

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"We didn’t create much in the second half, but again showed a lot of control without hurting them. We kept going, this team doesn’t give up and found a way, whatever way it was, we found a way. Second half we weren’t as good, but I’m really pleased to get a point in the end, I thought it was nothing less than what we deserved.”