First goal of the season of little consolation to Town midfielder Clark in Cardiff defeat
Midfielder one of four players to escape criticism from manager Jones
A first goal of the season was of little consolation to Town midfielder Jordan Clark after it came during a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City on Saturday.
With his side trailing 1-0 and just over an hour gone, the 28-year-old timed his run into the area perfectly to meet Elijah Adebayo’s cut back and guided a measured left footed finish into the bottom corner to draw the Hatters level.
However, rather than go on from the equaliser, as they had against Middlesbrough a few games ago, Town ended up conceding again to Sean Morrison’s header and couldn’t find a way back this time.
For Clark it was a first league goal in over a year and his first in front of fans since arriving at Luton in the summer of 2020, but the result dented any cause for celebration afterwards, as he said: “Last season I got a couple of goals, which is not the same without the fans here, and it was right in front of the end where all the Luton are which was nice.
“I thought it was a bit of a turning point, I thought we were going to go on and win the game, but it turned into a bit of a basketball game, end-to-end. You score and you don’t win the game, it doesn’t mean anything really.
“I’d take not scoring every week and winning games, so that’s the most disappointing thing.”
Clark was quick to praise team-mate Adebayo’s role in the goal too as he took Kal Naismith’s cross out of the sky before teeing up the midfielder.
The former Accrington winger continued: “He’s quality, we know he’s got that.
“He’s got the pace and the strength to get in, then that cut-back, which I’m thankful for to get my first goal of the season.
"It has been a bit of a disappointing stat for me as that’s what I need to add to my game, goals, more assists, and hopefully more to come and better results.”
The goal when it came saw Luton end a run of 362 minutes without finding the net, as they had drawn blanks against Stoke City, QPR and Nottingham Forest.
Clark knows that although both Adebayo and Harry Cornick are on eight and seven for the campaign respectively, the whole team needs to start doing their bit.
He said: “You can’t just rely on strikers to score goals, everyone’s got to chip in, as a midfielder you’ve got to score more goals, we know that.
“Bezza’s (Luke Berry) probably been the best at it, he’s been here for a few years here, so we’re disappointed to lose him to injury as he was bagging the goals in.
“I think just chip in from everywhere really, midfield and then set-pieces as well and keep trying to provide for the strikers.
“They’ve been on fire this season, so we’ve just got to get back to playing with confidence as I don’t think we’ve played too badly.
“We’re just conceding stupid goals, which has cost us every week. We’ve just got to go back to basics and start getting goals and start climbing the table again.”
Clark almost pulled Town level straight away following Morrison’s goal, collecting Naismith’s low cross but then slicing wide of the target.
He said: “It was a snapshot, I took a touch, but I think it was Morrison who was there and he’s a big lad, so I tried to squeeze it past him, but it’s just disappointing as I didn’t hit the target.
“There were a few chances in the second half where the manager’s pet hate at the minute is shots from outside the box and going into stands, which we didn’t want, especially after the QPR game which was exactly the same.
“So we’ve just got to keep working hard, keep training hard and that’s all we can do really.”
Town boss Nathan Jones made five changes for the clash from the goalless draw at Forest, including bringing Clark in for his first start since Preston in late October.
The midfielder was one of only four players to avoid criticism from the manager, with he and Naismith labelled ‘outstanding’ as on hearing that, he said: “I just tried to get on the ball and tried to make stuff happen.
“First half was disappointing as I thought us midfield three probably lost the battle, but I just tried my best, tried to get a bit of energy.
“It’s nice for him to mention me, but when you play well and score a goal, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t win, so it’s disappointing to lose the game.”