Hatters attacker Ogbene believes pre-season efforts are paying off as Luton score late on yet again

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Town show their never-say-die attitude once more

​Summer signing Chiedozie Ogbene insists the club’s efforts during pre-season are really starting to show after the Hatters grabbed yet another late goal in their 1-1 draw at Burnley recently.

​With the game entering five minutes of stoppage time, it was the Hatters who once again finished strongly, nicking a precious point when Carlton Morris headed Alfie Doughty’s hanging cross into the net. It was the 10th time that Luton have been on target in a top flight game once 80 minutes have passed, which is something Ogbene put down to their work ahead of the campaign starting, as he said: “The pre-season we had is paying off now as we’re very athletic and we continue to be ruthless in terms of our energy levels.

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"We keep going no matter what and that’s what the manager is saying, you have to keep going because you never know what’s going to happen. If you look at the goal, I know it wasn’t the fanciest of crosses, but if he turns that cross down we don’t score, so sometimes you just have to put some crosses in even if you’re under fatigue and you never know. We have good players in the box that can make something happen and I’m just so happy as that pays off, that no matter what we’re going to keep going, keep pushing.”

Town attacker Chiedozie Ogbene - pic: Gareth Copley/Getty ImagesTown attacker Chiedozie Ogbene - pic: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Town attacker Chiedozie Ogbene - pic: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

There was a huge degree of controversy surrounding the stoppage time equaliser, as home keeper James Trafford collided with Town striker Elijah Adebayo in his attempts to gather Doughty’s hopeful delivery which allowed Morris to find the empty net, referee Tony Harrington seeing nothing wrong with the forward’s challenge, VAR agreeing after a lengthy check. Asked for his views on the incident, Ogbene continued: “When it happened on the pitch, it was like slow motion to me. I just saw Eli standing there and maybe the keeper timed it wrong and then Carlton headed it in, so from my angle it looked like a clean, honest goal.

"Obviously they’ve checked it and they’ve agreed, so I think it’s a goal that we deserved and a point that means a lot for us. Keepers now are protected species, every contact on the keeper has to be as minimal as possible to have a chance. From my angle it didn’t look like Eli did anything, but sometimes when it goes to VAR, and involves the keeper, you always fear that they are always going to favour the keeper. They checked it, the ref believed it wasn’t a foul, the VAR believed it wasn’t a foul and it was a goal that we needed.”

The game had seen Town dominate possession for large spells, finishing with 62 percent possession on the night, but bar some efforts from distance, they bar a few efforts from range, they could never really create anything clear-cut to really test Trafford. Despite that fact, Ogbene never lost faith that an equaliser was on the cards, saying: “No, second half, we went in and just thought, guys, just a matter of moments. I believe if we had scored earlier on we could have probably pushed again, but no-one lost hope. The first thing the manager said was we are playing well but we just have to be a bit more ruthless with the chances were creating. Everyone believed we were going to get another chance, we did get a couple of chances and we were just fortunate that Carlton took his one.

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The fact that Luton gleaned something from the game against a side who will they will be battling with to stay up this term was a huge factor as well, as Ogbene knew the significance of the fixture ahead of kick-off, adding: “It was a must not lose game. Obviously we’re upset coming away from home not to get the full three points, but this is the Premier League, you don’t go anywhere and just expect to win a game. Overall we’re in a good position, we’ve just got to continue picking up points anywhere we can to be competitive.

“Out mentality is if you can’t win, don’t lose. In the first half we could have taken our chances and maybe given us a better position in the second half. I don’t remember their goal very well but it was one of their first chances and they punished us, so we need to get better at that. Overall we’re happy with a point as it’s a good point away from home to keep things competitive at the bottom of the table. We would be disappointed to say that we didn’t take our chances, especially at this level in the first half. Second half we came out, we kept pounding and kept the pressure on all throughout and a draw was the least we deserved.”