Ingram relieved to keep a clean sheet against Reading after shipping seven at Fulham on his Luton debut

On-loan Town stopper discusses how his move to Kenilworth Road came about

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 6:30 am
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 9:11 am
Town keeper Matt Ingram lines up before Luton's 1-0 win over Reading on Saturday

Keeper Matt Ingram admitted it was a real boost to keep a clean sheet on his home debut for the Hatters during the 1-0 win over Reading on Saturday.

The 28-year-old had joined on an emergency loan deal from fellow Championship side Hull City a week earlier, with his first outing coming at Fulham the previous Monday where he ended up picking the ball out of the net seven times as the Cottagers ran riot on their way to securing the title at a boisterous Craven Cottage.

Just five days later he was back between the posts for Town’s crucial clash against the Royals at Kenilworth Road, with the hosts knowing a win was all they needed to secure their play-off spot.

They did that with a comfortable success, Ingram thankfully having a far quieter 90 minutes, although did control his area well, making two smart saves from Ovie Ejaria and Michael Morrison in either half, with his kicking positive too, boss Nathan Jones praising his ability to bounce back from a nightmare first start.

Speaking to the press about being thrown into the side against Fulham and going on to help earn Luton’s 19th shut-out of the season on Saturday, he said: “That was really nice, after a 7-0 to keep a clean sheet and get a nice 1-0 win, a fantastic positive, especially going into the play-offs.

“You haven’t got a lot of time to adjust and I think in some ways that almost helps because as soon as you step on the pitch, you’re in game mode.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing with or who the opposition is, you just have to do what you do.

“I didn’t have much chance for the goals (against Fulham), maybe one or two where as a goalkeeper you question what you do but I didn’t have a lot of chance.

“Normally with a 7-0 you look at it, you think the goalie chucked two or three in but I don’t think that was the case and it was nice on Saturday to get out and play in front of the home crowd and get a clean sheet.”

It hadn’t been the first time that Ingram had been beaten seven times in a game either, as back in August 2018, it happened to him when he was at QPR, continuing: “I can remember when I went to West Brom and we lost seven as well, so it wasn’t a strange feeling for me, I’ve had it before.

“It’s just one of those things, as a goalkeeper, you’re going to concede goals, you’re going to lose, and if you lose you might as well do it in style I guess.

"I analyse my performance, apart from one or two things with one or two goals, nothing major, and it was just box it off and move on.”

Ingram, who had played 29 times for Hull this season, including twice against Luton, had lost his place in the Tigers side recently, Chelsea loanee Nathan Baxter taking over.

With City safe and having little to play for, boss Shota Arveladze allowed to let the ex-Wycombe stopper move to Kenilworth Road on a seven day loan deal, which was extended yesterday to incorporate Town’s play-off semi-final two-legged clash with Huddersfield.

When asked how just how the move came about for him, Ingram continued: “It has been mental.

“After getting Hull safe, I then got dropped to the bench to allow Nathan to get a few games at Hull and I was looking forward to my summer really, but then this came about and it was too good of an opportunity to turn down.

“We played Bristol City on the Saturday and Luton had Fulham on Monday on TV.

“I woke up on Sunday morning to a million missed calls from Hull and then the gaffer at Luton called me and Kev Pilkington the goalie coach called me in the morning and it was all sorted Sunday morning.

“I then had to go and train Sunday afternoon, travel and then play Fulham on Monday which we all know was eventful!

“It was a mad weekend but an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”

Walking into the Luton training ground, there were a few players Ingram knew already, while he was quick to share a joke with James Bree, the full back having scored a stunning free kick against the keeper at the MKM Stadium back in April.

Ingram said: “As soon as I walked into the dressing room, I gave him (Bree) the smile and I knew what he was going to tell me about!

“I think his free-kick was something special so hopefully he can recreate it again in the remaining games.

“I played with Reece Burke at Hull, I played with Fred Onyedinma at Wycombe so those two I knew quite well.

“Then just in general I’ve played against most of the players up and down the league throughout the years.

“It’s a great dressing room and a really nice one to come into.

“They are a great group and they made me feel welcome straight away.

"I think that is a large part of them getting to where they, because they are a fantastic group.

"They fight for each other, there are no bad eggs at all and it has been a massive part of their success this season.”

When asked how it has been striking up an understanding with his new defence, as Ingram became the sixth keeper to be used by the Hatters this term, following Simon Sluga, James Shea, Jed Steer, Alex Palmer and Harry Isted in taking up residence between the posts, he added: “I’d say it’s been fairly easy.

"The gaffer makes the gameplan very straightforward, it’s just different scenarios that could happen, ways to resolve it, and to be honest, I think it’s been fairly easy getting to grips with that.

"He makes it so clear and obvious as what we do, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, so I feel very comfortable coming in and getting to grips with stuff.

“It’s a credit to the lads and the gaffer’s gameplan because it just shows that, no matter who’s behind the team, they’re capable of keeping clean sheets."