Luton Town boss Nathan Jones admitted he hadn’t wanted to take Danny Hylton off in the first half of today’s 3-0 win at Yeovil, but was left with little choice.
The striker had notched twice inside the opening 40 minutes, once from the penalty spot, to make it 21 goals for the season, but was shown a yellow card for celebrating in front of the home fans.
He was then talked to by referee Brendan Malone before the game restarted, prompting a clearly annoyed Jones to withdraw his leading scorer for Jake Jervis on the stroke of half time.
Explaining his decision to the press afterwards, Jones said: “He would have liked to score plenty more, as the form he’s in, and it’s disappointing, it really is because I’m disappointed for him.
“I didn’t want to bring him off as I never bring Danny Hylton off if I can help it, but it just took the sting out of the game.
“I’m sure their players would have tried to wind him up and then Danny plays on the edge, so I couldn’t afford to go down to 10 men, miss him for weeks to come and to even it up a little bit more today.
“He’s a pantomime villain, because he’s such a good player, then people target him and the crowd get on him here, the crowd got on him last year.
“Once you go 3-0 up, then there’s bigger challenges ahead, not being disrespectful to anyone, but we should win the game from there with nine men, 3-0 up.
“Now what I didn’t want to do was to give Yeovil fans something to really get behind and to lift them, so it was the safe thing.
“It was a shame as I would have liked Danny to score more goals, but he scored two, he’s a massive part of what we did, set up the first as well, so he’s had a massive, massive impact.
“It’s just a shame that things like that have to happen.
"Danny could have avoided it, but he likes to get himself involved in these things, what I didn’t want to do was go down to 10 men and then even it up a little bit, so just an easier decision to make.”
Jones also had to replace the already booked Alan McCormack in the second period too, with the midfielder booed constantly for his part in the an off the ball incident which saw Francois Zoko become Yeovil’s second player sent off with half an hour gone.
Jones said: “If you get punched you go down and you get sent off, simple.
“The fans love to get behind someone to hate, and if you asked Yeovil fans would they like Alan McCormack and Danny Hylton in their side, I think they’d bite your hands off.
“So I think it’s a little bit of a respect thing in terms of booing him because he controlled the game.
"He was excellent from start to finish, Danny was wonderful, it’s just they can be pedantic at times, but that’s why they’ve had good careers.
"Alan McCormack managed the game wonderfully well, I thought he was excellent from start to finish and deserved his 15 minutes rest.
“I thought he was going to get a yellow card as the referee adjudging him for diving, it was a clear foul, absolutely clear foul but these things happen.
“We’ve managed the game well in all aspects, our staff managed it, our players were magnificent.”