Jones thought Town's first half was close to perfect

Hatters boss Nathan Jones celebrates his side's 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers
Hatters boss Nathan Jones celebrates his side's 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers

Luton boss Nathan Jones felt his side were close to perfection in the first half of their 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

The opening 45 minutes saw Town completely dominate their struggling opponents, only denied a goal by the keeper Jack Bonham, who made a string of fine saves.

It meant they went in goalless at the break, but Jones said: “We were excellent. First half if we’d have scored, it was as close to perfection as I could have imagined, in terms of how we dealt with any threat they had and then the structure that we played, how we got into areas and some of the football was wonderful, it really was.

“It’s just really, really sad that we didn't take a chance earlier because then who knows what might have happened?

“Then they changed, these are an established League One side, and they changed, they went man for man with us to match us up and I still thought we were totally dominant.”

Town looked liked they had grabbed the lead when Jack Stacey turned in Dan Potts’ cross, only for referee Rob Lewis to rule it out for a push by striker James Collins.

Jones continued: “It was a real soft disallowed goal. He saw a push that on the video we’re not quite seeing, or not enough to be deemed a foul, it’s just it led to a goal.

"If that was anywhere else on the pitch, it wouldn’t have, but to be fair to the referee, he was excellent all day, no problems with him.

"He let things flow, one or two things that we could be critical of, but I thought he was one of the better ones in all fairness to him.

"Now we’re able to say that didn’t cost us, but in the past that has.”

One thing Jones was happy about though was not to concede the opening goal during the first period, as they had done so in six of their previous seven league encounters.

He said: ““There was a little bit of relief that we hadn’t conceded anything early as that’s the thing that’s been killing us really, is an early goal.

“We believe that we’re going to score goals most games, if not all games, as we very rarely draw a blank.

"But if we get the first goal, we tend not to lose and in terms of how we played, I couldn’t have been any prouder.

"I look at my team and I’ll watch it again and it will be with real pride how we go about our work.

"These, (Rovers) in the words of most League Two managers last year, they’ve got a bigger budget than us, but I thought we were excellent.

"Our structure, how we got into areas, how we played, everything about us I thought was wonderful and I’m proud of that.l

"We got our just desserts today, we didn’t last week as we were totally dominant against Doncaster and didn’t because of sloppiness.

"We cut that sloppiness out today and had that real cutting edge about us.”

After the break, it looked like Luton might be frustrated once more, only for Andrew Shinnie to score what turned out to be the winner with 62 minutes on the clock.

Jones said: “Second half we weren’t as dominant, but ironically we were slightly more clinical and we definitely could have gone further ahead with great opportunities.

“If we’d had a little bit more clinical edge, maybe a little bit more cleverness, I think the game would have been over a lot sooner.”

Although Rovers didn’t have a shot on target throughout, they did mount some pressure late on, sending a number of high balls into the area which Town defended with relative ease.

Jones added: “It was a direct threat that everyone does, they go long and are hoping that something falls to them, through more luck and endeavour than guile.

"So we held out, we knew we had to do that, that’s why we bought (Alan) Sheehan on, to add another one who can win a header and to make sure that centrally we won that first header and then we could break on them as they were going a little bit gung ho.

"It's good to see out the game and good to get another clean sheet.

"One scary moment when the ball came cross and Matty Pearson had to clear over his own bar, but apart from that, I think again, without being disrespectful to anyone, I don’t think Sheasy’s (James Shea) had too many saves to make, whereas their keeper has been very, very busy.”