Luton boss felt Sluga and his defence deserved a clean sheet during Tykes triumph

Town boss Graeme Jones gives keeper Simon Sluga a hug after Luton's 3-1 win at Barnsley on Saturday
Town boss Graeme Jones gives keeper Simon Sluga a hug after Luton's 3-1 win at Barnsley on Saturday

Town boss Graeme Jones felt his ‘ruthless’ Hatters were denied a clean sheet they had fully deserved during Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Barnsley.

Leading 3-0, the visitors had kept the Tykes out for 72 minutes, until James Bree went down injured after a challenge, the hosts quite rightly playing on to see Mallik Wilks finally end Town’s resistance, sweeping past Simon Sluga from close range.

It means the Hatters have not earned a shut out in any of their five Championship games so far this season, conceding nine goals in total, but speaking afterwards, Jones said: “I think the two centre halves and the goalkeeper deserved a clean sheet, they really did.

“But James Bree goes down injured, so Ryan Tunnicliffe’s in the left back position and the cross gets pulled back, so instead of being in the cut back zone, we get done.

“That’s what it looked like live, I’m sure when you look back there’s a bit more detail, stopping the cross, but I don’t think today’s a day to be picking over anything.

“We need to enjoy the win, enjoy the performance as I think at times we were ruthless and I mean ruthless.

“If we had been 5-0 up at half time, nobody could have complained.

"The two different faces overall this season in terms of our performances is really satisfying how far we’ve come in such a short space of time.”

Keeper Sluga was exceptional throughout the afternoon, commanding his area with real assurity, and also making a number of top saves, particularly from Tykes forward Mamadou Thiam in the second period.

Jones continued: “You need your goalkeeper at times.

“I’ve not doubted Simon, but the settling in period for any foreigners is really, really difficult.

“In the games he’s grown, he’s getting an understanding of the game, getting an understanding of his starting position, getting an understanding of reading the tempo of the game for his team.

“The Championship physically is a brutal league, you have to really understand it and learn quick, but he has the equipment in every area and today he showed it.”

Goalscorer Harry Cornick was also impressed by the Croatian’s display at Oakwell, adding: “They kept us on our toes, they made us defend well and I thought the back four were brilliant and the keeper also.

“Slugsy saved a few shots, came for a few crosses and relieved the pressure when he needed to.

“It’s not just the saves, it’s the crosses he came out and claimed.

“I thought this week he was much better when he had to slow the game down.

“He just relaxed and I felt comfortable behind him.

"Sonny (Bradley) and Matty (Pearson) as well, I know they want a clean sheet, but they were brilliant and won every header.”