Luton chief admits dishing out a half-time 'rollicking' during Tykes triumph

Town boss had wanted more aggression from his side in midweek contest

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 12:31 pm
Hatters boss Nathan Jones with goalscorer Allan Campbell following last night's 2-1 win over Barnsley - pic: Gareth Owen
Hatters boss Nathan Jones with goalscorer Allan Campbell following last night's 2-1 win over Barnsley - pic: Gareth Owen

Luton boss Nathan Jones admitted he had to deliver a bit of a ‘rollicking’ to his players during the half time break of their 2-1 win over Barnsley at Kenilworth Road last night.

In an opening period where the Hatters were nowhere near their best, they still took the lead on 28 minutes, James Bree’s corner eventually prodded over the line by midfielder Allan Campbell.

However, an out of sorts Town side were pegged back just before the break through Carlton Morris’ excellent finish which saw the sides swap ends all square.

Although still not reaching top gear, the Hatters were much improved in the second period, Elijah Adebayo scoring the winner from the penalty spot on the hour mark as they restricted the previously dangerous Tykes to very little in terms of chances.

It all came about following some stern words from Jones though, who said: "I was raging with their goal, as we had an opportunity on 42, 43 minutes, we take a short one (corner), then we try a backheel and then it allows them to go up the other side and get an opportunity.

"That’s what we’ve got to learn from as we’ve just put a great ball in and scored from it, so do it again, especially right on half time.

"That frustrated me a little bit, but it shows the character that after a little bit of a rollicking, they came out and we were better second half.”

When asked exactly what he had had told his players Jones continued: “We said we need to one, be a bit more aggressive as a back three in terms of stepping in and dominating as I thought Carlton Morris was good first half.

"Then we needed to get hold of it upfront as Harry (Cornick) and Elijah were a bit loose and then once we did that, I felt we could have got a little bit more momentum because they’re quite gung ho.

"They go and then if you can just secure the ball and play through them then you get in at their back four, back three and get opportunities.

"That’s what we didn’t do, we were too eager to go forward at times in terms of one ball, we just needed a bit more composure.

"So a bit more aggression, get hold of it and a little bit more composure and once we did that I felt we had a bit more footing in the game.

"We had to change shape and we felt it was the right thing to do and it worked.”

Full back Bree thought it was the right thing for the manager to do, as he said: "He comes in and sometimes he riles us up, sometimes he’s quite quiet, today, he got us going a little bit and I think we needed it.

"We all knew that we were a little bit off it tonight and we just had to get together and try and make sure we won it."

With 10 minutes gone of the second period, Jones opted to bring on attacker Fred Onyedinma for defender Gabe Osho and move away from his three at the back to a 4-3-3 formation.

It worked immediately, Onyedinma bursting into the area where he was felled by keeper Bradley Collins for a penalty that was gratefully dispatched by Adebayo for what was ultimately the winner.

On the switch, Jones said: "We felt we needed a bit more control in the game and we felt that we weren’t getting that.

"We had three centre halves up against their one, so we weren't able to overpower them in midfield.

"We made the extra change, got a little bit more pressure on it, another one up, the game-changer came on and did fantastically well, his pace got him in."

Bree was also impressed the impact that his team-mate had from the moment he was introduced, adding: "That’s what Fred’s really good at, he’s so quick, presses so high, and I think people don’t really know how to deal with it sometimes.

"I train against him every single day and he’s so quick and he can jink.

"He won the penalty really well and I think he played really well when he came on, so a good substitution."