McNulty believes Town have shown they are the real deal

Steve McNulty
Steve McNulty

Luton captain Steve McNulty claims that the side’s strong League Cup showing against Swindon proves that the Hatters are ready to challenge for successive promotions, writes Sam Price.

For much of the game, Town looked equal to their divisional superiors ­ who sit third in League One after a comfortable opening day win and even edged ahead when Luke Rooney converted a second half penalty.

Swindon fought back with two late goals to snatch victory, including a spot­ kick of their own, but McNulty saw enough to suggest Luton can compete at their level.

He said: “There was nothing in it. We held them for 75 minutes, and I thought we looked comfortable until the (Swindon) penalty.

“After they got the goal, they got up a head of steam and nicked the winner.

“They are a really good side, they keep the ball well and they are very patient with it, but that’s where we’re aiming to be next season.

“We want to be in League One, playing against teams like that every week.”

In an even contest, the deciding factor proved to be the clinical finishing of Swindon forward Michael Smith, who blasted home his penalty before keeping his cool to slot past Tyler with just 10 minutes to go.

“He’s had one chance all night, and he’s taken it.” Said the Town skipper. “That’s the difference, they only need one chance and they score.

“They’ve come through us a bit too easy I think, as a team, the second goal we’ve all pushed out and it was too easy.

“But we live and learn from that.

“They had a bit more quality on the ball, and weren’t rushing stuff when they got the ball.

“It’s a hard one to take because we lost, but we matched them.”

Town boss John Still, who opted for a 3-5-2 formation on the night, added: “The second goal, we could have done better.

“The first one was a penalty, I’ve got no problems with that at all.

“He (Andy Drury) hung his leg out, he didn’t have to, but that’s football.”