'Monumental' Luton effort praised by boss Harford in Cod Army victory

Hatters boss Mick Harford labelled his side’s display without the ball at Fleetwood on Saturday as one of the best he has ever seen.

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 21st February 2019, 11:36 am
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 11:40 am
James Justin crosses the ball against Fleetwood on Saturday
James Justin crosses the ball against Fleetwood on Saturday

He wasn’t wrong either, as Town’s press all over the pitch was simply magnificent, with the hosts barely having any time on the ball whatsoever.

The front three of James Collins, Danny Hylton and George Moncur were particularly impressive, but that was backed up by the whole team for the entire 90 minutes.

Harford said: “I’ve never seen a team work so hard in terms of the way they closed down, the way they got people’s heads down, the way the stopped them playing forward.

“I thought it was a monumental physical effort in terms of what they were trying to do and they stopped Fleetwood playing.

“The effort and commitment is amazing.

“When you’re on a good run and the team's playing well, creating chances, playing with a bit of confidence, I wouldn’t say a swagger, but we believe in what we’re doing.

"They trust in each other, and they just work their socks off for each other.

"You’ve seen the work-rate from the front two, the midfield players and the effort and commitment the whole team put in, I thought it was a brilliant performance."

Moncur, who played at the tip of the diamond with Luke Berry missing out, said of the constant closing down: “It was superb as I see Hylts (Danny Hylton) and Collo (James Collins) go and when they go, you know to set off yourself.

“That’s why the press works really well because when you’ve got people backing it up, you normally can nick the ball or you end up getting a throw-in or something.

“Every time I’ve played here, it’s been a really hard game, there's never really much football played, it’s just a battle and whoever wins the battle comes out on top.

"We did that again, so credit to them, they set up that way, they play that way and it’s a really hard place to come and get the points."

Harford was also quick to talk up Town’s discipline against a side intent on kicking lumps out of them at times, with four bookings picked up in the first half.

He continued: "We did say at half time, we keep our discipline, don’t get involved, as there were some dangerous tackles flying around.

“George took a nasty whack on his thigh, it could have been a red card, I’m not sure. We just asked our players to keep their discipline as in all fairness they just saw the game out."

Midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu said of the Cod Army's tactics: “The amount of bookings was crazy for a first half.

"We had to continue keeping our heads, making sure no-one gets sent off, so everyone was great and kept their discipline."

The Hatters did concede in stoppage time, Paddy Madden scoring to deny the visitors what Harford felt would have been another deserved shut out.

He added: "We're disappointed, we put Alan (Sheehan) on and went three at the back just to soak it up.

"They put the big centre half upfront, so we knew we’d have to do something.

"It was just a second ball which he volleyed, a good finish to be fair, James (Shea) will be disappointed as I thought on the day, James Shea had a real good game.

"He looked very confident in all he did, so he’ll be disappointed to concede, but listen, you come away from home and you get three points at this stage of the season and it’s a vital three points."