Neilson disappointed despite cup triumph

HATTERS assistant boss Alan Neilson admitted the over-riding feeling was one of disappointment despite Town winning the Beds Senior Cup final with a thrilling 5-4 victory over Dunstable Town at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night, writes Mike Simmonds.

Luton had trailed 2-0 with 12 minutes left, but recovered to force extra-time, before Dan Walker’s late goal secured the trophy.

He said: “It’s a bit of silverware, but I’m very disappointed, I’m not going to mince my words.

“We should be good enough and able enough with the players we had on the pitch to keep a clean sheet against them.

“Our fitness should be superior to their’s.

“We said push them round, play it from side to side, but they were getting blocks off, their keeper pulled off some great saves.

“We popped up with a goal at the right times. We saw against Wrexham that once you get one, you’re on the front foot and can get the second one.

“It goes to extra-time, then we’re 3-2 up, 3-3, then 4-3, then the wonder goal, a great strike from Holmesy (Peter Holmes).

“Second half they’ve been slightly better, we kept going, kept working and in the end our fitness has helped with the goals we’ve scored.

“Eventually we’ve got the winner as from a good pass by Andre Boucaud, Dan Walker has cut inside and it’s a great left-foot strike into the bottom corner.

“We won the game, but there were little things that personally I’m disappointed with.”

Town picked an incredibly strong side for the match, with Amari Morgan-Smith, Greg Taylor and Craig McAllister all playing at Wrexham the previous day.

Boucaud, John Paul Kissock, Dean Beckwith and Shane Blackett all started too, and Neilson was aware that getting minutes under their belt before the play-off final was essential.

He continued: “Importantly, it was 120 minutes for the lads who haven’t had a lot of game time and we’ve got to keep the lads ticking over for the date on the 20th.

“Greg came back from his groin surgery, Amari is back from his back, hamstring problems.

“It was a good game to play in, they (Dunstable) had something to prove as they finished second in the league and their manager said they scored 130 goals.

“You could see why, as the front two caused us a lot of problems.

“It was a good learning curve for Alex Lacey, even Dean (Beckwith) and Shane (Blackett) too.”

Although the euphoria of the play-off win over Wrexham was still fresh in their minds, Neilson warned the side they still need to buckle down in training and games.

He added: “The whole squad know they’ve got to work hard, if they don’t work hard, they won’t be here.

“There were some little episodes where they didn’t work hard enough (on Tuesday), but I think in professional football, every time you cross that pitch, you should try your hardest.

“We took 23 fit players away to Wrexham to keep everyone together, because we need all the players, in training, in games.

“Everyone wants to be on the boat, but everyone’s got to work hard to be on the boat.”

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