No negatives as Jones prefers to praise Magpies

Luton striker Danny Hylton saw this shot blocked on Saturday
Luton striker Danny Hylton saw this shot blocked on Saturday

Rather than look for negatives in his own side’s performance, Luton boss Nathan Jones preferred to praise Notts County for their efforts during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road.

The Hatters were held for the first time in the league on home soil after Shola Ameobi’s strike for the visitors cancelled out Johnny Mullin’s first half opener.

I could stand here as others have done to us and say we were embarrassing, we were this, we weren’t.

Nathan Jones

After clearly feeling Town haven’t got the credit they deserve for a campaign which has seen them score seven twice and eight once so far, Jones said: “They got a point against us and the league says that we’re the best in the league because we’re top of the league, so it’s not encouraging as I know what we can do, but I’m not going to be like other managers.

“When we’ve won sevens and threes here, people somehow find reasons why their team weren’t at their best.

“No-one ever says Luton were a good side today, they were quality, no-one says that. I’m going to say that about Notts County as they’re a difficult side to play against.

“They showed why they’re there. You don’t get 42 points from 21 games if you’re not a good side and they showed they are.

“I thought it was two good sides going up against each other, probably cancelling each other out a little bit, so I’m not too disappointed.

“Yes I want to win every game, we try to win every game, and I was disappointed that we didn’t show the type of form that we had, but there’s more than just us not playing well, they must have contributed to that.

“I could stand here as others have done to us and say we were embarrassing, we were this, we weren’t.

“We weren’t fluent, we weren’t at our best, but give credit to to Notts County as they came and they worked hard.

“They were very diligent, they defended and they stopped us playing, and so did we as we stopped them doing what they’re good at.

“We had to compete, work hard and I’m relatively pleased as we stay top of the league, increase our lead to six points from fourth place, so it’s not a bad effort.”

The visiting Magpies side was packed with experience, including Jon Stead and Ameobi upfront, along with both centre halves Richard Duffy and Shaun Brisley and after seeing them first hand, Jones wasn’t surprised County are emerging as Luton’s main title rivals.

He continued: “They showed why they’re up there, they have real threats in Ameobi and Stead, experience at this level, they’ve had great careers and they’re a handful, a real handful.

“Jorge Grant is one of the better footballers in this league, and they’re rigid in what they do.

“They defend well, they work hard, they graft, to get 42 points from 21 games, it shows they’re a good side and lets give that credit.

“But I thought it was two good sides going at it and it wasn’t the entertaining clash in some ways that people would have anticipated, but it can’t always be that.

“There were fantastic battles everywhere, they’re reasonably direct Notts County, they get it into their front two early, and then they get it wide and put balls in your box.

“So we tried to defend our box fantastically well and we did that for most of the game.”

Although the Hatters only had two shots on target in the clash, both from Mullins, who might have won it late on when he was denied by keeper Ross Fitzimons, Jones still felt his side had created enough for victory.

He added: “Yes, we had two shots on target, but we had two glorious chances to win it late on.

“Johnny Mullins had a chance, Glen Rea had an ever better chance, it was right there, just an element of composure would have won us the game.

“Would that have been harsh on Notts County? Maybe. It’s not a bad result, it keeps us top of the league and that’s not the worst thing.”