No 'sour grapes' from Jones as he refuses to blame Stoke's time-wasting tactics for Town's defeat

Premier League official Jonathan Moss was in charge of Town's defeat to Stoke yesterdayPremier League official Jonathan Moss was in charge of Town's defeat to Stoke yesterday
Premier League official Jonathan Moss was in charge of Town's defeat to Stoke yesterday
Luton manager didn't think his team did enough to win Championship clash

Hatters boss Nathan Jones refused to blame Stoke City's time-wasting tactics at Kenilworth Road yesterday for his side's disappointing 1-0 defeat.

The Potters claimed all three points courtesy of Jacob Brown’s 34th minute strike, but in a strategy not seen since Town were in the lower echelons of the Football League, adopted an approach that saw them attempt to delay the game from very early on.

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Under the eye of top flight official Jonathan Moss, Michael O'Neill's side set out to frustrate their hosts, taking an age over goal kicks and throw-ins at every single opportunity, even taking the ball into the corner with a good 10 minutes to go at one point.

Luton almost found a way through, Admiral Muskwe hitting the bar with a close range header, but speaking afterwards, Jones said: “It’s tricky as we’re a tempo side, so we just have to generate it ourselves, but if we equalise and score the header, then it’s a different game.

“We can blame the time-wasting, have a go at the time-wasting, have a go at certain things, but at the end of the day we have to show enough quality to win the game.

"We didn't today and that was the thing.

“So I can complain, I can moan, but it just sounds like sour grapes, that’s the ref’s job, he’s a Premier League ref, apparently."

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In the second half, Moss did book Danny Batth for delaying his throw with just three minutes gone and then cautioned keeper Josef Bursik as he dithered over a goal kick, moments after going down for treatment following a mysterious injury that broke up play with the Hatters just looking like they were starting to get on top.

When asked if he should have intervened earlier, Jones continued: “If they merit it then fine, you can speed them up and say, 'look if you continue to do that.'

"As it seems like every time they have a goal kick he (Bursik) goes and has a drink, comes in, and he moves it, and they all line up, they have a look at it for 10-15 seconds and then they go, 'no, go on' and push people up, so every set-play and goal kick takes a hell of a long time.

"Now it’s difficult to generate that momentum, but I don’t know, I’m not the rule maker.

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"Second half, he did, he sped them up a little bit, I’m not sure how much more, it’s just frustrating for us at the minute.

"If we’d scored late, then we’d have been delighted, but we didn’t as they kept a clean sheet and we didn’t demonstrate enough quality to change that.”

On whether if he thought Town could take it as a compliment that a side like Stoke, with real aspirations of reaching the Premier League this term, came to Kenilworth Road with such spoiling tactics, Jones added: “I don’t know whether that was the way we played, or a tactical thing.

"Bursik was taking an age with every goal kick, so it’s very difficult to do that and you add the time on, but we’ve said this before, we’ve had Wycombe here, we’ve had people here, that there’s no flow in the game.

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"If that’s how they want to play, if the referee’s allowing them to play how they want to play, not how the game should be played, that’s the difficult thing that we have to face.

"I can’t criticise that, that's them, we had six minutes, we’ve had opportunities, we’ve hit the bar, we’ve had opportunities in and around the box.

"If we just demonstrated a bit more, we might not be talking about the time-wasting, we might be talking about whether the time-wasting helped us as we scored late on, but we just didn’t demonstrate enough quality.”