Luton boss John Still stated he had no choice but to withdraw skipper Steve McNulty at half time during yesterday’s 3-2 defeat at Yeovil Town in case he got sent off in the second period.
The Luton captain was booked on 32 minutes after a needless and cynical challenge on Glovers forward Shaun Jeffers.
“I think one more foul of any description and he was going to go off.”John Still
He was then walking a disciplinary tightrope making a number of other niggly fouls, with official Simon Cooper handing out a final warning prior to the break.
Afterwards, Still said: “I haven’t spoken to him properly yet, but I don’t think Steve was fully on it, I don’t.
“I thought his concentration levels from almost the start were off, I don’t know why, but he headed a ball back once without looking and the fella could have got in.
“I thought he got beat too easily for the goal, thought his concentration levels were really poor. I don’t know why. Taking him off at half time was the right thing to do.
“I think one more foul of any description and he was going to go off.”
Former Derby County defender Mark O’Brien came on for his league debut as Still continued: “We could have tucked Scott (Cuthbert) in, but Scott was doing okay, so no need to do that.
“Mark came in for his first league game and was a bit rusty, but the result wasn’t down to him.”
Midfielder Alex Lawless, who was introduced during the second half for his first action of the season, felt that although the team should have been able to cope with the substitution, it had been a blow to the visitors and quite possible lifted Yeovil’s morale.
He added: “Macca’s a massive character on the pitch. For them to see him there and for us, he’s our leader, so when it’s not there, it’s not ideal.
“But we’re professional footballers and we should be able to adjust to that. I don’t think that should really be an excuse although we did miss him.”