Town chief praises the impact from the bench in Potters draw

Hatters' substitutions pay off against Stoke

By Mike Simmonds
Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 9:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 9:04 am
Luke Bolton came off the bench to play a big part in Luton's equaliser against Stoke
Luke Bolton came off the bench to play a big part in Luton's equaliser against Stoke

Luton chief Graeme Jones praised his substitutes for the impact they made during Town’s 1-1 draw against Stoke City on Saturday.

Going into the game, the Hatters boss had made just one change to his starting 11 from the 2-1 win over Brentford on Tuesday night, as Izzy Brown replaced the injured Luke Berry.

However, Sam Vokes’ early goal gave Stoke the advantage and the incentive they needed to sit back and protect what they had, with Welsh international Joe Allen instrumental in running the midfield.

After the break, Jones sent on George Moncur for Glen Rea just before the hour mark, while Luke Bolton and Callum McManaman were introduced as the second period wore on, Town going to a back three to ensure Bolton was an attacking threat on the right.

Moncur thought he had helped draw Town level with 20 to go, his shot parried to Harry Cornick for a goal that was disallowed, before in the last minute, both Bolton and McManaman had crucial roles in the eventual equaliser.

Bolton, on loan from Manchester City, received the ball on the wing, teased his way to the byline and sent over a cross that was half cleared, McManaman going over James Chester’s outstretched leg for a penalty that James Collins side-footed home.

Speaking about the changes, Jones said: “With the greatest respect to Martin Cranie, who's a fantastic player for us, one v ones is not really his strength.

“I've seen a lot of our play was funnelled out wide and it went to Martin and we had to come back, so I made the substitution because I wanted Luke’s one v one qualities as it was just bottle-necking.

“In the end he's the one who got the one v one, the half a yard, crosses the ball in the box and we get a penalty from it.”

Striker James Collins also felt the trio deserved huge credit for their game-changing displays, as he said: “I thought the subs were excellent when they came on.

“They gave us a spark and it’s been a long week, you need your squad and the three lads came on and made a difference to the game.”

Meanwhile, Jones wasn't too critical on the original 11 who started the contest finding it hard to break down a Potters side who had clearly come to make themselves as tough to beat possible, getting men behind the ball at every opportunity.

He added: “Stoke have been playing 4-5-1 and 4-4-2, so if they played 4-4-2 it would have been a little bit more of an open game.

“They played 4-5-1 off it, Nick Powell was trying to be a second centre forward on it, and it was difficult.

“I’ve been there and I’ve worked with some great teams and trying to break a low block isn't easy for some of the top players.

“We managed to get the ball out wide which was the plan, the reason for the substitution.

“We had a one v one with Luke Bolton, managed to get the ball in the box, managed to get the penalty, and managed to get something from the game, so I’m taking it and we’re moving on.”