Townsend reveals how Luton's players were able to get over crushing Cherries loss in time for Forest

Town’s squad stayed on the south coast to get defeat out of their system
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Town winger Andros Townsend has revealed just what Luton boss Rob Edwards did with his players to ensure they got over the potentially crushing disappointment of letting a 3-0 half time lead slip to lose 4-3 at AFC Bournemouth recently.

The Hatters looked like they were cruising to a vital three points at the Vitality Stadium once Tahith Chong, Chiedozie Ogbene and Ross Barkley had all found the net to give the visitors what appeared an unassailable advantage. However, the Cherries hit back to stun Edwards’ side in the second period, Dominic Solanke, Illia Zabarnyi and Antoine Semenyo drawing Andoni Ireola’s side level within the midway point, Semenyo scoring again late on to seal a victory that hadn’t looked likely when the two teams swapped ends.

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With Luton having been outside of the relegation zone at the break, but then falling back into it by the full time whistle, they had to somehow get themselves over the emotions of letting victory slip from their grasp and prepare mentally for a home game against fellow relegation rivals Nottingham Forest, who had been able to put their feet up for a whole week off, just a few days later.

Luton's players react to AFC Bournemouth's third goal at the Vitality Stadium earlier this month - pic: Mike Hewitt/Getty ImagesLuton's players react to AFC Bournemouth's third goal at the Vitality Stadium earlier this month - pic: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Luton's players react to AFC Bournemouth's third goal at the Vitality Stadium earlier this month - pic: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

They managed to gain what could be a crucial 1-1 draw against the Reds thanks to a late goal of their own from midfielder Luke Berry, but on how they were able to get in the right frame of mind for the contest, Townsend told BBC’s Monday Night Club: “It was probably the lowest we've been all season and probably the first time I've looked at the table and thought, ‘wow, we could be getting cut adrift here if we don't get a result against Forest.’

"I think the best thing that we did which was pre-planned, was we stayed in Bournemouth that night and then did our recovery in Bournemouth. We got the coach home so we were all together. You got over the defeat in a way, got over it together and then by the end of the trip you're laughing and joking again, whereas if we'd have gone home that night, we’d have taken the result into the night then been sulking on our day off on the Thursday and then come in Friday negative.

"We got that out of the way, had our team meeting, our crisis sessions and it was put to bed and I think that was the best thing. We went in Saturday, yes we scored in the last minute, but we should have won that game and it was frustrating to only take a point.”

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Despite a bright start at Kenilworth Road, Ross Barkley going close on three occasions, Luton had fallen behind to their rivals when Chris Wood volleyed Morgan Gibbs-White’s clever cross into the roof of the net from close range. The fact they were able to stay in the game and get something late on was testament to two terrific goal-line clearances from Reece Burke and Teden Mengi, which was something Edwards had highlighted following the Cherries loss.

He said: “They had some big moments with fast attacks, any kind of mistake they could punish you with the speed and the quality they’ve got with those top four players. We had a couple of bits of brilliant defending, brilliant moments of defending that we’ve been speaking about, so I’m really pleased with Teden and Burkey and one or two others that were back on the line there to clear things.

"I’m disappointed how we conceded the goal, as we always would be, but an even game. I thought we had a bit more of it, but didn’t create loads and the name of the game is to create chances and we struggled to do that.”

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