Hatters striker Zane Banton couldn’t hide his disappointment at not being able to finally celebrate a goal in Luton colours during Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the EFL Checkatrade Trophy.
The 20-year-old, who made his debut for the club back in September 2013, went clean through early in the second half from Stephen O’Donnell’s lovely through ball, with just keeper Boaz Myhill to beat.
“I was gutted about it coming off the inside of the post and not getting one myself, I was absolutely gutted, as it would have been my first goal.Zane Banton
He did everything right, only to fire against the base of the post from eight yards, as the chance went begging.
Speaking afterwards, Banton said: “My first goal could have been tonight, should have been tonight, but hopefully next time.
“I was gutted about it coming off the inside of the post and not getting one myself, I was absolutely gutted, as it would have been my first goal.
“I haven’t had a lot of appearances this season, so I’m just making sure that I keep working hard when I do get my chances.
“If I put in performances like that, I can’t really do myself any harm.”
To his credit, Barnton didn’t let his head drop for one second as he was on the front foot immediately, playing the perfect pass for Alex Gilliead to make it 1-0 on the hour mark.
He continued: “I didn’t want to let it affect me, so I just tried to not let it get to me and carried on playing my game and obviously it paid off as I set Alex up for his goal.
“If you crumble after missing an opportunity then it’s only going to end up one way, you’re not going to want the ball, you’re not going to be enjoying the game.”
It was something that impressed manager Nathan Jones too, who said: “We wouldn’t chastise him for missing a chance, he puts himself in positions and his overall performance was excellent, his work-rate was excellent.
“Yes, we would have liked him to score to top it off, but we’d also like him to score because he puts himself further in the frame, because strikers are judged a lot of the time on goals.
“But his overall performance was outstanding, we really like him here, when I first came here within a week or so I realised he was a different talent, recalled him from his loan spell, and now he’s at the level where he’s knocking on the door.”
Despite the game being against a West Brom U23s side, Banton found himself going head to head with a full Swedish international in Jonas Olsson, who has played over 250 times for the Baggies first team.
He continued: “I knew it was going to be a difficult test playing against Olsson at times.
“I knew I had to step my game up and show what I can do, not let it play on my mind that he’s played in the Prem and played internationally because I trust myself and trust my ability.
“They had four very good players out who have played at the highest level, so it’s good to test yourselves against them.
“It’s a young team but mixed with players who play in the Prem week in week out.”
Banton was also thrilled to see Luton give debuts to another two fellow homegrown players in Jack Snelus and Freddie Hinds, while deadline day signing from Huddersfield Jack Senior made his first start too.
He added: “There were three people making debuts and none of them put a foot wrong.
“I thought Jack was excellent at left back and the other two who came on, Freddie and Jack, although it wasn’t for long, they also didn’t put a foot wrong or look out of place, so happy days.”