Hatters boss admits set-pieces are becoming a 'bane' for Luton

Former Hatters defender Luke Wilkinson scored against Luton yesterday
Former Hatters defender Luke Wilkinson scored against Luton yesterday

Hatters chief Nathan Jones lamented his side’s inability to defend set-pieces yet again during their 2-0 defeat against Stevenage yesterday.

Luton fell behind inside the opening three minutes when former Town centre half Luke Wilkinson, whom Jones had let go soon after arriving at Kenilworth Road in January 2016, rose highest to head home from a corner.

It was the defender’s fourth goal in his last 13 games, but the ease at which he beat the hosts' back-line left Jones fuming.

He said: “We didn’t need any reminding, we even said what area he scores from, we pinned it down yesterday and showed them on the video.

“So I don’t think we can do anymore realistically, then you’ve just got to go out and mark him.

“We didn’t, we conceded so early, and it’s literally just from a ball in. It’s not from anything massively clever, or movement, as he’s moved four yards and just had a free header.

“That’s not good enough. It’s poor marking but that’s been a bit of a bane for us at times.

“A set play the other day done us against Oxford and then Mansfield here, the first set play they had after not touching the ball for eight minutes, and then Cheltenham, two or three minutes in.

“It’s been a bane for us. We work hard on set plays, we’ve just got to work harder.”

Stevenage’s second came late on as Ben Kennedy who had been on the floor signalling for treatment moments earlier, netted a screamer from 20 yards, before making a miraculous recovery to sprint the full length of the field and celebrate with the visiting fans.

On Kennedy’s antics, Jones said: “Well that’s not his fault, that’s the referee's.

“We told them at half time as we heard what they said in the changing rooms, we knew they were going to kill the game at every opportunity and they were allowed to do that.

“Fair play to him (Kennedy), it was clever, he slowed it, we couldn’t get any momentum. If we had got momentum then the crowd goes up, but they played that fantastically well, credit to them.

"They've come here and done very well, it was a great away performance, they played at their tempo, slowed the game down, and it killed the game.

“The referee should have handled that better, but that’s the way it goes.

“We conceded from a counter attack, which is a ridiculous thing for us to concede from the first ball and it was game over then.”