Jones: First goal proved vital at Crawley

Christian Walton makes a save during Luton's defeat to Crawley
Christian Walton makes a save during Luton's defeat to Crawley
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Hatters boss Nathan Jones highlighted conceding the opening goal moments before half time as crucial in his side’s 2-0 defeat at Crawley Town on Saturday.

Although barely featuring as an attacking force, home striker James Collins stooped to head past Christian Walton prior to the invertal to put the Red Devils into the lead.

They sat back, wasted time. I said to the referee it was for him to control. Everything was slow and then we had to pick up the tempo all the time.

Nathan Jones

Luton had huge issues last term with coming back to win after conceding first, although that was rectified once Jones took over with a 3-2 victory at Oxford United in April.

There are signs it might prove an issue once more though this term as despite winning from falling behind against Aston Villa in the EFL Cup, when going 1-0 down in the league, Hatters have yet to take a point, losing to Grimsby and now Crawley.

Jones said: “That set the tone. If they go ahead, the first goal is so vital.

“We like to get the first goal and then sides come out against us and we can exploit that.

“But what happens when we give something silly away, or something soft, then that’s when we have to chase a game.

“It’s difficult, especially when sides just sit back, slow it down and are content to play on the counter, which they did quite well.

“The goal came just before half time, which was a good time for them. It came out of nothing really. It was just a cross and we didn’t defend it. It was poor. It was poor to concede a goal at that time and of that calibre.

“That then gives them something to cling on to. They sat back, wasted time and I said to the referee it was for him to control.

“Everything was slow and then we had to pick up the tempo all the time. That’s because of our error there and not defending the cross.

“We didn’t create enough in the second half and when we did we huffed and puffed but we didn’t really look like we had anything real about us.”

Town tried to chase the game late on, but were caught out going forward and fell 2-0 behind in the last minute of stoppage time when Crawley seized on an error from Stephen O’Donnell to break away and score.

Jones continued: “Then it was just a bit of sloppiness from us to concede in the 90th minute. We were chasing the game at that point but every time we are chasing a game to try to win it, we end up conceding. That’s something we’ll have to look at.

“You don’t analyse that and say it was a poor decision. We got robbed and then they broke.

“We’re looking to push to get something out of the game and you always know you’ll be at risk. The first goal and the overall performance I’m not quite happy with, not the second goal. The second goal is a killer thing when we’re going forward.”

It had looked like Town had rescued a point when Jack Marriott scored with the clock ticking past 90, although the goal was dubiously chalked off due to a foul on keeper Glen Morris by Danny Hylton, with replays proving there was no contact from the striker.

Jones added: “I’ve looked at the replay and it looks a soft one. They’re given so I can’t say it’s definitely not a foul because any time you jump near a keeper now, you’re going to get a foul.”