Jones hails Town's first half display as 'absolutely outstanding'

Danny Hylton makes it 2-0 to Luton
Danny Hylton makes it 2-0 to Luton

Hatters boss Nathan Jones was almost lost for superlatives when describing his side's first half display against Newport County this afternoon.

The Luton chief saw Town romp into a 3-0 lead by the break, courtesy of Danny Hylton's double, plus a free kick from Alan Sheehan that appeared to fly straight in from 40 yards, as the hosts produced an exceptional opening 45 minutes.

Jones said: "First half we were outstanding, absolutely outstanding, we really were.

“The level of play, the level of movement, how we shifted the ball, especially in the final third, we got in behind their back four.

“Their back four was at full stretch and I don't want to be disrespectful to anyone, I really don't, I'm talking about my team here, that’s all and I thought we were outstanding.

“I was disappointed we went in 3-0 and that's not being arrogant in any way, because 3-0's not a tricky lead, it's a great lead to have, but I felt we should have been more ahead."

Jones also felt that despite Hylton should have had two attempts at converting from 12 yards, as although referee Mark Heywood spotted a clear foul on Glen Rea for his first spot kick, another clear infringement on the striker himself by Ben White wasn't given.

He continued: "It was a clear-cut penalty that we should have had, but we didn’t. A nailed on penalty, which also would have been the lad’s second yellow, and reduced them to 10 men, which you think then would be game over.

"But I can’t take to it too much as I thought first half we were scintillating, and to say that they were far better second half, I’m not sure.

"As they had a spell where they put us under a lot of pressure, kept putting the ball into the box, long throws, which you get at this level, but we saw that out reasonably well and then still looked a real threat on the counter.

"Collo’s (James CoIlins) put a ball over, if he just slides Danny in, he’s clean in. Hylts has put Jack Stacey clean in one on one with the keeper, so we're still creating chances."

The Town boss did accept Newport had their own dangerous spell midway through the second period, but felt Hatters stood up to their aerial bombardment admirably.

He added: "That’s what it was, a 20 minute period where it was nervy, very nervy.

"We started well and should have scored, but apart from that I thought there were nervy moments and you get that at this level.

"Because everyone's got a long throw, everyone puts the ball in your box, when there's a free kick on the edge of the half way line, very few get it down and play quick, they put it in your box.

"They were a big, big side, so you have to weather that and I thought we did that and back four were very good for most of the game.

“Flynny’s (Mike Flynn) has done a brilliant job, they came here and it was a different game when we played them slightly earlier last year and won 2-1 thanks to two penalties.

"It was a feisty game, so we know there was going to be an element of physicality in the game. We stood up to that, we moved the ball wonderfully well and they're a good side, a difficult side to play against.

"They've only lost one in the last five like us, they're record's very similar to us, so it was a real big game for us and a difficult game, but I thought first half we were wonderful."