Hatters boss Paul Buckle was at a loss to explain how his side came away from Edgar Street with nothing to show for their efforts on Tuesday night, writes Mike Simmonds.
The visitors outplayed their financially-stricken hosts virtually from start to finish, but were beaten by James McQuilkin’s classy strike 10 minutes into the second half as they found Bulls keeper James Bittner in unbeatable form.
Buckle said: “I feel we played very well, we were certainly in the mood. It wasn’t the case that we didn’t get out of the traps or were lacklustre or lethargic.
“It’s taken a very, very good goal to get them in front and they’ve ended up looking after it, albeit sitting in for the majority of the game.
“If their keeper gets man of the match you know you’ve done something right in terms of hitting the target and putting pressure on them.
“They’ve come off the back of beating a League One side in Shrewsbury, so it was never going to be easy.
“But at times we made the game look very easy. They were holding on for dear life, that’s all I can say.”
Although Town saw their run of four successive away wins ended, Buckle felt there had been little wrong with the performance his players served up.
He continued: “It is frustrating but I’d much rather watch our team play like that and lose than turn up somewhere like Hereford and not show up.
“I’ve got to be honest, I’d pay to watch us. We were exciting, we go forward, we’ve been picked off by a wonder strike and it’s very hard to take.
“Hand on my heart, when we lost to Alfreton, we were nowhere near it, at Grimsby we were weak in the box, but I didn’t think there was a weakness in us.
“I couldn’t see how they were going to break us down and score. We were watertight, one strike has done us and it’s very hard to take. It happens sometimes in football, I’m hurting as I don’t feel we deserved to lose our winning run. We have, so let’s take it on the chin and move on.
“We were alert, we were bright, our attacks were applauded by our supporters time and time again and I couldn’t even accuse us of lumping the ball forward. We looked an excellent side and I’m sure their manager would say the same.”
Although taking plenty of positives, Buckle felt that Town could have done better on the game’s critical moment, when McQuilkin cut in and beat Dean Brill, on his 100th Town appearance, with a wonderful effort.
Buckle said: “The biggest disappointment was we never came out and closed the boy quick enough on the edge of the box.
“I’ve spoken to Janos (Kovacs) and said maybe you’ve got to come out when you see them cutting in, got to get down the line of it and got to take one. He’s managed to guide it around him and its gone right in the side netting.”
Kovacs was withdrawn midway through the half, along with Andre Gray, with the Hungarian receiving some half-hearted jeers from the home fans after his disappointing spell at Edgar Street, but Buckle didn’t feel that anything should be read into his changes.
The boss added: “You’ve seen me do that before. I didn’t think we were playing badly, but you’ve got (Alex) Lawless sat there and Jake Robinson and it’s only fair on them that you make the changes.
“We were 1-0 down through no-one’s fault individually. Janos has come off but it’s not a big deal. It’s something we have to do at Luton to win.
“We need to break teams down and create chances. We go for the win every time and if we play like that and are that bold in our approach, we will certainly go on a number of runs this season.”
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