Collins left 'speechless' by Hatters' midweek win over Portsmouth

James Collins celebrates opening the scoring on Tuesday night
James Collins celebrates opening the scoring on Tuesday night

Striker James Collins admitted he was left feeling ‘speechless’ by the Hatters’ 3-2 win over promotion rivals Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

The Luton forward saw his side absolutely play the visitors off the park in the first period, with one of the best 45 minutes witnessed by a sold out Kenilworth Road in years.

Collins himself ensured that Town didn’t let that stunning display go to waste by slotting home Kazenga LuaLua’s lovely threaded through ball on 39 minutes to put the hosts in front.

That then led to a topsy turvy second period, with Luton twice pegged back, before going on to win it through George Moncur's late free kick, as speaking to the press afterwards, he said: “I’m a bit speechless really.

“For everyone involved in Luton Town Football Club, just what a night, what a game of football, what an entertaining game and what a crowd to back us as well, I’m absolutely delighted that I was a part of it.

“I think the first half is probably up there with the best we’ve played since I’ve been at the club.

“We moved the ball well, we worked hard, created chances and I’m so surprised it was only 1-0 at half time.

“It was a brilliant move, credit’s got to go to Kaz, since he’s come in, he’s so selfless and he commits people, he set up numerous goals for me.

“Five minutes before he could have slipped me in but just overhit it, with that one he laid it perfectly for me and I'm delighted to put it away.

“I always try and back myself to score goals and hit the target, we work on it every day and I was confident when the ball came to me.

“Conditions were terrible for both sides, but I think we dealt with it really well.

"We started on the front foot and I think we were first to pretty much everything in the first half.

"Credit’s got to go to the side, we’re so brave, we want to do things the right way and it’s working for us at the minute.”

Despite dominating all aspects of the game, Town were hit by an equaliser early in the second period as Pompey looked a difference side once they introduced recent addition Omar Bogle.

Fellow attacker Ronan Curtis made it 1-1, as Collins knew they weren't just going to have it all their own way, saying: "Credit to them, they’ve been up there the whole season and they’re up there for a reason.

"We knew second half they’d change a few things and second half it was a right good game.”

It was Collins who gave Luton the upper hand once more though, with 13 minutes to go, blasting home his 16th of the season from the penalty spot after LuaLua had been fouled.

He continued: “I knew where I was going, I practiced yesterday, I always practice the day before a game.

"I didn’t change my mind, I probably knew the keeper knew where I was going, but I just think if I get a good enough contact on it on a wet and slippy night, it’s going to go in, so I was delighted to see that go in as well.

“The pitch wasn’t in the best of conditions because of the weather but you’ve just got to block all that out, think just hit the target and you’ve got a good chance.”

On a thrilling night, Pompey hit back again to make it 2-2 through Bogle with 10 to go, as Collins admitted he wouldn’t have been disappointed with the point at that stage, until Moncur sent the home fans into delirium.

He said: "It’s always disappointing when you concede straight after, but I can’t knock the back four too much and Sheasy, because we’ve got the best defensive record in the league.

"They’ve got good players, so I think that was just one those things and that’s why we’ve got a squad that we have, got players who can win us games when we need it.

“That’s why they’ve been up there the whole season, they've got players they can bring on and got a squad they can use and second half, they made a right good game of it.

"If I’m honest, at 2-2, I was thinking, 'I’d take it,' but when Moncs put that free kick in there wasn’t anyone happier than me.”

Not only did the result see Luton move five points clear of their south coast opponents, it also earned the Hatters revenge for a harsh opening day defeat 1-0 defeat at Fratton Park when they had easily been the better side.

Collins added: "For me personally, the first game of the season when they beat us 1-0, I didn’t really think that was a fair result.

"I thought we were the better side that day, and I think we were the better side again tonight.

"So credit to everyone involved with the football club as we’re really thriving at the minute and showing people what we can do."