Hatters midfielder Luke Gambin was more than happy to be put on the spot and win his side an extra bonus point against Tottenham Hotspur’s U21s on Tuesday evening.
The attacker stepped up with Luton 3-2 ahead in the new ABBA style system and coolly sent Brandon Austin the wrong way to seal Town’s group stage triumph.
I was straight away ‘give me one,’ so I can have a chance to get a goal, I wanted one, got one, scored one, so I was happy.Luke Gambin
Speaking afterwards, Gambin admitted the new rules had taken him by surprise a little too, as he said: “I wasn’t really aware of that, until it happened and I saw two of them went up for the penalty.
“Johnny Mullins was informing me as it was going, but it was all right, nice to score a penalty, everyone scored, so it was good.
“If there’s one going, I’m definitely going to take one and I knew the strikers were going to want one.
“I was straight away ‘give me one,’ so I can have a chance to get a goal, I wanted one, got one, scored one, so I was happy.
“Penalties is all mental, it was nice to score at Kenilworth Road and their fans were a bit chirpy behind the goal but that’s all part of football and why we love it.”
It wasn’t just from the spot where Gambin enjoyed success too as he opened the scoring on 19 minutes, firing home with his weaker right foot.
He continued: “To get out there on the pitch was brilliant and to get the goal as well, right foot, I’m happy about that, as everyone bangs on to me about my right foot, so that was good.
“I loved getting out there playing football, really enjoyed it as I’ve been looking forward to playing.”
With Spurs entering their U21s into the tournament for the first time this season, on how he felt the youngsters did, Gambin said: “It will be a challenge for them and I thought they were good.
“It was a competitive game, probably nice for them to come here, play against some older players, have that competitive feel.
“I thought they moved the ball very well, they’re all confident lads, young boys, they gave us a game, a good entertaining game.
“It was open, but I’m delighted all the boys are delighted and it was positive to win it and get that extra point on penalties.”
After Gambin had put the Hatters in front, Spurs hit back well with a number of their young stars catching the eye to take the lead, only for Josh McQuoid’s leveller to make it 2-2 and force the shootout.
The ability to fight back impressed Gambin too, as he added: “It was good for us to get back straight to it, get a goal back and go equal.
“It just shows the mentality of the boys and the squad here is good, so it’s positive.
“I thought the team were good, we played well, started off well, had a few chances, it was good to see Danny Hylton playing 45 and James Justin.
“We had a few chances at the start, were a bit sloppy at times, went in at half time, got a bit of telling off, just to sharpen up, then went out second half and it was disappointing to get knocked back so quick.
“But the reaction from the team just shows that games like that, even when you’re not starting on a Saturday, we all put it in.
“We got a goal back and the mentality of all the players involved to try and get the job done was good.
“We dug deep to the end, went to penalties, put the pens away and to get the business done is good.
“There were some good performances, stuff to work on, but it was a good performance, the mood’s good and hopefully the boys can take that on Saturday and get a good result.”