Hatters boss Nathan Jones berated his side for going out of the FA Cup with what he felt was a whimper at Accrington Stanley yesterday.
The Luton chief saw Sean McConville scored a stunning strike after mistakes from Stephen O’Donnell and Olly Lee in the first half, while although Jake Gray levelled early in the second period, Omar Beckles’ quickly restored an advantage that Stanley kept hold of to reach round four.
We should have got something from the game, clearly, but we went out with a whimper, we really did.Nathan Jones
Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “I’m so disappointed, so disappointed. There was nothing in the game in the first half.
“Fair play to them, it was a great strike, but it was avoidable.
“When we came out in the second half and had a little bit of a go, we were the better side. We got in, two or three times, we had one-on-one chances but, for me, it’s just disappointing.
“It’s an FA Cup tie but we didn’t show like a top side in this division that really wanted to win a cup tie. That’s the thing I’m disappointed about.
“We should have got something from the game, clearly, but we went out with a whimper, we really did.”
After publicly criticising both O’Donnell and Lee for giving possession away in the build-up to the first goal, Jones wasn’t happy with Josh McQuoid for allowing goalscorer McConville to get the ball on to his right foot and cross for Beckles’ winner either.
He continued: “We came out, we had a number of chances, then we got back into the game, brilliant.
“And then suddenly, the right-footed winger, who’s put one in the top bin, first half, is allowed to cut inside and put a ball in our box that they can score from.
“It’s just naïve defending. After that, we’ve had enough chances to have got something from the game to take it to at least a replay, but we weren’t clinical enough.”
Sub Jack Marriott, who looked lively from the moment he came on, had two golden opportunities to score for the Hatters, through one-on-one.
Although the first miss eventually saw Gray netting the rebound, Marriott was then denied an equaliser by home keeper Aaron Chapman late on.
Jones continued: “If you’re one-on-one you’re favoured, so you should score. In terms of the first one he had, the keeper saved it but Jake Gray scored from the rebound.
“But the second one is an opportunity to take it to a replay at least or to have a barnstorming finish and we didn’t take it, but that’s the way it is.
“It’s disappointing because we’ve gone out of the cup. We wanted to stay in but we’ll regroup now. We’ve got another cup game on Tuesday, then we’ll regroup and, ultimately, the cliché is we’ll concentrate on the league.”
Glen Rea also came close, slicing wide of the target, but Jones ultimately felt that even if Luton had forced a replay, he wouldn’t have been satisifed with the display from his side.
He added: “I praise my team on regular occasions and I tell them how proud I am.
“Today was a poor performance for me all over. We could have got a draw, or could have nicked it, but that doesn’t mask a performance like that from a few individuals.
“The problem was, we were just nowhere where we needed to be in possession, especially in the first half. When we did have a go, we were the better side but we just couldn’t score.
“We missed chances and I’m just disappointed with the level and type of goals that we’ve conceded because they’re avoidable. It’s just sloppiness in what we do.”