Luton Town boss Nathan Jones felt his side only gave themselves 45 minutes to beat Newport County after a ‘lacklustre’ first half against their Welsh rivals at Kenilworth Road yesterday.
Going into the game on the back of a three match winning run, the hosts looked a shadow of the team who had triumphed at Oxford and Carlisle, with County the better side early on.
To their credit, Hatters did improve after the break, forcing Exiles keeper Joe Day into a number of saves and looked like they had won it when Jack Marriott headed home in the 81st minute.
However, visiting sub Souleymane Coulibaly nodded home to steal a point late on as an annoyed Jones said: “I’m disappointed, a little frustrated as well, but it’s one of those things that is symptomatic a little bit of our home form, our home points tally.
“I thought we were poor first half, we were lacklustre, we didn’t come out of the traps, didn’t press, didn’t impose ourselves and it was a bit of a non-event for us.
“Fair play to them, they came out and had a few chances, but saying that, we had three or four opportunities first half that we could have scored, good chances, but we didn’t.
“I thought we were poor first half, we were lacklustre, we didn’t come out of the traps, didn’t press, didn’t impose ourselves and it was a bit of a non-event for us.”Nathan Jones
“In terms of a performance level, it was nowhere near first half and I was very, very disappointed as theoretically we gave ourselves 45 minutes to win a football match as we didn’t turn up first half.”
Jones admitted he got stuck into his players during the break, although was disappointed that it neeeded his input to improve the overall display.
The boss continued: “I couldn’t wait to get them off as I just felt we were nowhere near, but it shouldn’t take me to get into them at half-time, they should want to do that.
“I know sometimes that’s what I’m here for, that’s my job, but at home, we haven’t at times started and I know sides sit in and frustrate us but I’ve said, that’s going to happen and we need to handle that.
“But I just felt we were lacklustre, had no energy about us. Second half we came out and could have scored straight away from kick off, had some chances, the keeper’s made some fine saves and so on but we need to be a little bit more clinical in our finishing as I think we’ve had enough.
“They had one or two chances as well so I’m not saying it was all one-sided as it wasn’t, but we needed to be better.”
Jones did praise the Hatters fans for playing their part in the second half as they tried to lift their team, but the boss is aware it must be the other way round at times.
He added: “When we’re here, we need to give the fans something to get behind and first half I was disappointed.
“The fans have got behind us on their away journeys in their numbers, fans have done fantastically well, but at times here we’ve not given them that.
“Second half we did, and when we upped the tempo and when we press and we do what we can do very well, then the fans get behind it.”