Hatters striker Danny Hylton had one crumb of comfort from last night’s 3-2 defeat to former side Oxford United in the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final, as he reached 20 goals for the campaign for the first time in his career.
The 28-year-old forward has never hit the magic number during his 11 years as a professional, but did so when diverting Glen Rea’s header from Alan Sheehan’s corner past Simon Eastwood.
He said: “It is my best season now, 20 goals, my best previously to that was 16 and there’s still 13 games to go.
“I don’t get too caught up in ‘I’ve got to score, I’ve got to score,’ I just try and bring something to the team where I can, but thankfully I’ve been scoring.
“I’m delighted I’m on 20 and I want to keep trying to score more.”
Hylton has had spells with Oxford, Rotherham, AFC Wimbledon, Bury and Aldershot previously, and when asked what has changed while being at Kenilworth Road to finally attain the milestone, he continued: “I’m the one who goes out there, but I’ve got players on the pitch, I’m not saying I haven’t before, but good players in the team who can get their head up and they can find good passes.
I’m delighted I’m on 20 and I want to keep trying to score more.Danny Hylton
“It’s credit to the gaffer and the staff too, they’ve been great with me, worked with me every day on tighter runs, where we should be be, movement in the box and thankfully it’s paying off.
“People are making unselfish runs too, they might not score, but it gives space to other players and I think I’ve benefited from that.”
The striker became Town’s first player to 20 goals in a Football League season since Steve Howard managed it back in 2004-05, as boss Nathan Jones said: “I’m delighted for Danny to get 20 as it’s a big milestone for any striker and we’ve still 13 games to go yet.”
Hylton’s goal when it came looked like it had completed Luton’s fight back, as with just seven minutes remaining, it made the scores 2-2, after the hosts had trailed 2-0.
The striker admitted he thought it would be enough to force penalties at the very least, saying: “I thought that will be it now, 2-2. I thought they’d have a little bit of possession but I really fancied us to get another chance or lock the door, it would go to penalties and you never know what’s going to happen then.
“But it wasn’t to be, and I’m gutted for the lads as we did well to get back into the game.”
However, Marvin Johnson broke Town’s hearts moments later with a superb finish from a short corner routine, but Hylton felt the goal had been entirely avoidable, saying: “It was a great strike, I do think it could have been prevented.
“We know he’s left footed, know he’s got a great strike, so maybe just keep him off it but fair play to him.
“We switched off and it’s killed us again, especially in such a big game with a big carrot at the end.
“We can’t keep switching off on those little details, they matter and it did today. So we’ve got to man up and try and stop them happening again.”
Hytlon had been desperate to play at Wembley for the second successive season, but now that ambition has ended, hopes his old club beat Coventry City in the final next month.
He added: “The boys are down, I’ve said before, last season, Wembley final was the best day of my career by a million miles, for me and my family.
“I said to them, the other boys who haven’t been there, lets try and not waste this opportunity.
“Oxford they’re a good team, so fair play to them, they pass it round well, it wasn’t meant to be.
“I spoke to a few of them, said to them after the game I was gutted, but I hope they go on and win it now.
“I had a fantastic two years there, still got some friends there that I’m close to. I would have loved to have beaten them and got there, but now they’re there I hope they go on and win it.”