Luton chief hails '˜Premier League' display from Seagulls keeper Steele
Hatters boss Nathan Jones felt his side would have racked up a hefty win against Brighton U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night had it not been for a '˜Premier League' display from visiting keeper Jason Steele.
The 28-year-old has been a regular in the Championship for Sunderland and Middlesbrough earlier in his career, before moving to the Seagulls in the summer.
Although beaten by Aaron Jarvis early on, Steele then produced a string of outstanding saves, none better than the one to keep out Arthur Read in the first half, to ensure his side somehow only went down 2-1 on the night.
Jones said: “I thought we were excellent from start to finish.
“Our attitude, our intensity, the way we moved the ball, the chances we created, barring for a Premier League goalkeeping display it would have been a lot more comfortable.
“We started really well, created chances, hit the bar, the keeper made some top, top notch saves but I know who his goalkeeping coach is so I didn’t expect anything less.
“It needed something brilliant or lucky to beat the keeper tonight, as quite frankly he was outstanding.
“The one that took a deflection in the first half, was going at a real velocity, but he’s changed direction and made a save.
“He’s a Premier League keeper and without him it would have been a lot more because he was excellent.
“Aaron Jarvis could have had a hat-trick, we had great opportunities and 25 chances in the game, shows we’re dominant.
“We’re disappointed we couldn’t kill the game off earlier, but a win’s a win.”
Hatters sent 25 attempts at Steele’s goal during the course of the 90 minutes, with only Jarvis and Jorge Grant’s deflected attempt getting the better of him.
Jones continued: “We were totally dominant in the possession we had and the chances we had.
“It wasn’t until the second half that they had anything on target, and I was very pleased with our performance and the attitude of everyone, how we went about it.
“It turned into a good game, we had a bit of everything that we needed in terms of a physical runout and then at the end we had to defend our box which we didn’t have to do for much during the 93 minutes.
“But at the end we did and it had a bit of everything, so we’re delighted with the win and I’m delighted with the performance.”
Although up against an U21 side, Town’s average age was just under 24 too, as they fielded the likes of Arthur Read, Harry Isted and Lloyd Jones.
Jones added: “Technically, it was an U23 side as you’re allowed to play three players over 23 and we only had three in terms of Macca (Alan McCormack), Eunan (O’Kane) and Sheeze (Alan Sheehan), as the rest were a young side.
“It’s a young, fresh side, the trouble is, when we look at it, they’re first team players and because we like playing young players here, it seems like it’s a really strong side, but that was a young side.
“It’s wonderful for the squad as we believe in young players, so I was really delighted.”