Moncur: Latics winner just edges out Pompey strike

Luton match-winner George Moncur was getting that similar Portsmouth feeling once more when he scored his dramatic late winner against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 8:56 am
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 8:57 am
George Moncur celebrates his winner against Wigan on Saturday
George Moncur celebrates his winner against Wigan on Saturday

The 26-year-old had been Town’s hero back in January when, then in League One, he stepped up to curl a late free kick into the net at a snowy Kenilworth Road to beat Pompey 3-2 and send Hatters five points clear at the summit.

This time, in the Championship, he was at it again, albeit from open play, reacting first to find the bottom corner with just 15 seconds of stoppage time left after Ryan Tunnicliffe’s cross dropped invitingly for him.

He said: “It’s unbelievable and reminded me of the Portsmouth goal as it was near the end.

“I think this one was a bit later actually, the ball fell to me lovely to be fair, I just managed to not panic and slot it in far corner.

“I thought the three points were definitely deserved, all the boys did so well, I’m so happy with the goal and for the team.”

On what his favourite moment of the two had been, Moncur continued: “I don’t know, maybe I’d say this one because the timing is now isn’t it.

“But if you’d have asked me back then I’d probably say Portsmouth, so it’s one of them.”

The former West Ham and Barnsley players’ celebration was one to behold as well, ripping his shirt off and hurling it into the nights’ sky before setting on a near naked sprint around Kenilworth Road.

He said: “I tried to run the clock down a little and also get my GPS miles up on the monitor as I’ve not really played for a while and needed to get them in.”

Moncur had missed a few opportunities to add to his scrapbook off free kicks before then, but couldn’t quite beat the wall on this occasion.

He will go back to the drawing room now, saying: “I’ve been in the cold with them a bit as I’ve not really played that much.

“I need to get back on the practice field and do them a lot as I used to do it all the time.

“I do like the one around the wall but I keep catching them a little bit too low.

“I go for that mid height and I keep catching it on top of the ball, hopefully it will come back to me if I keep working on it.”

The goal will see Moncur’s stock with Town fans rise even further, as huge cheers from the stands greeted his arrival on to the pitch when replacing Andrew Shinnie with an hour gone.

When asked about the ovation, Moncur said: “It’s nice to know that people want to watch you play.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played here, so it was lovely to hear them signing my name.

“It’s what every footballers wants, it’s better than getting slated.

“So it’s really nice and pleasing that people want to watch you and see you play.”

Manager Graeme Jones who hasn’t used Moncur in recent weeks, knows that to stay in the squad, the midfielder must keep on working on defensive responsibilities.

He added: “In George’s case, I’ve never doubted George’s ability, but in this league, if you’re not switched on off the ball, we’ve all seen what can happen.

“That’s been the only question mark with George as physically he’s fine, mentally he’s an absolute dream, technically you’ve seen his natural talent, it’s just the off the ball stuff.

“He’s still a work in progress, but you can get to work more with them now, the fact that he’s playing in the team.

“International breaks have been quite significant with him as we’ve been able to work with him off the ball, as there’s no U23s or reserve team here, so it’s very, very difficult to put it into practice.

"Even within his role on Saturday when he came on the pitch, he had two different positions to play and he adapted really, really well, so it was satisfying."