Jones frustrated with manner of performance and two refereeing decisions during Seagulls loss

Hatters chief felt third goal should have been disallowed

Saturday, 31st July 2021, 6:11 pm
Updated Saturday, 31st July 2021, 6:14 pm
Town boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones was frustrated with the manner of his side's performance and two refereeing decisions that went against the Hatters during their 3-1 pre-season friendly defeat against Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion this afternoon.

After a strong opening to the game, Town then fell behind when their makeshift back-line was cut open by Adam Lallana's pass, sending Aaron Connolly through to beat Simon Sluga.

It was 2-0 on 35 minutes as Enock Mwepu swept home, before Harry Cornick halved the deficit on the stroke of half time, firing past Robert Sanchez.

Midway through the second period, Percy Tau's solo run made it 3-1 to give the Seagulls a comfortable finale to the contest, as Jones said: "I'm a bit disappointed really as I felt it had all the hallmarks of an easy-osy pre-season game.

"When we played with aggression we looked a really good side, we started brilliantly for 10 minutes, we should have been one up, and then we just went easy-osy.

“Both sides conceded so many chances it could have been 5-5, but they showed a little bit more quality than we did in the final third.

"I’m more perturbed about the third goal as it just took the sting out of the game and then it didn't become an exercise that we needed, it became more about Brighton keeping the ball and became easy-osy because of the cushion.

"The mental shift from that was what really annoyed me and that’s the thing I didn't want to happen, because at 2-1 it's a close game, there's a real something on it it, and then we get a better test.

"But the last 25 minutes it wasn't really a test, even though we created chances after that, it wasn't really a test.

“These are a real good footballing side though and we showed that we can cause the team problems, but we've got to do the basics better.

"Credit to Brighton, Brighton were excellent.

"They showed what a good Premier League side they were and for us things to work on, but we have to work on that before the league starts."

The two main calls that Jones was annoyed about was a push on centre half Kal Naismith that went unpunished by official Graham Scott before Tau beat Dan Potts and Gabe Osho to score the crucial third goal.

He was also dismayed that a late penalty shout against summer signing Admiral Muskwe was turned down as well, adding: "I’ve been to the referee and no-one’s going to lose their job, no-one's going to lose points over today, but there was two big decisions that effectively took the sting out of the game.

“He got a big decision wrong and he also got the pen wrong and I couldn’t believe it.

"I've spoken to him, showed him and he agrees, but it’s just one of those things.

"In a league game you get those (foul on Naismith), because referee's don’t want the controversy of someone running clean in and scoring.

"It’s a clever little nudge, but it’s a nudge, the linesman is right in front of it, a clear nudge.

"Then the penalty is berserk, absolutely berserk how it hasn’t been given.

"It's lucky it's not a league game, but it's a learning curve that we have."