Luton chief left to rue Cornick's missed opportunity at Preston
Hatters boss Graeme Jones was left to rue striker Harry Cornick’s failure to take a golden late chance at Preston on Saturday as his side slipped to a 2-1 defeat.
With the game all square at 1-1 and inside the final 10 minutes, Cornick, who had replaced Callum McManaman shortly beforehand, burst clean through on goal after a slip by Preston midfielder Ben Pearson..
The 24-year-old has already shown his improved finishing credentials this term from similar situations, netting emphatically against Bristol City and Birmingham.
However, at Deepdale, he opted to go low and could only fire disappointingly against the outstretched left of Lilywhites keeper Declan Rudd, who diverted his attempt to safety.
To make matters worse, just a few moments later, Preston went up the other end to grab the winner through ex-Luton loan signing Jayden Stockley from close range, who had been on the pitch for eight minutes himself.
Speaking afterwards, Jones said: “On 80 minutes, Harry Cornick runs through to make it 2-1, Pelly (Mpanzu) had a good chance as it comes back to him and it’s a very different game and I think where we are the minute, that’s probably how it goes.
“He should have lifted it really, but everybody’s great in hindsight.
"I speak to Harry about a little feint and a check before, maybe he was just a bit predictable but it’s only Harry who can get in that position with his big long legs and his pace.
"That was the gameplan today, to be competitive, be in the game and get Harry on the pitch, maybe George (Moncur) on the pitch in the right circumstances.
"A save from Rudd is the difference in the game."
Team-mate James Collins, who had scored Town's equaliser from the penalty spot in the first half said: "He’s lightning quick Harry and he works really hard.
"He created his chance really well, on another day he puts it away, but unfortunately he didn’t.
"I think you’ve got to give the keeper credit as well, he’s made a great save for them at a vital time."
That was also the view of home boss Alex Neil, who saw his side climb to third in the table, as he added: "That’s big, big point, Luton are winning the game at that point, so that was a massive moment.
“The margins at this level are so fine and what you’ve got to try and do is find yourself on the right side of those margins more often than not, but that's not always easy."