Mpanzu: Match-winner Collins had 'ice in his veins' to come off the bench and score
Striker praised for his first touch decider
Hatters midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu labelled striker James Collins as having ‘ice in his veins’ after the forward came off the bench to score with his first touch to secure a quite magnificent 1-0 victory over staunch rivals Watford yesterday.
With just 12 minutes remaining, the hosts were awarded a penalty by referee Gavin Ward after strike Elijah Adebayo was clattered by keeper Daniel Bachmann.
The forward came off worse in the challenge, unable to continue, meaning Collins was called upon to come off the bench and with his first touch of the ball, sending Bachmann the wrong way to score what turned out to be the only goal of the contest.
Speaking afterwards, Mpanzu said: “That’s why he has ice in his veins.
"He’s ready, he practices them every single week, so there was no doubt in his mind he was going to put it in.
"I trust Collo to score, if he missed, he missed, but he’s got the nerve to come up and slot that in.”
The win was Town’s first over the Hornets on home soil since 1993, and it was completely deserved, the Hatters on the front foot from the opening minute, and never once letting their intensity drop throughout the contest.
They should have led at the break, with Mpanzu missing the best opportunity, blazing over the top, while Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Sonny Bradley went close, as their promotion-chasing opponents just couldn't handle Town's desire to win on the day.
It was left to Collins to step up and secure the three points in the end, as summing up a truly brilliant team display, Mpanzu continued: "It’s a great day for us, for the fans, we knew what we had to do today, press them from high, give them no space and it was a great first half.
"We bossed them around the pitch, we had chances to score, I could have scored, a couple of chances at the back post too.
"Thankfully we got the 1-0 in the end, Collo came, ice in his veins and put it away.
“Me, Kiernan, Bez (Luke Berry) in midfield, Sonny dominated at the back along with Matty (Pearson), everyone.
"Breesy (James Bree), the whole team, Elijah was great upfront, and Kaz (Kazenga LuaLua) kept beating his man, so it was an all-round performance and a clean sheet for the boys which was deserved.”
The only thing missing for the midfielder was a packed house to roar the hosts on to victory, as he added: “It would have been rocking, 10, 11,000 in here, it would have been madness.
"Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, hopefully they were watching at home, or listening on the radio, but hopefully they were proud of the performance.”