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Boss Nathan Jones bemoans Luton’s defending in Stoke defeat

Hull City v Luton Town – Sky Bet Championship – KCOM Stadium
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Luton boss Nathan Jones was frustrated by his side’s defending after they fell to a first home league defeat of the season against his old side Stoke.

The Hatters had dominated the first half only to concede just 60 seconds into the second as Stoke’s summer signing Steven Fletcher opened his account for the club.

Nick Powell added a second 10 minutes later to put the visitors 2-0 in front and they held on despite coming under pressure in the closing stages.

Jones said: “That’s Championship football and the frustrating thing for me is it’s not like we don’t know what their threats are.

“I thought for the majority of the game we were excellent. First half we controlled the game superbly well and we looked a proper side.

“We lacked a little bit of cutting edge right at the final third, but apart from that I thought we dominated the game.

“Then, right after half-time we wanted to start the game well, we said about it and we conceded within a minute-and-a-half and it kills you.

“It’s not like it has come from an unbelievable source, Steven Fletcher’s been doing that for 80 years near enough, so that’s the real frustrating thing for us.

“Then we don’t compose ourselves, we lose headers, and to be fair they’re a big side, so we knew we were going to be stretched defensively.

“But we didn’t have any aggression, we didn’t react well enough and from a real positive performance, that controlled possession, shots, shots on target, we should have got more out of the game, but we didn’t as lapses have cost us.”

Although Town had the better of the first period, they found clear-cut chances hard to come by.

Elliot Lee hit the side-netting, Glen Rea shot wide from the edge of the box and Rhys Norrington-Davies saw an effort deflect narrowly over.

Fletcher then headed home Tyrese Campbell’s pinpoint cross in the 46th minute and Powell seized on some defensive hesitancy to make it 2-0 from close range.

Luton might have salvaged something from the game but Potters goalkeeper Adam Davies saved well from Harry Cornick and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in the second period, while Sam Clucas almost added a third late on for Stoke.

Potters boss Michael O’Neill said: “If we score twice every week and keep a clean sheet every week then we’re going in the right direction.

“It’s not going to happen like that, but today we’re pleased.

“I thought first half there wasn’t a lot in the game. I think we got a bit of a nearly performance and I said that to the players at half-time.

“Then, second half, the first 20 minutes I thought we were excellent. Obviously we had to defend later in the game, which is natural when you’re away from home and have a two-goal lead, but overall it was a good day for us. There were a lot of things to be positive about.

“I thought Luton have had a very good start to the season and they’ve shown why. We had to stand up to that and when we got the chances it was important that we took them, and we did.”