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Graeme Jones: Luton weren’t good enough to win

Luton boss Graeme Jones felt his side got what they deserved as they fell to a third successive defeat, going down 2-1 at home to Nottingham Forest.

Lewis Grabban and Sammy Ameobi were on target for the visitors, who appeared to be coasting to victory, until Callum McManaman pulled one back with three minutes remaining.

It was too little too late, however, and Jones did not pull any punches afterwards, saying: “I could easily hide behind 70 per cent possession and two offside goals disallowed – Kaz (Kazenga LuaLua) was unlucky, Callum scored a great goal – but I’m not going to.

“I was disappointed with the performance, the first time I’ve been really disappointed. The performance wasn’t good enough.

“It was a totally different challenge to the one we’ve had previously in the Championship. We had Nottingham Forest and we need to mark how far we’ve come at times.

“Former two-times European Cup winners, sit in and play on the counter attack at Luton and I think we struggled for craft and creativity to break that down.

“That’s the true assessment of today. Losing Izzy Brown so early didn’t help, we tried everything and it wasn’t enough.

“I haven’t seen the two disallowed goals back but we weren’t good enough to win, that’s the absolute truth.

“We were too passive, especially defensively. Goals that we could have avoided, and I can assure you we work at it. So I’m disappointed with one or two individuals today and that’s my assessment of the game.

“If you think about the last three games, the challenges are there for all to see, but we’ll stick our shoulders out and relish it.”

The visitors missed a wonderful opportunity after 12 minutes, Grabban firing wildly wide from 12 yards.

Town had a goal disallowed midway through the half when Dan Potts converted at the second attempt, only to be flagged offside.

Grabban did not miss by much from 20 yards while Luton’s best efforts came from range, with James Collins shooting straight at Brice Samba and then Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu hammering over the bar.

An injury to Town’s most creative outlet Izzy Brown saw him replaced by Kazenga LuaLua on the half hour, and Forest were in front after 39 minutes, Grabban racing clear to easily beat James Shea.

After the break, the visitors continued to dominate, Joe Lolley ghosting in at the far post to miss the target with his header.

Forest had a second after 58 minutes, Ameobi given time to turn and his deflected effort beating Shea.

Town tried to mount a fightback in the latter stages as first LuaLua’s shot was parried behind by Samba, before Forest were saved by the offside flag once more with Collins’ goal chalked off.

With three minutes left, Luton subsitute McManaman gave his side a sniff, beating Samba with an excellent bending effort.

There was to be no dramatic equaliser though, much to the relief of Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi.

He said: “After two losses and a bad moment, it was a good result. I’m so happy for the performance because we deserved the victory. We created a lot and we missed the last touch to score more in the first half.

“We had the right performance and attitude about the plan, so I’m so happy for the players. It was important because we lost our last games by just one mistake.

“We have quality but without this attitude, aggression and discipline, it’s a different game. So it’s good for the future.

“We found a way to disturb Luton a lot. They played with five at the back and we were so compact that we did not concede too much.

“I was especially pleased for Tobias Figueiredo as he hasn’t played two games in a row. Lewis created a lot and Joe Lolley and Ameobi worked a lot, so it was a great performance for everyone.

“After the games against Wigan and Hull I saw they were a little bit worried. So I said to them, ‘trust in me’, and they did. So that’s good for the club.

“We could have stopped the goal so we could have avoided those last four or five minutes.”