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Nathan Jones proud of his battling Hatters after final day win ensures survival

Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers – Sky Bet Championship – Kenilworth Road
(Image credit: Morgan Harlow)

Nathan Jones was full of pride after his Luton side secured their Championship status with a 3-2 home win over Blackburn.

Two first half own goals from the visitors and James Collins’ penalty secured the Hatters a second season in the second tier, climbing out of the drop zone on the final day of action to finish above Charlton and Birmingham.

Jones said: “I’m so proud of them, I’m devastated there was not a full house to see it as if there was, this would be one of the great, great nights at Kenilworth Road and I’m so proud to be manager of the club, that sums it up for me.

“It was weird as Blackburn went from pure football to the crazy gang of Wimbledon in the space of a minute.

“We had to show a real diversity that we could be organised, we could press, score goals and then compete.

“Matty Pearson came on when he should have been out for six weeks – but he wanted to see us over the line and that just shows the group we’ve got.

“An unbelievable group and an unbelievable night, I’m so proud of everyone involved.”

After Rovers led through Alan Armstrong’s 10th minute close range strike, Luton levelled on 28 when Hayden Carter headed James Bree’s free kick into his own net.

Blackburn midfielder Bradley Johnson then diverted a corner past goalkeeper Christian Walton on 35 minutes as Luton  moved 2-1 ahead.

The Hatters strengthened their grip on proceedings with an hour gone. Harry Cornick was felled by Jacob Davenport and James Collins slammed home the resulting penalty.

Although Sam Gallagher pulled a goal back with 15 minutes to go, Town clung on to pick up the three points which secured their status.

Rovers boss Tony Mowbray said: “We lost three goals again really, it’s almost a common thing, we have to toughen up, the flaws are there to be seen, we have to fix it.

“There’s plenty of good stuff, I don’t want to rubbish it all, there’s plenty of half decent football, but we can’t concede the goals we’ve been conceding.

“We can see what’s going on and being in so much control, then two set-plays let them back in, we huffed and puffed but not enough really, it was a disappointing night for us.”

He added: “I just think we have to mentally toughen up. I had a long chat with them about levels and standards we have to be at to get out of this league.

“Total respect to Luton, they battled and managed the game better than we did.

“It’s been an up and down season, we’ve had some amazing moments and some amazing performances and some days like today, the consistency levels haven’t been there.”