Luton boss Nathan Jones was left beaming with pride after his side battled back from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 at Kenilworth Road.
Josh Windass’ double had seen the Owls leading at the break as the strugglers appeared to be on their way to a welcome three points until Town hit back in the second period thanks to goals from Kal Naismith, Ryan Tunnicliffe and new striker Elijah Adebayo.
Jones said: “To a man second half they were outstanding, I don’t think they had a shot on target whereas first they could have had a hundred, literally could have had a hundred.
“It was just such a chalk and cheese performance, the levels went up, the basics went up, every single thing went through the roof and I’m just so happy and proud.
“A few years ago I would have gone in ranting and raving (at half-time) and not made a clinical decision and we wouldn’t have got the game back, but I’ve learned as a manager, I’m growing as a manager.
“I didn’t say too much to the players actually because we had about 10, 12 minutes in the manager’s office where we thought calm and collectively about what is going to turn this around.
“We deliberated and deliberated, went right to the wire really and then came out with those changes, with that personnel and then second half was just categorically different from what we got first half.”
It had looked like the Owls were going to romp to a simple victory in the first period, as Windass opened the scoring after six minutes, finishing off Calum Paterson’s cross from close range following a mistake in the Town back-line.
He then missed a one-on-one when going clean through on keeper Simon Sluga, but made amends two minutes before half-time, firing into the top corner.
Luton made three changes at the break and were back in it after 52 minutes through Naismith’s neat finish from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s corner.
Tunnicliffe then made it 2-2 with his first goal of the season, converting Adebayo’s cross after 58, before the Hatters won it with four minutes left, Adebayo rising highest to head home Harry Cornick’s pinpoint delivery.
A stunned Owls caretaker boss Neil Thompson admitted: “It was probably as well as we’ve played first half.
“We created chances, lots of them, got a great reaction from midweek which is what we wanted, showed a lot of energy, probably should have been more than two up.
“They’ve upped their tempo, but it was a bit of a stop-start beginning to the second half, we couldn’t get into any rhythm, but that’s no excuse, you’ve still got to track runners and deal with balls in the box.
“One of the goals is a corner which they’ve worked well and two of the goals we should have possession in their half of the pitch and we didn’t and got punished.
“I always give everyone a well done at half-time when they’ve had a good half, we speak about ‘they’re going to come at us, they’re going to make changes’, they did that and we weren’t able to cope with it.
“You need to do the basics right, that’s what we’ve got to do and we didn’t do that second half.”
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