13 May 2022

Luton boss Nathan Jones relishing ‘wonderful tie’ at Huddersfield after 1-1 draw

13 May 2022

Luton boss Nathan Jones is confident his side can go to Huddersfield and complete the job after the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final finished in a 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road.

The hosts had fallen behind after just 12 minutes to Danel Sinani’s low strike before captain Sonny Bradley levelled on the half hour with a close-range volley.

After the break, neither side could force a winner to leave the tie evenly poised heading into Monday’s second leg at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Jones said: “It’s the same job that we knew we had to do, it’s not like suddenly it’s impossible.

“We’ve come here, we haven’t lost the game and that was really, really important we didn’t lose the game.

“First half we were excellent, we should have got more from the half, but that’s the way it goes, and it’s a wonderful tie to go away at Huddersfield now.

“They were probably better in the second half without getting the chances, controlled possession in the middle of the field and we struggled to deal with that.

“We struggled to get to that press, but first half I thought we were electric, I really did.

“Front-footed, opportunities, we should have had a pen, should have had a sending off, all those things, (James) Bree had a chance, Harry Cornick’s had a chance, Henri Lansbury’s had a glorious opportunity, so I thought we were really, really on top, and a wonderful football game.

“Tactically both sides went at it and it just shows we’re a Championship side.”

The Terriers almost had a penalty inside 15 seconds when Bree impeded Harry Toffolo, but referee Rob Jones gave nothing.

Bree himself then had a drive touched over the bar by Lee Nicholls, but Huddersfield led after 12 minutes when Toffolo found Sinani who motored away on the right before drilling past Matt Ingram at his near post.

Luton managed to restore parity on the half hour though when a superb free-kick by Kal Naismith from the left was met on the volley by Bradley and diverted past Nicholls, who got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.

Jerome had huge shouts for a penalty turned down when he was dragged over by Naby Sarr in the box, while he also missed the target from 25 yards.

Jordan Clark almost made it 2-1 to the hosts after being picked out by Jerome’s pinpoint pass, but after the break chances were few and far between, with only Clark’s efforts from range going close.

A late strike from Pipa might have sent Huddersfield home with an advantage only to be blocked.

Visiting boss Carlos Corberan said: “I thought the draw was the fair result today.

“Luton were a little better than us in the first half, but I thought the team was excellent in the second half.

“Duane Holmes played wide on the pitch during the first half, so we switched his position to a more central one.

“I thought we controlled the ball in the second half, which is exactly what we wanted to do.”

“The second half makes me feel like this was a positive performance.

“Now we must focus on recovery, and being ready for another really tough game on Monday night.”

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