Keith Curle with his reaction to the Luton away drawManager Keith Curle gave us his reaction to the away draw at Luton shortly after full time on Saturday afternoon.
“I think that’s a game we should have won,” he said. “I don’t think it was a nervy encounter at all. Both teams went out there to express themselves and with licence to go and play football.
“We had the ascendency, so they changed their shape from what they’d been playing recently, and that’s because they were worried about us. If we’d been able to hold on to the lead for another five minutes or so they might have started to get edgy.
“We worked on getting Jason [Kennedy] in those areas and our initial thought was to get him on the inside shoulder of their left back Alan Sheehan. With any ball in that area Jason was going to be a threat, and he’s shown us a number of times this season that he’s very dangerous from a yard out!”
“We then had the best chance of the game in the latter stages after a good combination between Reggie Lambe and Tom Miller, and they got it back to Nicky Adams,” he continued. “At that point you’re thinking, go on, just lift it over the keeper and you’ve got yourself a goal.
“Nicky made good contact but it was a great save from the keeper. I thought he’d given their right back a torrid time right through the game because every time he got the ball he wanted to get at him.
“The pleasing thing is we saw effort, commitment and a willingness to fill in for unfamiliar roles right through the squad. It’s excellent that we were able to shuffle the pack and we were able to frustrate them with the way we played. They did get a few balls into our box but I don’t think Mark [Gillespie] was every really troubled. They didn’t really cut us open.”
Speaking about the late red card, which saw Michael Raynes dismissed with just under ten minutes left to play, he said: “To summarise all of the decisions, I thought the fourth official had an excellent game.
“He had a few words with Simon Tracey, who was also telling him he’d had an excellent game. I’ll need to look at the incident again before we decide whether or not to appeal. From what we saw the referee was waving play on and it was the linesman on the far side who had seen it.
“There were a few aerial challenges with arms being thrown around at various stages of the game, but nothing was said or given. There was also a lot of time added at the end but, on reflection, I think Luton were the more disappointed because they wanted to get off the pitch more than we did. We genuinely thought we were going to win the game.
“That showed with the way we kept breaking forward and we’d even have been happy with a couple of more minutes added on. I do have to point out; I don’t think it was a dirty or dangerous game with any intent at all.”
On the injuries to Danny Grainger and Mike Jones, he commented: “The lad fell on Mike awkwardly and he told us that he still had movement but there was a really strange feeling. He complained about a lack of power so we brought him off.
“It’s too early to say with Danny Grainger because he’s gone down holding the inside of his knee and he felt it was a little bit unstable. That can happen when a joint gets a shock or a collision but we’ve got fantastic medical staff and they’ll look after them properly. If it turns out they’re available, all well and good, but if they aren’t we’ve seen we can shuffle the pack to good effect.”
“If these players are missing it’s an opportunity for others to come in and perform,” he told us. “We have a very good squad and I’m not in a position where I’m actively waiting for the window to open. There’s no desperate need to go shopping because I’m very happy with what we’ve got.
“The good thing is we did our shopping early and I’m very happy with the players we brought into the football club. I still think there’s more to come from this group and some of those who haven’t featured are going to get their chance to step in.”
And on the importance of bouncing back after the disappointment of the cup exits last week, he said: “It was really important for us to put on a performance we could all feel happy with.
“I thought we started the game very well and the goal we scored put them on the back foot. We came here wanting it to be an entertaining encounter and that’s exactly how it turned out. We knew we’d have a lot of fans here and they were extremely vocal for us. They did us proud and I think we gave them plenty to feel pleased about.
“The way we finished the game showed the fitness levels and strength we have in this group. Even with ten men we were pushing to get the winner. We’re still in the top three after this round of results but there are going to be a lot of twists and turns between now and the end of the season. Every game will be another opportunity for us to progress but, as things stand, we’re in good shape.”
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