The gaffer reflects on a great quarter-final win
Hatters boss Nathan Jones praised his side for a “scintillating” attacking display as a 5-2 win over his former club Yeovil Town tonight at Kenilworth Road booked a semi-final spot in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Isaac Vassell scored twice and Jordan Cook, Alan Sheehan and Danny Hylton one each (despite the gaffer forgetting his top scorer had netted goal number 15 of the season in his post-match interview!) as the Glovers were put to the sword.
Jones said: “We are delighted to have got through to the semi-final. It was a big game for us tonight, especially as well from the weekend when we felt we were not so much robbed, because we robbed ourselves with not scoring the pen, but we wanted to get a bit of a lift and tonight was perfect.
“Going forward I thought we were excellent. We made hard work of it for ourselves really, because the only way they were going to score was from a punt into the box and anything second ball or a header. But going forward I thought at times we were scintillating.
“If we’d been a bit more clinical first half it would have been a bit more comfortable, but we got the goal from Jordan Cook – who is playing well – and my front two were a real threat. They are a threat every time they play.
“They were tonight and I was really pleased that they were on the front foot. We just made it a little bit hard work for ourselves. We got the second and they pulled one back, then we got the third and they pulled one back.
“Luckily we didn’t allow them to settle into the game. As soon as they scored, we scored – it was just a tinge of disappointment in how we handled the big fella they brought on.
“But I want to concentrate on the positives because I thought going forward we were a real force, we were excellent, and we could have had more.”
The Welshman selected his strongest team of the competition so far for the last eight tie, and he explained: “When you get to the quarter-final stage, you do look forward. It was the only time we have looked forward in terms of, ‘What can we do with it?’.
“It’s just circumstances a lot – Danny is coming back from a suspension, so that’s why he played. Johnny Mullins and Sheehan have been out, so they needed a game and that’s why they played. Then we made other changes around the team and did freshen it up a bit.
“But Yeovil are a threat and we’ve played them twice since I’ve been here and we’ve drawn both games 1-1. They are a hard-working, difficult to play against and I wanted to make sure that we won the game. I didn’t take the game lightly.
“We have the strength of squad that we can freshen the side up a little bit and rotate, and that proved tonight. I’m delighted because as a manager I’ve never got to a semi-final. I’ve only been managing a year but it’s my first semi-final.”
Awaiting the Hatters on Wednesday 1st March in the one-legged semi at Kenilworth Road are last season’s finalists Oxford United, who were promoted from League Two last term.
“Hopefully it will be a wonderful occasion because it’s one game from Wembley,” added Jones. “Now it gets down to the nitty gritty, the business end of it – as we are at the business end of the league as well. It’s a good time for us.”