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The gaffer's assessment of this afternoon's 1-1 draw with Sunderland

11 August 2018

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Hatters boss Nathan Jones declared himself satisfied with a point from today’s game with Sunderland, after Matty Pearson’s second-half equaliser got the Town on the scoreboard for the first time this season.

The Welshman said: “I’m reasonably happy with it because it gets us on the board. We’ve bounced back from an undeserved defeat last week and up against probably the biggest club in the league, and I thought we acquitted ourselves very well.

“I thought it was a quite even game. The second part of the first half they really came into it and tested us, got their goal. But then we came right out of the traps and I thought in the second half we were excellent.

“It was probably a fair result, and I’m pleased because they are a good side. They’ve got a lot of good players and they’ve got what used to happen to us last year, where people used to say about our budget. We were probably just slightly bigger than some others, whereas Sunderland have got a big, big budget. Still, it’s a difficult job for them, but I’m pleased with the point.”

Jones was delighted with how his side responded to going a goal down to Josh Maja’s strike on the stroke of half-time.

“We showed we’ve got a lot of character, but we’ve got to learn quickly,” said Jones. “We haven’t kept a clean sheet yet and we’ve conceded two out of pretty much nothing, because teams at this level have got more quality.

“We saw that with the ball and the run and the finish. They showed that they have real threats and if you have a look through their side; Oviedo played in the World Cup, Matthews went for millions from Cardiff to Celtic, he’s an international. They’ve just bought Max Power.

“They’ve got a great squad and they’ll take some beating. But I felt we matched them for long periods. There was a 20-minute period first half where they were better than us. Not many do that to us, but they did, and then second half I felt we were the better side and deserved our point.”

The Town were roared on by over 9,000 Hatters in a capacity crowd of 10,059, and the manager wants these occasions to become regular fixtures at Kenilworth Road – not just one-offs.

“We want these games to become the norm,” he said. “We want to keep moving forward, keep building and keep developing. I thought the Sunderland crowd were magnificent as well today, they travelled down in their numbers, shows what a quality club they have.

“But we showed our class again. Our fans clapped us off because they know the shift we’ve put in, they know where we are and they know that to compete with these sides is a massive thing, but it’s brilliant.

“A couple of years ago Luton were going to Barrow and places like that, and now we are playing Sunderland and going to the Stadium of Light. We’ve come a long way and we are going to keep developing and keep moving forward, because that’s a big result today.”

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