Harford never seen anything like Luton’s first-half performance against Portsmouth

Mick Harford revealed he’d never seen a first-half performance like Luton’s in their victory over Pompey.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 10:24 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:48 pm
Pompey concede the opening goal against Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett’s men lost ground in the League One title race after slipping to a 3-2 loss at the Hatters last night.

Luton dominated the opening 45 minutes and conjured up salvo after salvo. 

The Blues stood firm until two minutes before half-time when James Collins finally broke the deadlock.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Pompey shuffled their pack at the interval, with debutant Omar Bogle and Dion Donohue being introduced off the bench for Brett Pitman and Gareth Evans.

It sparked a superb second-half response from the visitors, with Ronan Curtis and Bogle scoring.

However, George Moncur’s late free-kick meant Jackett’s side returned to Fratton Park empty-handed.

As a result, leaders Luton moved five-points clear of the Blues in the title race – although they have played a game more.

And Harford hailed the Hatters’ display.

The interim manager told Luton Today: ‘I’m very happy indeed, as you can see at the end with the celebrations we had with the players and the fans.

‘I’ve got to take my hat off to the players, they’ve been absolutely brilliant since I took over the interim role and you saw in the first half, what a performance, a performance at that level which I’ve never seen in my entire career.

‘They were absolutely superb in the first half and the game should have been out of sight in all fairness.

‘But fair credit to Portsmouth, they hung in well, defended well, defended their box well, they got everything behind the ball and we couldn’t break them down for the second or the third goal.

‘They’ve come out second half and given us a real good game, and for me it just really, really showed the character amongst the boys here.

‘We know of the talent of the bunch, but the character absolutely shone out.’

Despite Pompey improving significantly in the second period, Harford reckons Luton deserved three points.

He added: ‘On a tricky pitch, on a strange evening when it was snowing, it wasn’t easy to play that style of football, but they just got on with it.

‘They adapted, found themselves spaces, got into great positions and it could have been any scoreline and the opposition wouldn’t have been against that in terms of how we played and what we did.

‘But 1-0 at half time, we didn’t really start the second half very well, sat a bit deep, a few gaps and they exploited it, fair play to them.

‘They got back in the game and I think Sheasy (James Shea) made a great save, at one each, unbelievable save and we went on.

‘Overall I think it was a fair result in terms of the way the game panned out.’