Alex Pike: Gosport will learn from ‘different class’ Luton Town

Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
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Alex Pike believes his Gosport Borough side will learn some valuable lessons after going down 5-2 to a slick Luton Town side.

After losing narrowly to Pompey on Saturday, Pike felt the standard of opposition went up a level as John Still fielded almost all of his newly-assembled first team after bringing in 10 recruits over the summer.

Their team included former Celtic man Paddy McCourt, ex-Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith and Danny Green, who joined from MK Dons, as well as ex-Blues loanee Dan Potts.

Pike said: ‘They were a different class and it was a big step-up.

‘I looked at their team and they had a £3m striker in Mackail-Smith and a midfielder who was playing for Celtic in the Champions League not so long ago.

‘I knew they were sending their first team so we did well to get back to 3-2 but then they went up a gear again.

‘I’ve told the players that they can learn from playing against opposition like that. They gave us a footballing lesson.

‘But we want these games. We want to test ourselves against this standard of opposition.

‘Thankfully, we won’t face anything like that in our league this season.

‘If we did, I would get a deckchair and resign!’

Luton, who had former Pompey boss Andy Awford in the dugout as part of the coaching staff, got off to a flying start with Green’s thunderbolt from long range leaving Nathan Ashmore with absolutely no chance with just five minutes on the clock.

Ashmore kept the visitors at bay with a series of good saves but he was powerless just beyond the midway point in the half.

Former Bournemouth man Josh McQuoid buried a header from close range after an inviting cross from the right flank.

With barely a minute on the clock in the second half, Borough got themselves back in the game.

Ben Harding broke into the Luton box to steer home.

But Luton then instantly restored their two-goal advantage.

Cameron McGeehan rifled home a penalty after Sam Pearce blocked a free-kick with his arm raised above his head.

Referee Keith Stroud then evened things up just past the hour mark – and was again right with his decision – as Steve McNulty committed a carbon copy offence to allow Justin Bennett to slot home from the spot to pull it back to 3-2.

But Luton always looked like they had an extra gear.

And McQuoid showed his prowess in front of goal once again with an angled drive for his second of the night.

Substitute Zane Banton then made it 5-2 with a deflected drive to leave Still satisfied with his team’s efforts.

The Luton boss said: ‘I thought Gosport kept going really well but I thought we were good on the night.

‘I hate pre-season and I don’t think the games tell a story for your season but both teams put on an entertaining game and got something out of it.’