I sympathise – Stoke City boss reacts to late and hugely costly equaliser at Luton Town



Michael O’Neill said he had some sympathy for defender James Chester – and the rest of his players – after the defender gave away a 90th minute penalty in today’s 1-1 draw at Luton.

Stoke appeared to have the points in the bank after taking an early first-half lead when Sam Vokes diverted Tommy Smith’s shot past the Luton keeper.

Tom Ince had chances in either half to add to Stoke’s lead, but it wasn’t to be.

And, despite some stout defending an offside flag denying Luton an earlier equaliser, they were to pay in the 90th minute when James Collins sank a penalty following James Chester’s reckless challenge on Callum McManaman.

“It seems fairly innocuous at the time, though I haven’t seen it back,” said O’Neill.

“There didn’t look much in it. It’s one of those where the player has come from behind him, possibly got a toe to the ball, but  I don’t think there was very much in it, though I’m not speaking with any great detail at this minute.

“I’ve got loads of sympathy with the team. We knew we’d have to defend a lot in the second half, and we did.

“It’s just a bit disappointing thing is that we could have been a bit better, a bit more potent on the counter attack.

“We had a good chance after they score as well when Jordan Cousins crosses and the defender just gets in front of Lee Gregory.

“Over the week, it would have been lovely to come and get the three points, but it hasn’t been the case and now we just have to move on to next week.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold out and I felt that over the piece we deserved more than the one point.

“A point away from home is always something to take, but it just doesn’t feel like that at this moment in time.

“But everyone is pulling in the right direction and we have seen that again this week.”





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