Graeme Jones admits he thought it was going to be ‘one of those days’ as his Luton Town side toiled without really testing Stoke City .
He suggested his players looked for the most part like they were running in quicksand against a team – although now fourth from bottom – he was keen to list off qualities including international experience and knowhow.
But Callum McManaman won a 90th minute penalty after Luke Bolton had outstripped Bruno Martins Indi and James Collins stuck it past Jack Butland to cancel out Sam Vokes’ opener.
“Yes it did (look like it was going to be one of those days), but we never gave in, not with these lads and Stoke are a very experienced Championship side,” said Jones, who had played with Michael O’Neill at Wigan Athletic.
“You look at their group of players and their ages and their 11 men on the pitch, who have got a lot of knowhow, with international experience – I can go through their team if you need me to. So they should be able to control certain moments.
“We were treading in quicksand for large parts of the game, I think Tuesday night really took its toll physically, I didn’t see the spark we had physically – but in those situations, the key for us is to get something out of it.
“I was speaking to the boys before Christmas about us needing to accumulate points and that’s what we have done today. We have managed to nick a point that might be enough at the end of the season.”
Bolton and McManaman were thrown on in the closing stages as Luton chased a potentially vital equaliser.
Jones said: “With the greatest respect to Martin Cranie, he is a fantastic player, but one-v-ones are not really his strength and I have seen a lot of players funnelled out wide and then it went to Martin and we had to come back.
“I made the substitution because I wanted Luke’s one-v-one quality, because it was just bottlenecking. In the end, he was the one who got the one-v-one, the half-a-yard, he crosses the ball in the box and we get a penalty from it.”