Football: Douglas stands tall for Luton

Click to follow
The Independent Online
STUART DOUGLAS epitomised the spirit of a battling Luton side trying to retrace the steps of their former glories.

While Phil Gray emerged the hero on Tuesday with an 81st-minute Worthington Cup fourth-round winner over Barnsley, diehard Douglas just about came out of the game unscathed.

Douglas was knocked from pillar to post against a physical Tykes side, with four Barnsley players picking up bookings for fouls on the 20-year- old striker.

The Hatters' manager, Lennie Lawrence, has his side playing with a one- for-all, all-for-one attitude - with no one doing more than Douglas to live up to such a creed.

Now in his fourth season at Kenilworth Road, Douglas is currently enjoying his best campaign at the club with seven goals to date, having managed just two previously.

Two of those strikes have come in the Worthington Cup in which Luton are now just two rounds away from a return to Wembley, having won the old Littlewoods Cup in 1988 before losing in the final 12 months later - and Douglas can see no reason why they cannot go all the way again.

"[Tuesday] night was a tough game," he said. "Barnsley are a very physical side but we dug deep again. There is a good, strong team belief at this club. We are playing well together, we are battling for each other and we got the result we deserved.

"As for myself, I'm surprised more of their players weren't booked. I took my share of knocks but I got up and carried on. Everyone gets bumps and bruises.

"I'll be OK and raring to go for the quarter-final. Hopefully we can get a good team and get another great result."

The only goal of the game was tough luck on Barnsley as their goalkeeper, Tony Bullock, was wrong-footed by Gray's shot which took a deflection off Chris Morgan.

It was the Northern Ireland international's seventh this season - joining Douglas and Steve Davis as the club's leading scorers - and came against his former club, having spent three games on loan at Oakwell during the 1989-90 season.

It also ensured Gray's continued rise in the eyes of the Luton fans following a torrid time last season, when an injury following his move from Sunderland led to him scoring just two goals in 17 League games.

Hull City may have sacked their manager, Mark Hateley, in an effort to rebuild the club, but the results remain the same for the League's bottom side.

The Tigers were on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline against Brighton at Boothferry Park on Tuesday, even though the Seagulls played for more than half an hour with nine men.

City defender Warren Joyce was in charge of team affairs for the Third Division match, but Richard Barker put Brighton ahead after only six minutes, before Gary Hart hit a second on the half-hour.

Brighton had Ross Johnson sent off for two yellow cards on 52 minutes, with Andy Arnott following him for serious foul play four minutes later, but the nine men hung on for victory. The win was Brighton's fourth away League success in a row.