James Collins
James Collins celebrates after scoring the only goal in Luton’s 1-0 away win against Barnsley. Photo: Luton Town Football Club

It doesn’t matter how you win as long as you win. That was certainly the case on Saturday as Luton Town opened their EFL Championship season with all three points, beating Barnsley 1-0 at the Oakwell. After a magical 16 minutes, last Saturday saw Luton run out 3-1 winners in the Carabao Cup over Norwich, the real meat and potatoes of the season began this weekend. And once again, it was James Collins who showed why he might be the best striker in the Championship with a cool finish on 71 minutes.

In a stark contrast from last season’s opening day where gung-ho style football ruled the roost, Saturday’s win was a much more gritty affair with limited chances. Sure 3-3 games (like the Middlesborough encounter in question) are much more enjoyable for the neutral, but as a fan, I will gladly take 46 gritty 1-0 wins; thank you very much, especially when you have a striker with the quality of James Collins.

The Irish international had two chances all day, and while he may have missed the first one, he made no mistake with the second. Glen Rea cut out a clearance inside Barnsley’s half that was flicked on by Kazenga Lua-Lua and Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu into the path of James Collins. And at that point, you’d put your house on ‘Collo’ as he’s affectionately known scoring. He didn’t disappoint.

“I thought we pressed really well, we were organized, we gave them very little. We lacked just a little bit of quality in the final third, if we did then we would have had more chances but when you’ve got a goalscorer like James Collins, you get opportunities and he puts it away.”

Luton manager Nathan Jones on striker James Collins

That makes it four goals in two games for Collins, who, according to Goodbrand Stats, has a 100% conversion rate for shots on target. I guess Barnsley is lucky he had to stretch for that chance in the first half and put it over the bar so.

Luke Berry also had a chance at the end of the first half but saw his shot from the edge of the box fly over the bar.

Barnsley’s best chance came down 1-0 when Alex Mowatt played a cross from the leftover several Luton players to the back post. Unfortunately, Dominik Frieser’s header could only find the side netting as Simon Sluga closed down the angle in the Luton goal.

Manager Nathan Jones was pleased with the performance.

“It was probably as good an away performance as you’re likely to see. We were on the front foot, we pressed, we had energy, we were aggressive and I’m really proud of my team today, I thought they were excellent from start to finish.”

Jones said

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