Hatters defender happy to get off the mark for Luton with such an important goal to seal long-awaited home victory over Rovers
Defender Reece Burke was thrilled that his first league goal for Luton had been such a major factor in securing a first home league win of the season against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Going into the contest, the Hatters had failed to win any of their opening six league and cup clashes at Kenilworth Road, a run spanning to seven when including the 1-1 play-off semi-final first leg draw with Huddersfield last term.
At the weekend, and with Town leading 1-0 against Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side thanks to Carlton Morris’s sixth of the campaign, Burke intercepted a loose ball midway inside the visitors’ half and set off on a burst towards the area.
With options either side of him, the former West Ham and Hull player didn’t need to worry about using them, instead unleashing a sumptuous curling effort that flew past Rovers keeper Thomas Kaminski and into the net.
Although a third goal for the Hatters, with his last two coming in the FA Cup, it meant Burke’s league duck was broken on his 34th outing, and also saw Luton finally hold on to a lead after letting the advantage slip in their last three home outings.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “I stepped in and got past the winger, it sort of opened up for me and I thought ‘why not?’ Especially with my left foot!
“Lucky enough it went in, so I’m delighted.
“The way the game was going, we were all over them and it was just a matter of time before we got that second goal and eased that little bit of the pressure.
“I’m the one who got it, so I’m happy for that, but it was what we needed at the time.
“We maybe could have got another one after that, but I thought after that goal, it helped us see the game out.
“Scoring goals isn’t a problem for us, I think defensively the previous games we needed to be a little bit better.
“Hopefully the confidence from the clean sheet, we can get more of those and pick up more points.”
With Burke having scored 13 goals in his career now, including strikes during previous loan spells at Bradford, Wigan, Bolton and Hull, when asked if he had notched on his left foot before, he continued: “I think that was my first one to be honest.
“It opened up for me, I took the chance and it came at a perfect time in the match, so I’m delighted.
“It works well with the three, Pottsy (Dan Potts) on the left side and me on the right, if it’s open for us, we step in and overload the right side or the left side.
“That’s what I try and do, try have an affect on the game and try to get forward.”
It was something that the defender had been predicting to his team-mates too, as keeper Ethan Horvath said: “Burkey, he scored some nice goals in training yesterday, and that’s what he told me yesterday, that he was going to score a banger and he certainly lived up to his word.
“I think that was massive to get that second goal.
“It was massive as it kills their belief and kills their tempo.
“Ever since we got that, we could have got a third or a fourth so it was such a massive goal in a crucial point in the game.”
Meanwhile, boss Nathan Jones said: “It was wonderful, stepping in and showing that aggression.
“It epitomises us, centre halves stepping in with real aggression, real purpose.”
Burke, who is not adverse to a foray forward on the right hand side from his centre half role, had been putting in the practice on his attacking ventures during training, although not necessarily bending one into the corner from 25 yards.
He added: “I’ve been working on my crossing recently, a bit of shooting now and again, but I’ve been working on my crossing as I feel like most games I get the chance to step in.
“I feel that’s a part of my game I can try and work on and try and add a few assists through the season.”