Drained emotions for Kitch and co as O’s suffer a surprise setback

Leyton Orient v Crawley Town – Sky Bet League Two – Breyer Group Stadium – Reaction

Leyton Orient 1-2 Crawley Town

Frustration, bemusement, anguish, take your pick. Peter Kitchen, along with every other Leyton Orient supporter, expressed all of these emotions as their side slipped to an unexpected Sky Bet League Two defeat at the hands of Crawley Town at the Breyer Group Stadium.

It’s difficult to put your finger on just why a side that hasn’t lost at home since August and who had been so convincing in dispatching high-flying Swindon Town during the week, could produce such a flat performance? 

“You can forgive O’s supporters for any scepticism they might have about our chances of promotion this season,” Kitch told Yellow Sport

“Yet again, the team raised fans expectations sky high after the midweek rout of Swindon, only to crash back down to earth with a bang against struggling Crawley.

“Firstly, we shouldn’t take anything away from Crawley, who had certainly done their homework and did a very effective job of stifling the O’s, denying them space in behind and limiting their attacking opportunities, whilst plundering themselves two goals on either side of the interval through George Francomb and Kwesi Appiah.

“This was another missed opportunity for the O’s to climb in amongst the top teams, especially with rivals, Swindon, Exeter, Port Vale and Harrogate all dropping points. It is this inconsistency that could ruin our promotion chances.”

Kenny Jackett made one enforced change to the side that had demolished Swindon, with Thompson replacing the injured Beckles at the heart of the backline. However, their scintillating form deserted them as Crawley became the first visiting team to win at Brisbane Road since Harrogate Town took the points eleven games ago. Compounding Orient’s misery, skipper, Darren Prately was given his marching orders in stoppage-time for a second bookable offence.

Kitchen added: “Smith and Drinan, who have already plundered thirteen goals each this season, couldn’t manage a shot on target between them, despite the O’s enjoying almost twice as much possession. Even the goal we did score was credited as an own-goal to former O’s keeper, Glenn Morris.

“We’d have known and expected Crawley to come with a game plan and would try and frustrate us. And yet the nineteen fouls committed, six yellow and one red card collected displays that the O’s players didn’t handle this well. We must be able to rise above this and find a way to win this type of game.”

The defeat saw the East Londoners slip out of the play-off places but remain just four points shy of Port Vale in third place. Kitch concluded: “Jackett will want to work with his players this week ahead of what is going to be a very intense and demanding schedule of fixtures over the Christmas and New year period. It’s looking likely that this will be a defining period for the manager and his players.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]