Kitch content with resolute O’s

Blackpool v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League One – Bloomfield Road – Reaction

Blackpool 0-0 Leyton Orient 

As starts to the season go, it couldn’t have gone much worse for Richie Wellens and his Leyton Orient side.

Following their Sky Bet League Two title-winning campaign, the O’s lost all three of their opening league matches at the higher level as well as crashing out of the Carabao Cup. Welllens’ side has been hampered by injuries and suspensions. Indeed, both he and his assistant, Paul Terry, found themselves in hot water after receiving red cards at the conclusion of Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers.

Nevertheless, facing adversity is nothing new to the O’s. A daunting trip to Blackpool saw the East Londoners glean their first point and a clean sheet as well as a satisfactory report from their former frontman, Peter Kitchen.

Speaking to Yellow Sport, Kitchen said: “We took the fighting spirit shown at Wycombe and gave a very good account of ourselves against a Blackpool side who last season were in the Championship and have started their League One campaign unbeaten after five games without conceding a goal. 

“We’ve been beset by an alarming number of injuries since the start of the season which has made it very difficult for Richie in his preparation and team selection as well as for his players to adjust to the higher level. 

“Much of the momentum built up from last season’s record-breaking League Two title win has also dissipated, making our start even harder. 

“Richie made just one change to his team from Tuesday, with Ethan Galbraith coming in to replace the suspended Dan Happe – shown a red card at Wycombe. 

Kitchen continued: “The stats for this game indicate that we more than matched the Seasiders in terms of possession, and for a side who had lost our four previous games and are still trying to find our feet in this league.

“In several spells, we took the game to the home side and will feel hard done by not to come away from the North West with a win. It looked like a clear penalty when Joe Pigott was bundled over by a Blackpool defender just two yards from goal as the Orient man raced onto the ball parried into the air by the Blackpool keeper, Dan Grimshaw, preventing him from putting away an easy close-range header. 

“Throughout the game, both teams looked for a winner, but the two keepers were in fine form and made some excellent saves to keep their sides level. It was particularly good to see O’s stopper, Sam Howes, look much more confident and assured after a couple of games when he has been understandably nervous and indecisive after being thrown into the team due to the injury to first-choice Sol Brynn.”

Kitchen concluded: “There are clear signs that the players are finding their feet. Gradually, the situation is improving and after Sotiriou scored the team’s first two goals on Tuesday, we have now kept a first clean sheet.

“We might be second from bottom of the table at the moment, but it’s so early in the season and so close points-wise between us and teams in the middle of the table. One win can catapult us up the table. 

“Richie, the players and the fans can take a lot of positives from the team’s last two performances and a lot of confidence and belief that we can hold their own in this league. 

“Every day onwards will allow the injured players more time to get themselves back to fitness. Our next two games are at Brisbane Road, albeit against two inform teams in Cambridge and Stevenage, but it does give us the opportunity to grab that much-needed confidence-boosting first win.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk