Kitch impressed with gritty O’s

Brian Jeeves

Grimsby Town v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – Blundell Park – Reaction

Grimsby Town 2-2 Leyton Orient

One of the signs of a successful team is when they can still take points here and there despite not performing to the best of their ability.

And this vital commodity applied to runaway Sky Bet League Two leaders, Leyton Orient, who clawed a share of the spoils from a hard-fought clash with Grimsby Town at a freezing Blundell Park.

Charlie Kelman gave Orient the lead. However, goals from John McAtee and George Lloyd turned the tide the way of the fired-up Mariners.

George Moncur restored parity before O’s keeper, Lawrence Vigouroux saved Glennon’s late penalty to ensure a share of the spoils. Former frontman Peter Kitchen acknowledged that the East Londoners had ridden their luck.

“In the end, we are probably counting ourselves fortunate to get that point against a Grimsby outfit who performed a lot better than their league position would suggest,” he told Yellow Sport.

“Indeed, the Mariners matched us in every department. At times, they outfought the league leaders.

“If the home team had their minds on the midweek FA Cup fifth-round tie at Premier League Southampton, it didn’t show. The individual players were all fighting for a place in the team for the Saints game and the O’s had to work very hard for their share of the spoils.

“The draw extends our unbeaten fabulous-February run to six matches, and with Stevenage and Stockport both losing, the fact that our other challengers Carlisle, Northampton and Salford all won made little difference as we maintained our thirteen-point lead at the top of the table.

“Stevenage might have three games in hand over the O’s, but they have to win all these to get close to us, and that’s easier said than done and with all the other challengers dropping points, seeing any of them as being able to put themselves in contention of the top spot looks like a bridge too far.

“Richie Wellens made just one change to the team that has won four and drawn one of our last five games this month. Kelman came in up front in place of the injured Aaron Drinan, and it was the QPR loanee who fired us into the lead midway through the opening half.

“The Mariners came out fighting after the restart and immediately found an equaliser through McAtee and then left the five hundred travelling O’s fans shell-shocked by taking the lead through Lloyd, who fired in a low shot from the edge of the box.

“Wellens responded accordingly by bringing on Thompson, Pratley and Moncur for James, Clay and Sadlier, respectively. The changes fired us up. We went looking for an equaliser and got it when George Moncur’s low shot from outside the box found the net.”

Kitchen continued: “Grimsby had a great chance to win it. They won a penalty when Thompson was adjudged to have handled, but Lawrence Vigouroux made a superb save diving low to his left from Glennon. The home side’s chance for all three points was lost.

“It was Vigouroux’s third penalty save this season. Without a doubt, his ability and agility have made him a key figure during this season’s exploits. His form has been a major factor in the O’s compiling such a superb defensive record this season.”

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk