Kitch left shell-shocked by O’s setback at Stevenage

Brian Jeeves

Stevenage v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – Lamex Stadium – Reaction

Stevenage 3-0 Leyton Orient

Peter Kitchen admitted he was shell-shocked by the manner of Leyton Orient’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sky Bet League Two title rivals Stevenage at a soldout Lamex Stadium.

“We were completely outfought and outplayed by the home side who had as good as won the game by half time,” the former O’s frontman told Yellow Sport

“Stevenage extended their unbeaten run to eleven league games, whilst a depleted O’s have only won once in our last five, scoring only once in six games. 

“With several players unavailable to Richie Wellens due to suspension and injury, the O’s boss had to make several enforced changes to what has been a settled line-up. He moved quickly to bring in three loanees in the January window. 

“There was another start for young loanee defender Ed Turns from Brighton as well as a debut for Jamie McCart at left-back, whilst Jordan Brown replaced George Moncur in midfield and Theo Archibald returned on the bench, along with loanee Jordan Lyden and striker Harry Smith.”

Kitchen continued: “This was a massive game for both teams. Stevenage knew how important winning this game was for their title challenge and they flew out of the blocks, completely shocking the 1,400 travelling O’s fans by scoring twice within eleven mins through Jamie Reid and Jordon Roberts. 

“Like, me and all the other O’s supporters, the team were shell-shocked and proved to be no match for a rampant Boro side who sensed they had the league leaders rocking. To compound a miserable first half for Orient, we had El Mizouni sent off just before the break for a second bookable offence. 

“Wellens tried to regroup and made several substitutions after half-time in a bid to get back in the game, but we had no answer to Boro’s constant pressure and were always chasing the contest. Luke Norris scored a third for the home team in added time to rub salt into the wounds.

“The significance of this win for Stevenage is that they now have the momentum, grabbing the initiative from us in the title race. They are full of confidence and are only two points behind the O’s but have a game in hand with a slightly better goal difference and if they win at Swindon on Tuesday night, will move above us in the table.

 Kitchen concluded: “It would be easy to just put this down to a bad day at the office, but in reality, this has been coming for several weeks due to a combination of factors. The heart of our backline has been decimated by injuries and suspensions. Losing Happe, Beckles and James, who had established a solid and reliable partnership over several months until the turn of the year and whilst the club has been quick to bring in loan replacements, making wholesale enforced changes in a short period was bound to impact on our consistently solid and reliable defence.

“The fact that we have only scored one goal in the last six matches is also a major concern because the system we play means that we rely totally on the pace and skill of Smyth and Archibald for goals and creativity in the final third and whilst they have scored some cracking goals so far, we need goals from other players. 

“If one or both of these are missing we don’t provide enough crosses or service for whoever is playing up front. With Drinan, Smith, Sotiriou and Kelman all capable of producing when provided with the right kind of service, we also need to be flexible and try and find other attacking options in the final third to get the best out of these players. 

“We’re going through a wobble at the moment, but there’s certainly no reason to panic. Putting some perspective on the situation, we know we are locked into a two-horse race for the title with Stevenage. 

“Whilst it would be the icing on the cake to go up as champions, promotion in any of the three automatic places is the ultimate goal for the club. We have a fifteen-point lead over fourth-placed Carlisle United and with Beckles and James returning very soon and Archibald getting back to full fitness, we are still in a great position. The fans should remain positive. 

“The best way to deal with any defeat or setback is to bounce straight back stronger and I’m sure that this week, Wellens will be working with the players and will be demanding a response when we travel to Tranmere Rovers next Saturday.”

Advertisement

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk