Kitch urges O’s to look ahead after late Barnsley surge

Barnsley v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League One – Oakwell – Reaction

Barnsley 2-1 Leyton Orient

Peter Kitchen insisted the only way to look is forward after Leyton Orient’s eight-game Sky Bet League One unbeaten sequence was brought to a dramatic late conclusion by promotion-chasing Barnsley at Oakwell.

Speaking to Yellow Sport following the O’s setback in his native Yorkshire, Kitchen said: “Sad, frustrated and a little disappointed is the only way to describe how O’s fans must have felt when the final whistle was blown, cruelly ending our unbeaten run and putting a temporary dampener on our optimistic hopes of reaching the play-off places. 

“For eighty-eight minutes, it looked like the O’s brave rearguard action in the second half was going to give us all three points and help us further close the gap on all our rivals. With seventh and eighth-placed Oxford and Blackpool sharing the points, fourth-placed Peterborough suffering their third straight defeat, and second and third-placed Derby and Bolton both only managing draws, it looked almost certain that the O’s had done a smash-and-grab job on the Tykes. 

“Richie Wellens made two changes to his team, with Ollie O’Neil replacing the injured Theo Archibald and Omar Beckles returning at the back, with Brandon Cooper dropping to the bench. The O’s were looking to continue in their excellent vein of form which has seen them climb up to ninth after winning six and drawing two of the last eight games and maintaining their steady climb and an outside chance of reaching the top six places. 

“Barnsley meanwhile had lost only once in their last eleven games, were already in the play-off places and were hoping to close the gap on their automatic promotion rivals. 

“The O’s started very well and on the offensive and in the tenth minute, George Moncur drove to the byline and crossed for Ruel Sotiriou to cleverly place the ball past Roberts in the home goal. This will have given the O’s striker a huge confidence boost after he was guilty of missing several chances in the midweek 1-0 win at Port Vale. 

“The home side gradually began to dominate proceedings as the half wore on but couldn’t find the finishing touch. In the second half, we were getting battered as the Tykes continued to pepper the O’s goal, dominating the stats with twenty-three shots to the O’s seven and with eleven of those on target, but Sol Brynn in the O’s goal was having an inspired afternoon. 

The former frontman continued: “The team were somehow maintaining their defensive line and it looked like they weren’t going to be breached with only minutes remaining. However, in a frantic final few minutes, their resistance folded when Phillips ran onto a punt forward, headed over the onrushing Brynn for the Barnsley equaliser, followed almost immediately by the sending off of Barnsley’s Luca Connell for a second yellow card offence. 

“Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Tykes won it deep into added time when Phillips turned in a free kick from the right to notch his second goal of the match. 

“Wellens will have been very annoyed that we were so close to taking all three points but just couldn’t hold on. However, the team had lost Dan Happe as early as the fourth minute through injury and worked very hard and battled bravely against a Barnsley side who play very much on the front foot and are clearly one of the better teams in this league. 

Kitchen concluded: “According to Dulcet Dave Victor in his BBC Radio London preview, he advised that the O’s hadn’t won at Oakwell in sixty years, so maybe it was one of those games where we were so close to ending the hoodoo, but it just wasn’t meant to be. 

“We need to put this defeat behind us quickly and already turn our attention to the visit on Tuesday night of eleventh placed Northampton Town. 

“With our closest rivals also dropping points and games coming thick and fast, a win against the Cobblers will give us a chance to get back on track and make up some ground on the other teams on the fringes of the playoff places.”


Brian Jeeves