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Mansfield Town 0-2 Leyton Orient
Leyton Orient 0-0 Walsall
It was a case of mixed feelings from Peter Kitchen, who insisted Leyton Orient are evolving under Jobi McAnuff but conceded disappointment as struggling Walsall held firm to deny the East Londoners two Sky Bet League Two victories over the Easter period.
The drab goalless encounter at the Breyer Group Stadium came off the back of a 2-0 triumph at Mansfield Town. Nevertheless, despite missing out on six points, Orient remains just three points outside the top seven and are unbeaten in six.
“We nearly got the job done over the Easter period, with four points out of six – it’s just disappointing we were unable to finish Walsall off and close in on the play-off places,” Kitchen told Yellow Sport.
“But we are still in a very good position to make a late challenge, and with seven games left, next week’s trip to second in the table Cheltenham will be a crucial one.
“In typical Orient fashion, we massively raised expectations with our recent upturn in form and went to Mansfield and produced a very positive performance, on the front foot, taking the game to the home side and convincingly putting the Stags to the sword 2-0.
“It was a fourth-straight win, extending our unbeaten run to six under Jobi and with four clean sheets in that run. Danny Johnson got back amongst the goals with a brace. For the first time in a long while, there was a feeling of confidence and that we would beat Walsall and push on.”
Kitchen continued: “Clearly, Walsall hadn’t read the script and on the balance of play, they made the O’s look second best in most areas, pushing us back, not allowing time to settle and pressuring us into giving the ball away far too often.
“Orient rarely tested the Saddlers keeper, and If not for the strength at the heart of our defence with Turley and Akinola, coupled with better quality by Walsall in the final third, we would have lost this game.
The obvious thing for me over the last three games, despite wins against Oldham and Mansfield, is that we haven’t done enough in that final third to test the opposition keeper and there has been a lack of clear cut chances being created from flowing movement, with three out of the four goals scored in those games – whilst being excellent finishes – coming about as a direct result of woeful defending and unenforced mistakes by the opposition defenders.
“As I said, I’m sure the manager and players will be disappointed themselves not to have taken all six points, but there is still everything to play for and the O’s are in with a very good chance of making a play-off place because all the teams in the leading group are dropping points and will be feeling the pressure in these final fixtures.”