Peter Kitchen rounds up a frustrating Easter for the O’s

Brian Jeeves

Lincoln City 1-0 Leyton Orient – Sincil Bank – Leyton Orient 1-2 Peterborough United – Brisbane Road – Round-up

Peter Kitchen provided Yellow Sport with an honest assessment of Leyton Orient’s Easter Sky Bet League One programme.

“We emerged from our two Easter fixtures, with our chances of reaching the play-offs cruelly ended, but despite the obvious disappointment, there should be no recriminations for Richie Wellens or his players and O’s fans will certainly not feel too despondent or downhearted because their team have given a very good account of themselves throughout this season in League One. 

“We cruelly lost 1-0 on Good Friday in the final minute of the game at Lincoln City, a result which killed off their lingering chances of making the play-offs and on Easter Monday Peterborough drove the final nails in the coffin with a comprehensive 2-1 win in E10. 

“The O’s travelled to free-scoring Lincoln, who were unbeaten in eleven and had scored sixteen goals in their last three games, whilst the O’s had won only once in their previous four games, scoring just one goal and expecting to come under immense pressure from the formidable Imps attack. 

“Richie made just one change for the Lincoln game, with Jordan Brown replacing Joe Pigott in what appeared to be a team selection aimed at disrupting the home side’s rhythm and shoring up the defence while hoping to nick a goal. 

“The plan appeared to be working and for much of the game, they had blunted the Imps attacking prowess with the O’s dominating possession with seven shots on goal to Lincoln’s one by half-time. Subsequently, Lincoln’s first shot on target only came in the seventy-sixth minute. 

“The seventeen fouls committed by O’s players during this game to Lincoln’s seven was a clear indication that they were getting their foot in and the plan to disrupt and unsettle Lincoln was certainly working. 

“In the ninetieth minute however, the O’s were somewhat unfairly and cruelly undone, when Jordan Brown failed to clear his lines and gifted the ball to late substitute Jovon Makama, who with literally his 1st touch in the game curled the ball into the bottom corner.” 

The former frontman continued: “Despite the obvious disappointment of losing this game, for the O’s I think this performance showed just how well-organised and tactically astute Richie and the team have become over the season. Being able to restrict such an attack-minded Lincoln side to so few shots and chances when they are in such brilliant form was exceptional. 

“The defeat however highlighted again the teams’ main failings of our season, which are overplaying at the back, not clearing our lines and not taking our chances when we are on top and dominating possession. 

“With Blackpool losing at Derby and both Stevenage and Oxford only drawing on Friday, a win for the O’s would have put them right in amongst the mix and to add a win against Peterborough on Monday would have been priceless, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be. 

“The Imps subsequently leapfrogged all their nearest rivals on Friday to take over sixth place from Oxford on goal difference and with both teams again winning on Monday, it was status quo, whilst both Blackpool and Stevenage could only draw yet again.  

“With no time to feel hard done by, the players had to lift themselves for the visit to E10 of promotion-chasing Peterborough United, currently in fourth, still chasing an automatic promotion place and looking to bounce back from Friday’s surprise defeat at home to bottom club Carlisle United.”

On Easter Monday’s defeat, Kitchen said: “The O’s squad for the Posh visit, already depleted had been further weakened by the loss of El Mizuoni, who may have played his last game for the O’s as a result of his injury sustained at Lincoln. 

“Wellens subsequently made four changes to his line-up, with Sweeney, Moncur, O’Neill and Galbraith all starting and there was also a place on the bench for Dan Agyei returning from injury.

“Peterborough, like Lincoln, are an attack-minded, high-scoring side under Darren Ferguson and with the O’s not as fluent as they’ve usually been this season, they went behind after only eight minutes when Sol Brynn fumbled a harmless-looking cross straight to ex-O’s player Hector Kyprianou, who had the simple task of steering it into the net. 

“The visitors were still in the ascendancy and they made it 2-0 in the twenty-sixth-minute when Mason-Clark forced a loose ball over the line for his nineteenth of the season. 

“Peterborough had been comfortable in the first half, but Richie made five substitutions in the second half to force themselves back into the game and Ethan Galbraith volleyed home a cross superbly from Jayden Sweeney on sixty-six minutes to spark a late fightback. 

“The O’s made the visitors work harder for their lead, but they failed to find an equaliser and Peterborough ran out worthy winners and remain in contention for an automatic promotion place.”

Brian Jeeves