Callum Kennedy hails character of Leyton Orient’s talented teenagers following recent baptism of fire
15:00 28 November 2016
Simon O'Connor Photography
Full back impressed with resilience of Josh Koroma after reacting positively to giving away penalty at Doncaster Rovers
Leyton Orient defender Callum Kennedy has praised the younger members of the squad for passing recent challenges with flying colours.
Teenagers Myles Judd, Aron Pollock and Sandro Semedo started at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday before Josh Koroma, 18, was introduced in the second half.
Although O’s lost 3-1 at the Keepmoat Stadium, the likes of Judd and Pollock in particular caught the eye for Andy Edwards’ team.
Kennedy said: “We have a few young lads and some of them are playing their first ever professional games and holding their own.
“Well not even doing that, they are coming into probably the worst circumstances possible and doing really well. We are third from bottom and when it rains it pours and Myles and Aron have both come in, stood up and been counted.
“It is easier for young lads to come in when you are top of the league and winning 3-0 every game. I feel like it is a baptism of fire for them and they’ve come through it and done well.”
Judd, after an impressive full debut on Tuesday against Exeter City, produced another solid performance. Edwards handed Pollock a chance at the heart of Orient’s defence and the 18-year-old showed his potential.
Koroma gave away a penalty minutes after coming on, but responded positively to his error and went close to scoring late on.
“I’ve been very impressed with the resilience of the young lads and when Saturday’s game finished, we have some boys in there that could be playing for the youth team,” said Kennedy.
“But they are away at Doncaster in the thick of it and Josh has made a challenge, he has tried to help the team and it is a little error. Afterwards he could have easily hidden, but he got on the ball and was very positive and got at people.
“That is a sign of good things to come when you have young lads that can face adversity head on and still express themselves.”
Kennedy opened the scoring for Orient up north with a sensational free kick from range in the 19th minute.
Jordan Houghton equalised on the stroke of half time, however, when Sandro Semedo failed to clear a corner sufficiently and it proved decisive.
Rovers pushed for a second after the break and Koroma brought down Matty Blair inside the area, which saw Liam Mandeville convert from the spot to put the hosts ahead in the 59th minute.
Mandeville fired home another penalty six minutes later when Tom Parkes caught Tommy Rowe, though to O’s credit they defended well afterwards and twice went close before they were clapped off by the 366 travelling support.
“Obviously we are disappointed and angry like the supporters are. We are frustrated for the fans as well because they have come all the way to Doncaster and are still there at the end clapping us and that goes a long way,” said Kennedy.
“We want to win for them. We want them to go home happy and that’s what it is about now. We need to go away for the next two weeks and put a game plan together for Accrington. We want to win that game and give the fans something to cheer about so they can go home talking about the positives.”