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Leyton Orient manager Andy Edwards happy with way squad are responding to his methods

PUBLISHED: 14:00 28 December 2016

Leyton Orient manager Andy Edwards hugs assistant Danny Webb at the full time whistle (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient manager Andy Edwards hugs assistant Danny Webb at the full time whistle (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Former Academy Director discusses importance of O’s having a structure when they don’t have possession

Leyton Orient boss Andy Edwards is pleased with the way his team are improving without the ball after winning two of their last three games in League Two to move up to 19th in the table.

It was far from straight forward in the end, yet the O’s eventually saw off Crawley Town 3-2 on Boxing Day.

A stunning first half performance where wingers Gavin Massey and Sandro Semedo shone and forwards Sam Dalby and Paul McCallum netted earned Orient a win.

“I do think it is all about us without the ball. It is about having a defensive structure and a platform to play,” said Edwards.

“And I’ve shown the players already examples of us as a team being compact and able to press the ball. It gives you a chance if you are not playing well to keep in the game and grind out a result.

“In possession we have some exciting players in Gavin and Sandro and the forwards we have got so I’m pleased. Winning breeds confidence and we’re hoping it becomes a habit we can continue.”

Orient were cruising at half time – winning by three goals with Crawley offering very little in attack.

But the Red Devils came out strongly after the interval and an own-goal from Teddy Mezague gave the visitors some impetus.

Dalby was replaced soon after by Jordan Bowery and O’s struggled to get a foothold in the encounter.

Edwards added: “Sam had an ankle injury coming into the game, which he picked up in training about a week ago.

“He was fighting to be fit so we thought it might flare up and the thought process was bringing Jordan on after 10 minutes of the second half to give us some legs and stretch the match a bit more.

“Unfortunately they got the goal and it gave them a lift and changed the complex of the game a little bit.”

Crawley boss Dermot Drummy changed to a 3-5-2 formation at the break and got plenty of joy by going direct.

Edwards admitted Orient found it difficult to get any control of the ball and therefore came under pressure.

“I didn’t think we lost our shape so much, but Crawley gambled and we were trying to work out their system – they went three at the back,” said the 45-year-old.

“They committed bodies forward and you have to counter that. We found it difficult. We wanted to get control of the ball and put it in behind and get up the pitch and build from there.”

It didn’t go exactly to plan for Orient, yet it was enough for them to claim a vital three points and give the supporters some late Christmas cheer.

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