Steve Davis delighted with Leyton Orient’s character and goalkeeper Charlie Grainger after Aldershot Town draw
PUBLISHED: 18:30 23 September 2017
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The O’s custodian made some key saves at the Recreation Ground, which allowed the visitors to fight back and get a deserved point
Steve Davis praised Leyton Orient goalkeeper Charlie Grainger after the youngster made a couple of outstanding saves to help O’s fight back and claim a point away to Aldershot Town.
The visitors trailed by two goals after Cheye Alexander and Matt McClure scored in quick succession for the National League leaders.
But Craig Clay and substitute Rommy Boco netted for Orient to salvage a point, but only after Grainger had denied James Rowe when the score was 2-0 and then Adam McDonnell in the second period.
“Charlie showed his displeasure at half time after conceding two goals and he hasn’t made many mistakes this season,” said Davis.
“I am not sure whether he could have saved any of the two strikes today because I’ve not seen them yet, but he is very critical of himself.
“He wants to save every shot which goes towards his goal, but he also made some very good saves to keep the score as it was.
“I’m pleased with him. He is progressing well and he has Sam (Sargeant) behind him pushing, so they are both decent goalkeepers.”
Aldershot’s two goals came from attacking Orient’s left-side with Joe Widdowson and Jamie Sendles-White struggling.
The latter was at fault for McClure’s strike, but Davis praised the way they both bounced back after half time.
He added: “Aldershot definitely targeted the left side of the pitch and they put a lot of diagonal balls into that area and they (Sendles-White and Widdowson) couldn’t cope, but they did cope with it admirably after half time when we had spoken about it.
“I told them I’d take it personally that a team would target me as a weakness, so show them you are not and in the second half they did that.
“Joe was excellent afterwards and didn’t make many mistakes and Jamie is still finding his feet, but did some good things today.
“Obviously Jamie, in terms of coming back, is a work in progress and Joe was much better and showed what he could do in the second half.”
It was a terrible first half for O’s, but once Clay reduced the deficit in the 39th minute, they were excellent.
Orient could have equalised before the break and had chances after it before Boco was on hand to tap in with eight minutes left.
Davis reflected on the poor first 38 minutes and said: “We just didn’t come out and start. We talked about the things we wanted to do and we didn’t do them.
“We couldn’t get around them or work out what they were trying to do and they had a plan and it worked better than us.”
Clay’s goal gave Orient a lifeline, but they changed tactics after the break and went to a 4-1-4-1 formation, which paid off.
“We changed the plan and Ross (Embleton) was very keen on looking at what we could do and we spoke about it and felt it was the right way to go to get players closer to them,” said Davis.
“How deep we dropped in the first half didn’t help because we dropped very deep and invited balls forward and we didn’t deal with it.
“We deservedly went two down, but we clawed our way back from a set-piece with a great free kick and header and the game changed.
“The last 10 minutes after the goal was exceptional and we carried that on in the second half and the players had to work extremely hard to get something from the game and they showed great character.”