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Steve Davis: Leyton Orient lacked leaders against Hartlepool United

PUBLISHED: 17:01 20 September 2017

Leyton Orient head coach Steve Davis looks on from the touchline against Arsenal's under-23s (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient head coach Steve Davis looks on from the touchline against Arsenal's under-23s (pic: Simon O'Connor).

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Experienced manager looks back on 2-1 defeat last weekend and discusses how the youngsters in his squad will learn a lot from this period

Steve Davis admitted Leyton Orient lacked leaders during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Hartlepool United in the National League.

Goals from Pools’ Jonathan Franks and Rhys Oates turned the game on its head after Jobi McAnuff had opened the scoring in the first half.

After the O’s fell behind, they struggled to create chances and the closest they went to an equaliser was when Macauley Bonne headed wide in stoppage time.

Davis said: “I looked at the body language after the second goal and I did think ‘that has hit us quite hard.’

“I was wondering where we were going to get the spark from and you know people like Josh (Coulson), George (Elokobi) and Matt (Harrold) plus the other experienced players we have out would have got us going again.

“We did lack voices and apart from Alex Lawless, Craig Clay and Jobi, we didn’t have many leaders and didn’t have enough men out there to get us back into the game.”

Orient, in addition to lacking confidence, appeared to be void of ideas after realising Hartlepool were happy to sit deep and defend after taking the lead.

Losing David Mooney to injury didn’t help and Clay was also forced off with a hamstring problem, but O’s still looked lost at times.

Admittedly, it was a young team which finished the game, with teenagers Dan Happe, Henry Ochieng and Sam Dalby on the pitch at the end.

Josh Koroma played 86 minutes as well, yet Orient couldn’t make the breakthrough and missed the Plan B option of bringing on Harrold and looking to play off him.

“A pattern seems to be emerging that the opposition go in front at home and away and then they are happy to try and defend it rather than force it and get another goal,” said Davis.

“We just need to find another way and when we don’t have a target man it is very difficult because they are so deep you can’t get in behind.

“If you then get the ball wide they can overload you on the wings, so it is difficult to get crosses in and when we did get it in there, the only one who could get onto things was ‘Macca’ and we didn’t get enough bodies into the area anyway, apart from the last five minutes.

“We are just going to get on with it and we can’t feel sorry for ourselves and we just need to get our key players back as quick as we can. With them in the team we are much better and we know that.

“If you look at it on Saturday, it ended up being a young side with Dalby coming on and Henry. We had Dan starting and Josh, so this is a great learning curve for them and they look a bit short at the moment, so they have a long way to go before they are equipped to play week in, week out in this division.”

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