Hendon: We have to show responsibility
- Credit: Archant
Brisbane Road boss reflects on captain Mathieu Baudry’s suspension and talks about the importance of Jay Simpson
Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon believes his players need to take more responsibility on the pitch after they ended 2015 with a 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
There wasn’t much between the two teams at the Memorial Stadium where 9,836 packed inside the ground on Monday.
Jay Simpson netted his 18th goal of the campaign to ensure it was level at half time, but in the end Rory Gaffney’s brace earned the Gas all three points.
Both Gaffney goals could have been prevented, though, with the first a poor one for the O’s to concede, especially on the eye.
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Connor Essam failed to head the ball away and Gaffney turned before Cole Kpekawa and Jean-Yves M’voto slid into each other.
Essam tried to get back to block, but Gaffney easily cut inside him before firing past Alex Cisak.
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Orient equalised on the stroke of half time though, when stand-in captain Sean Clohessy cut the ball back to Blair Turgott and his drilled cross was tapped in by Simpson from close range.
Although Hendon’s men started the second half strongly, another strike by Gaffney put them behind.
Once again a long ball wasn’t dealt with by Essam, it went over him and Gaffney took the shot early – finding the net off the post to put the hosts back in front.
Possession was dominated by the O’s following that point, but they struggled to create enough opportunities to equalise.
Rovers goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall wasn’t seriously tested after his team took the lead for a second time.
The visitors were without captain Mathieu Baudry after his red card against Portsmouth and that frustrated the O’s head coach.
Hendon said: “It doesn’t help when our leader, the captain, gets stupidly sent off on Saturday.
“That is us one leader down straight away. That is one reason, but the players need to take responsibility out on the pitch.
“I can’t question their effort, but for the first goal we could have cleared it four times. When it did go in and the lad has taken the touch, it is off his arm.
“After watching the video, it is on the linesman’s side too. How he has not seen that I don’t know because Gaffney has taken it down on his arm.”
Even though the first goal might have been disallowed, Orient’s defending again wasn’t good enough and that has been a recurring theme since August.
Back in the opening month of the season they kept a rare clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Stevenage.
That result put them top of the League Two table after three games, but 21 matches later they now trail leaders Plymouth Argyle by 13 points.
A gap is building at the top with Hendon’s men now nine points off the automatic promotion places.
A win at Stevenage on Saturday during their opening game of 2016 could see them back up into the play-off positions though.
If Orient are to win at Broadhall Way, you’d guess that Simpson will play a vital part again.
Hendon added: “Jay is massively important. I don’t want to lose him and we will do our upmost to keep him at the football club because we want to progress.
“We don’t want to sell our best players. We want to keep the better players at the club and try to improve in other areas.”