Interim head coach Ross Embleton encouraged by fight in draw with Chester, but warns Leyton Orient must defend better

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay slides in on a Dover Athletic opponent (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay slides in on a Dover Athletic opponent (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

The O’s produced a battling display to claim a point at home to the Blues despite playing over half of the game with 10-men

Ross Embleton praised the fight and spirit of Leyton Orient during their 2-2 draw with Chester on Tuesday night, but admitted they must be better defensively if they are to start moving up the National League.

The interim head coach had to deal with a lot during his second match in charge and was sent off himself during a dramatic evening in E10.

In the end, a Jobi McAnuff cracker on the hour mark salvaged a point for O’s, who had to play the whole of the second half with 10-men after Jamie Sendles-White had been red carded.

Even though they would have hoped to win before the match, the character demonstrated earned the players a standing ovation after and more of the same should hopefully end their 13-game winless run in the league at Torquay United on Saturday, although they’ll be without Macauley Bonne due to suspension.


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“I say to them a lot that’s the bare minimum and what we’ve got to try and channel is the way in which we finish these games, so it’s not always us having to throw the kitchen sink at the opposition to try and score and get back into it,” said Embleton, who apologised to the team for being sent to the stands.

“We want to be on the front foot and to see out games and to go and get the second and third goal to seal a positive performance.

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“If we continue to show this fighting spirit and attitude then we’ll start moving in the right direction, but at the same time we’ve got to stop making silly mistakes. Collectively, we’ve got to keep working to try and defend better.

“I’ve done a lot of work with the boys on how we defend in the area and I need to do more work with them outside the area because we tend to give away a similar opportunity most weeks and whether it ends up as a goal or not, that’s something we need to address and it’s my job to do that.”

Bonne gave the O’s a sixth-minute lead – heading in Jobi McAnuff’s cross – but Chester hit back in controversial circumstances with quarter of an hour played when James Akintunde’s effort was adjudged to have crossed the line despite Sam Sargeant’s body appearing to block the view of the linesmen.

If that frustrated Orient, what was to come sent them over the edge as Ross Hannah fired in a free kick from 25-yards in the 40th minute after Sendles-White was harsly penalised.

Sendles-White then saw red when Akintunde went down softly inside the area after Sam Sargeant had rashly come out of his goal.

O’s goalkeeper atoned for his error by saving the spot-kick from Hannah before McAnuff’s wonder strike earned Embleton and Orient a point.

The east Londoners interim head coach was sent to the stands soon after Sargeant had denied Chester the chance to go 3-1 up with the 36-year-old still unhappy with Sendles-White’s red card.

Embleton said: “I’ve just said to Jamie we’ve got to look at it and I got the opportunity to do so before I spoke to the press and I couldn’t believe it.

“When he (Akintunde) went down, all I could see was Jamie putting his hands on his head, so I thought something strange must have happened because you wouldn’t feel like that.

“You would be disappointed, but to show that emotion of disbelief I knew something must have gone on. I looked at it again and I can’t see any contact, so we’ll have to look at it because I don’t know what the process is, but if we can appeal it, we certainly will.”

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