Steve Davis hails Leyton Orient’s character after late show earns point at home to Eastleigh
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Spitfires boss Richard Hill left frustrated after seeing his team concede in the seventh minute of stoppage time at Brisbane Road
Steve Davis hailed the character of his Leyton Orient team for not giving up at home to Eastleigh in the National League this afternoon.
The O’s needed a 97th minute equaliser from Craig Clay to salvage a point against Richard Hill’s Spitfires.
Ayo Obileye’s first-half penalty, 13 minutes after David Mooney had missed from the spot, seemed to be enough to earn Eastleigh a win.
But Clay popped up to fire home and spark wild scenes in E10, as O’s kept their unbeaten record at Brisbane Road.
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Davis said: “It was a test of character and that was what it was about. We could have been in front with the penalty opportunity, but we didn’t take it and they did, so that was the difference in terms of chances.
“I thought in terms of our play and if you take the goal out then we were the better team in the first 45 for at least 30 minutes.
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“At half time the message was more of the same and to find a way of breaking them down. We knew at some point we would have to take a risk and the full-backs would go a little bit higher and further up the pitch.
“At the end we threw our centre back Josh Coulson up to occupy the defenders and maybe that helped a little bit, but the main thing is they showed real great spirit to come back and get something out of the game.”
It was a memorable full-debut for Clay having replaced Charlie Lee in the starting XI after the first-team skipper suffered suspected anterior cruciate ligament damage to his knee in training this week.
But there was some doubt over the fitness of the former Motherwell midfielder too after he got a knock on the same day.
“We did a session and lost Henry Ochieng as well as Charlie and Craig, so we only had Alex Lawless fit on Thursday,” said Davis.
“At that stage we weren’t sure who we would play in midfield and who would be fit, so Charlie’s injury leaves us a little bit short.
“He is going to be out for a significant amount of time, which is a massive blow to the club and himself of course.
“It is a blow in terms of numbers, so we will look at that and sit down with Martin (Ling) as Charlie is out for a number of months.”
Orient now need to recover quickly with an away match at new boys Maidenhead United on Monday afternoon (3pm).
Davis expects to assess the fitness of the squad tomorrow, although appears hopeful he won’t have to make many changes.
It does seem like that one or two of the substitutes could earn a starting XI spot though, with Rommy Boco looking sharp today.
“Monday is going to be tough and we need to look at that tomorrow because a group will train and another group will walk around, so we will have a better idea of who is fit for Maidenhead,” said Davis.
“We have played six games now, so you would think the recovery from one to the other will almost be there, so hopefully it is.”
The quest for a target man continues for O’s, but Davis revealed good news may be on the horizon soon.
He added: “There is some news on the target man, but I can’t tell you too much more. Hopefully after Monday we will have more news on the big man.”
It was a frustrating day for Eastleigh and their manager Hill who was disappointed to see his team concede in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
He added: “It is a kick in the teeth and it was a backs to the wall performance, but you are going to expect that at Leyton Orient.
“There are four thousands fans screaming at the referee every time one of our players touches the ball, so he is going to be influenced. There is no point saying they aren’t because they are, but at the end of the day we deserved to win that football match.
Hill continued: “When you come to a place like this you have to rely on getting what you deserve and we didn’t get what we deserved and for a lot of the game it was like that, but we fought through and battled.
“At the end Leyton Orient are celebrating a draw with Eastleigh, so I think that shows you what has happened to Leyton Orient over the last couple of years.”