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Hessenthaler hails O’s character after beating Pompey

PUBLISHED: 18:11 26 December 2015 | UPDATED: 18:11 26 December 2015

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler (left) (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler (left) (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Orient’s number two credits players and plays down incident between himself and the president following the full time whistle

Leyton Orient assistant manager Andy Hessenthaler praised the character of his team after watching them beat Portsmouth 3-2 at Brisbane Road.

Things didn’t start well for the O’s as Gareth Evans put Pompey ahead after just four minutes, deflecting in Kyle Bennett’s cross.

Ian Hendon’s men were given the opportunity to get back on level terms midway through the half, however, when Adam Webster fouled Jobi McAnuff inside the box.

Webster received a red card and Jay Simpson slammed home the spot-kick before Ollie Palmer headed the hosts in front on the stroke of half time.

Orient captain Mathieu Baudry was then sent off for an incident with Portsmouth’s skipper Michael Doyle before Palmer headed in his second.

That made it 3-1 but the visitors again responded with Evans pulling one back and despite late pressure, the hosts held on for a terrific three points.

Hessenthaler said: “Alex Cisak made some fantastic saves and that is what he is there for, we’ll always tell you that. He is the last line of defence so when things do get in we are hoping he will make those saves.

“At times Portsmouth did get in too easy and fair play to them, they caused us more problems when Baudry went off. We just didn’t seem to be able to cope. That is why we changed it.

“Unfortunately we had to take Jay Simpson off because he had a tight calf and he could be struggling for Monday now, which is a big blow to us. We put an extra body in midfield to try and stop their flow.”

Orient’s number two felt his side did well to get back into the contest after losing a goal so early on.

He also admitted Palmer’s first goal on the stroke of half time came at just the right time for the hosts.

“Portsmouth got the early goal when the fella has come inside and his ball has gone through a lot of bodies. I think it has taken a deflection which is a tough start for us,” added Hessenthaler.

“We showed good character and it is a foul for the penalty and last man so the referee has followed the letter of the law. We don’t like to see players being sent off, but that was the case and it gave us a little bit of impetus to kick on.

“It gave us that confidence and for most of the first half afterwards we caused them problems. We got the second just before half time which was perfect timing.”

During the interval, the message from Hendon and the coaching staff was to remain professional and not doing anything silly.

Unfortunately captain Baudry didn’t follow those orders and received a straight red for coming to blows with Doyle after the Pompey skipper had fouled the French defender.

Orient scored from the resulting set piece, Palmer heading in his second, but it was the visitors that finished strongly.

Hessenathaler added: “At half time we said don’t do anything silly, make sure you are professional because you never know with referee’s. Something might happen and it could even it up.

“Matty has done something silly, he knows that and he has apologised. You can’t do that and it changed the game again. It put the ball back in their court and they got the confidence from that - even though we got the third goal pretty much straight after the red.

“It was a tough afternoon, but we needed a win in the league. We had been five games unbeaten before today and now that’s six with two wins so hopefully today is the start of getting a few wins.”

There was also allegedly an incident between the O’s assistant and president Francesco Becchetti after the full time whistle.

Becchetti was on the pitch celebrating before doing a lap of honour, waving to all the home fans.

Some kind of incident was said to have happened regarding the pair during that time, but Orient’s number two played it down.

“It is Boxing Day to be fair,” joked Hessenthaler when asked about an incident between him and Becchetti.

“It was nothing, it is fine. It was just a little bit of banter that has been going on between us over the past few weeks and it probably looked worst than what it was, but it is all good.

“He is a passionate guy, you can see that. We are all passionate. I am, all the coaching staff are and the players are as well as the fans. We are all desperate to win so it was a little bit of fun and games at the end.

“We have to concentrate on what we are doing, but like I say he is a passionate guy and he wants Leyton Orient to do very well.”

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