Leyton Orient must build on solid case from their defence at Morecambe
PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 September 2016
Simon O'Connor Photography
Andy Hessenthaler played back four together for first time on Saturday and it could be the way to go for the rest of the campaign
Leyton Orient could not keep a clean sheet at Morecambe on Saturday, but it was their best defensive display of the new campaign without doubt.
The O’s have struggled to stop the opposition scoring in their opening seven matches in all competitions this season, with just one clean sheet registered so far – in a 3-0 win over Stevenage on August 16.
Even on that occasion, they could have been trailing by two goals after just five minutes, but Boro wasted their chances and were punished.
Andy Hessenthaler watched his Orient team produce a more solid showing at the Globe Arena and it was enough for them to take home all three points last weekend.
Kevin Ellison scored from 25 yards in the 49th minute after Tom Parkes could only clear into his path, but Liam Kelly’s opener in the 27th minute and Jordan Bowery’s winning goal six minutes after Morecambe’s equaliser was enough to give the east Londoners a deserved victory.
Hessenthaler said: “We’re really pleased with the defence, but we are disappointed with the goal because it is a long ball.
“To be fair to ‘Parkesy’, he has got in the right position and then we have reacted a little bit too slow to the ball inside.
“I know Kevin, he’s experienced and finished it well with his wrong foot so I’m disappointed we didn’t keep a clean sheet, but it was a great response to conceding.”
Even though Ellison found the net, Orient could be proud of their efforts in defence with Alex Cisak only being forced to make two saves early on.
The back four of Nicky Hunt, Yvan Erichot, Parkes and Callum Kennedy stood up well to any pressure from the Shrimps and it enabled O’s to attack more, and they should have scored more than twice.
A combination of reasons were probably behind Hessenthaler’s men looking more solid than normal on Saturday, but one big factor has been a change in personnel.
Kennedy moved to Brisbane Road in the summer after being released by AFC Wimbledon, having helped them achieve promotion to League One via the play-offs.
But it was teenager Sandro Semedo, usually a left midfielder, who started the campaign at left-back.
The 19-year-old began brightly and looked good going forward, but was getting increasingly caught out in his own half and it was costing Orient.
Kennedy, having made his O’s debut against Fulham on August 9, was given another opportunity when Stevenage visited in the English Football League Trophy last Tuesday.
And the ex-Swindon Town trainee grabbed it with both hands as Semedo played left midfield and also showed what he is capable of.
It left Hessenthaler with a tough choice to make at Morecambe, but he got it right as Kennedy was given the nod at left-back and showed his experience throughout.
The 26-year-old defender got forward when he could, but more importantly always remembered his duties going the other way and O’s never looked in too much trouble.
Hessenthaler added: “I brought Callum to the club because I know he has great experience and he got promoted with Wimbledon.
“You need experienced people when you go to places like Morecambe and he’s been disappointed that he hasn’t played.
“Sandro had a good pre-season and has a bright future, but we brought Callum back in and it was a great response. He is a good professional anyway and just wants to show everybody he is a consistent performer in this group.”
Kennedy certainly showed that on Saturday and long may it continue.