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Omer Riza proud of Leyton Orient players after holding Luton Town to draw

PUBLISHED: 20:00 14 April 2017

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark gets above Cambridge United forward Uche Ikpeazu to head clear (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient defender Michael Clark gets above Cambridge United forward Uche Ikpeazu to head clear (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The 37-year-old was delighted with effort of his squad and praised the performance of Aron Pollock and the rest of his defence

Omer Riza was pleased Leyton Orient were able to avoid relegation on Good Friday and praised the performance of his players at Luton Town.

The O’s held their own at Kenilworth Road and didn’t let Danny Hylton’s 33rd minute opener knock them.

An impressive second-half showing turned the tables in Bedfordshire as Liam Kelly and Tristan Abrahams netted for Orient.

Isaac Vassell equalised for the Hatters with 17 minutes remaining, but O’s claimed a share of the spoils to put off relegation for now.

“The talk before the game was don’t let this be the day we are gone because we have four more fixtures left and it is hard to play in them when it has happened,” said Riza. “We have given ourselves another game to fight and we live to fight another day basically, so that’s a bonus.”

There were a number of impressive performers for Orient and Aron Pollock backed up his strong showing last weekend with a solid display at Luton.

Michael Clark coped well with the challenge of starting at right-back before switching to a back three.

Riza was delighted with all of his players at Luton, but praised Pollock’s character and discussed his testing campaign.

He added: “Aron has done well and so has ‘Clarky’ and all the boys have done well. I thought Aron was solid and has stepped up to the plate because out of everybody he was probably one of the first to step into the first-team.

“This season he has had injuries, a thigh problem and a few niggly injuries and for me it is about giving them that confidence.

“I don’t mind if they go out onto the pitch and make mistakes because if you don’t do that then you are not going to get better and learn.

“Aron showed intelligence and character to get on the ball and play and he was solid defensively as well.

“Danny Hylton is not an easy player to play against either because I played with him at Aldershot and he was a pain then.

“Teddy (Mezague), Aron and ‘Clarky’ had to deal with him and then we had Sandro Semedo at the back because we started with a four and went back to a three and at the end we went to a four again.

“The boys had a lot to deal with, but that’s football and they have to learn to deal with those changes.”

Riza’s tactics adjustments paid dividends in the end with Orient dominating for much of the second half.

Michael Collins and Kelly were the senior O’s players at Luton and both lead from the front.

“You could see in the dressing room the senior players are proud of the youngsters and the youngsters are proud of themselves, which you like to see,” said Riza.

“They have had a tough time and it has been tough for everybody, but once you cross that white line you forget about everything for the 90 minutes and they did that and they should be proud of themselves.”

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