Steve Davis knows Leyton Orient have to defend and attack better after falling to third consecutive National League defeat
PUBLISHED: 16:30 16 September 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
After O’s failed to take their chances, Hartlepool United made the most of two set-pieces to take all three points at Brisbane Road
Steve Davis admitted Leyton Orient have to find a way to break teams down that sit behind the ball after watching Hartlepool United frustrate his side at Brisbane Road this afternoon.
Jobi McAnuff’s early goal looked to have the O’s on course for all three points in the National League, but set-pieces cost the home side again.
Jonathan Franks volleyed in on the stroke of half time following a Nicky Deverdics set-piece and Deverdics was involved straight after the restart, as his free kick was headed in by Rhys Oates.
After Hartlepool had scored twice in a matter of minutes, Orient huffed and puffed, but never looked like finding a way back into the game.
Davis said: “I enjoyed the first 40 minutes and it was a very dominant performance and there were some really good performances from the boys without Hartlepool really creating anything.
“Then they got the free kick and the second phase of that was disappointing and I think the lads were still feeling a little bit hard done by.
“I think the lads probably came out for the second half thinking the free kick probably shouldn’t have been a free kick and after conceding from it I think they felt a little bit sorry for themselves and lost their concentration and didn’t start the second half well.
“And it is another free kick, again I felt it was harsh, but we have conceded from it, so we can look at it and say we were a little bit unlucky, but we can also say we didn’t defend them two set-pieces well enough and that’s been the difference.
“Our performance and what we did with the ball was very good, although less so in the second half because they made it difficult once they scored the second.
“We have noticed a pattern emerging in this league that once we fall behind, teams are quite happy to hang onto it and say we need to break them down.”
After Hartlepool took the lead, Orient couldn’t find a way through their back four despite putting the visitors under some pressure towards the end of the match.
There is no doubt the O’s missed the presence of someone like Matt Harrold up front and also David Mooney, after he had to come off with 65 on the clock having picked up a shoulder issue.
With Craig Clay also being substituted with a hamstring issue, Orient have a number of people unavailable.
Davis added: “We have seven out and it looks like we have two (Mooney and Clay) more to add to that, so we could have nine out for the game next weekend.
“We’ll have to wait and see how they are on Monday and they just seem to be building up. I do think it is a culmination of when we started pre-season.
“A lot of the players hadn’t done anything before that and we got them in too late, so we’ve had to push them and rush them through to get them reasonably fit for the games and because the body isn’t in condition it breaks down.
“I think all of the players injured at the moment are as a result of that.”
Regardless of the issues Orient have in terms of players available, going forward they must defend set-pieces better.
It proved costly on Tuesday night against Halifax Town and it was the difference in the end at Brisbane Road.
The O’s not only need to improve when defending corners and free kicks, but also when they are attacking from them.
“We have certainly not scored enough from set-pieces, but in terms of the goals we have conceded – it is just about people defending properly and not losing concentration,” said Davis.
“We need people to be brave and put their head on it and for two occasions we didn’t do it and it has cost us.”