Richie Wellens: Orient didn’t give justice to the events of last Lincoln game

By Sports Desk November 21, 2023

Richie Wellens felt Leyton Orient let down their fans after their rearranged game with Lincoln ended in a late 1-0 defeat.

Orient had been leading 1-0 in the original League One fixture on October 3 when the match was abandoned after 82 minutes due to a medical emergency. O’s fan Derek Reynolds suffered a cardiac arrest and was treated pitchside before he was later pronounced dead.

This time around, Ethan Hamilton struck in the 89th minute to earn a first win for new Lincoln boss Michael Skubala, and the performance left Wellens downbeat.

“It was a really disappointing night for us,” he said.

“I thought first half we were OK but just passed the ball for the sake of it and never got enough crosses into the box. We should have taken the lead with Joe Piggott through a header.

“Second half we were really, really poor.

“It wasn’t the performance that gave justice to the events which took place the last time we played them.

“And for our supporters to pay twice for that is not good enough and not acceptable from our players and the staff.

“Second half we just drifted and we could have won it and probably should have won it.

“Overall it was probably one of the most disappointing games I’ve had since I’ve been at the club.

“The squad is being tested at the moment (because of injuries) but no excuses we were poor tonight and we lacked energy.”

The visitors were indebted to goalkeeper Lukas Jensen for a couple of outstanding saves from Brandon Cooper and Ruel Sotiriou in either half that protected their clean sheet.

Skubala, who was appointed last week and was overseeing his second match in charge, praised his team’s display.

“I thought the lads were brilliant to a man,” Skubala said.

“It’s not an easy place to come here, particularly after the battle we had Saturday at Stevenage and we had to dig really deep and weather a few chances so I’m really proud of them.

“We tweaked a few things at half-time to try and give us more control in the game. I felt we didn’t have enough in the first half but second half we started to threaten and cause more problems for the opposition.

“We freshened things up with our substitutions and stopped them landing the ball in the box with all the players working hard.

“Our goalkeeper made a huge save for us at 0-0 which kept us in the game and we know he’s got that big performance. His kicking was excellent too but overall, it was a great team performance and everyone put in a team shift.

“It was a great finish for the winning goal from Ethan Hamilton.

“I said to the players we have to be sacrificial at times. Be good team mates to each other. That is a key part of a team’s journey.”

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