09 April 2024

Leyton Orient should have coped with 10 men against Exeter – Richie Wellens

09 April 2024

Richie Wellens blamed his side’s lack of experience after his Leyton Orient side, who finished with 10 men, drew 2-2 with Exeter at Brisbane Road.

Orient were holding a comfortable two-goal lead with Ollie O’Neill and substitute George Moncur on the scoresheet.

But the context of the game changed when Brandon Cooper was forced off with injury during the second half leaving Orient, who had already used all their substitutes, to battle out the final 20 minutes a man down.

Orient were then penned in and around their own penalty area and the Grecians finally broke through a resilient rearguard action with a Millenic Alli header before Will Aimson got the final touch to Tommy Carroll’s shot to salvage a point.

“I thought it wasn’t a great game in terms of quality,” said Wellens.

“Both teams gave too many turnovers, especially us. When we go into a 2-0 lead and down to 10 men, it’s a problem. But it should only be a small problem and we just lacked experience.

“The schedule and the amount of extra time we’ve played is hard for everyone and I think every single club have lost a lot more players this season. For us, losing another two players to injury tonight was not ideal. We always wanted to give Dan Agyei half an hour but losing two players made us run the risk with substitutions.

“We’ve got certain players out of contract and some players are not improving, so we’ve got some decisions to make in the summer.

“The game tonight was comfortable for us but the injuries and the lack of bodies we had before tonight was severe. But it’s extreme now, we’ll have a patched-up team for Derby on Saturday.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell admitted it was a hard-earned point.

“We had to work extremely hard for the point to come back from behind,” he acknowledged.

“I thought the first half was fairly even. We started the game well but then Orient came back into it. I wanted a bit more intensity and I thought we got that second half.

“The two goals we gave away were extremely poor from our point of view and they didn’t create many chances outside of them.

“Late on I thought we created enough chances to win the game, so it was great fight and spirit from us to keep the unbeaten run going. It’s another point on the board but we wanted more so we now need to look at the remaining three games to see what we can take out of them.

“We put a lot of balls into their box and it was a backheel I think from our centre-half Will Aimson for the equaliser from a brilliant short corner, but at that moment we were creating lots of opportunities.

“But to be 2-0 down and come back, I’m delighted.”

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