UN­BRI­DLED JAY FOR O’S

Ori­ent peg the Chair­boys back to re­main League Two top dogs

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matt Barker

JAY SIMP­SON rid­ing to the res­cue is be­com­ing a fami­lar sight for Ley­ton Ori­ent but head coach Ian Hen­don be­lieves a lack of ser­vice is hold­ing him back.

Simp­son can­celled out Wy­combe midfielder Matt Bloom­field’s opener with Ori­ent’s first shot on tar­get, as the Chair­boys made life dif­fi­cult for the League Two lead­ers.

Hen­don how­ever de­clared him­self sat­is­fied with a draw against fel­low pro­mo­tion-push­ers, though warned that his side must learn what it’s like to have a tar­get on their back.

“It was a good point,” ad­mit­ted Hen­don. “We’ve come up against a good side.

“Yes, we would have loved to have three points, but it was a bat­tling per­for­mance.

“Jay’s got six goals now, we’re de­lighted with him. That’s what he does, that’s what he’s good at and we need to start get­ting the ball to him a bit more of­ten than what we did.

“We can play many sys­tems, we’ve got a few things up our sleeves if we need them. But we’re aware that teams are now match­ing us up, try­ing to stop us play.

“It’s not a prob­lem. Peo­ple are chang­ing the way they play against us to adapt to our qual­i­ties, so we have to change as well.Who knows what we’ll do next week.”

The visi­tors were quick to set­tle in

a fast-paced half and showed plenty of signs of prom­ise, though Garry Thompson rather snatched at a suc­ces­sion of shots from the edge of the box in the first ten min­utes.

Wy­combe were find­ing space in among the O’s diamond mid­field for­ma­tion, break­ing quickly and run­ning at the home side’s back line with ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

Ori­ent had their mo­ments too; Sammy Moore should have done bet­ter with a shot from dis­tance which sailed over the bar, while Simp­son went close with a strong header af­ter 15 min­utes.

But as the first half de­vel­oped, the O’s be­came more nar­row, lack­ing a winger to get in some crosses.

Wy­combe kept at it, and looked con­fi­dent in pos­ses­sion, play­ing a crisp pass­ing game. At the other end, Dean Cox, back in the side af­ter be­ing side­lined with an in­jury, tried to link up with Simp­son, and the for­mer Ar­se­nal striker was un­lucky to just miss con­tact af­ter slid­ing in front of an open goal in the 36th minute.

Bloom­field’s goal ar­rived in bizarre cir­cum­stances in the 41st minute, as Ori­ent skip­per Mathieu Baudry seemed to kick the ball at the same time as the Wy­combe midfielder. Ei­ther way, it was a sloppy goal for the home side to con­cede at a cru­cial time in the game.

Ol­lie Palmer’s ar­rival off the bench in place of Lloyd James saw the O’s start the sec­ond half in a 4-33 for­ma­tion, adding ex­tra guile up front, but leav­ing the mid­field rather stretched.

It even­tu­ally paid off in the 66th minute when Palmer broke free, beat his marker and found sub­sti­tute Blair Tur­gott, who fed the ball through to Simp­son to fire past Matt In­gram. It was the first goal Wy­combe have con­ceded on their trav­els this sea­son.

Tur­gott went close with a neat shot from just in­side the box, while Simp­son just missed out on a sec­ond when In­gram saved with his feet in the 84th minute.

The home side built up the pres­sure late on, though cru­elly lost their mo­men­tum af­ter the game was de­layed for a one-man pitch in­va­sion.

But Gareth Ainsworth was nev­er­the­less pleased to take some­thing from a tough fix­ture – de­spite his team look­ing the more likely to be the vic­tors for long stretches of the game.

“It’s a tough place to come,” said Ainsworth. “Ori­ent are a team that’s go­ing places and it think it shows how far we’ve come, that we can bat­tle like we did and al­most nick the win.

“We thor­oughly de­served the draw, no ques­tion.

“My lads are a bit down that we haven’t taken all three points, which shows what we’re like as a squad now. Roll on next week.”

PIC­TURES: TGSPHOTO

SIMP-LY DONE: Jay Simp­son nets his sixth goal of the sea­son

BLOOM AND BUST: Matt Bloom­field nets the opener be­fore Jay Simp­son lev­els for Ley­ton Ori­ent STAR MAN JAY SIMPS

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