UNBRIDLED JAY FOR O’S
Orient peg the Chairboys back to remain League Two top dogs
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.”
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