Hendon: Super Jay needing some help
UNDER-PRESSURE Orient manager Ian Hendon feels his side’s defending means Jay Simpson’s goalscoring exploits are going unrewarded after he rescued a point at Stevenage.
The Football League’s top scorer made it 20 goals for the season when he struck in the second minute of stoppage time to deny the hosts after Armand Gnanduillet’s double.
Despite the elation of seeing their team snatch a point so late, O’s fans made clear their feelings on an indifferent campaign at the final whistle by loudly chanting: ‘Hendon out’.
“It just seems to be the story at the moment,” said the boss.
“We’ve seen the goals again and it’s just poor defending.
“We work on it all week and we ask the guys to do a job and sadly they’ve not done it again, so all that hard work that Jay is doing at the moment is to no avail.
“Jay is on the best run of form in his career, so there are some highlights. He is working his socks off, he’s getting his goals and he needs a bit of help, whether that’s from partners up front or defenders keeping clean sheets.”
Stevenage had their first clear chance when a long ball found its way to Jamille Matt, who prompted a good save out of Alex Cisak.
The visitors came closer still when Chris Day spilled Blair Turgott’s effort before Boro captain Ronnie Henry cleared Simpson’s rebound off the line.
The visitors were awarded a penalty just before the hour when Fraser Franks was judged to have handled a shot from Simpson, who calmly stroked in his spot-kick.
The hosts were able to draw level with 16 minutes left as Tom Pett’s cross-shot from the right was headed in by Gnanduillet from close range.
And the game was soon turned on its head as fellow sub Ben Kennedy chipped a lovely ball ahead for Gnanduillet to run on to and thump into the bottom corner.
But the O’s were able to salvage a point two minutes into added time when the ball fell to Simpson and he drove his shot into the top corner.
Stevenage manager Teddy Sheringham said: “I’m very disappointed with the penalty decision but we played fantastically after that.
“It is hard to take. I just don’t think it is a penalty from shooting like that and hitting someone’s hand.
“We played fantastic football after that in very difficult conditions.We stuck to our way of playing, kept trying, worked our socks off.
“The desire was fantastic to get back into game, keeping the ball at the right time, and we got our rewards.”
STAR MAN JAY SIMPSON