Leyton Orient defender Connor Essam is hoping his side build on their second half performance which saw them earn a 2-2 draw with Oxford on Saturday. The O’s were 2-0 down at the break but a change of shape and personnel helped Orient to grab a point with Jay Simpson and Scott Kashket grabbing the goals.
Essam who has played every game since joining from Dover Athletic in the summer is “enjoying being back in league 2″. Essam spoke after the draw on Saturday to leytonorient.com stating “I am pleased with my performances, I am only young at 23 and have got more to come with the more game that I play”.
The O’s defender highlighted that “we were disappointed the way we started the game, we don’t know whether it was the shape or personnel but we found it hard. We changed shape at half time and it was a real good performance 2nd half, we showed the attitude and desire we have in the camp”.
The O’s face two tough away trips to Morecambe and Luton this week with Essam keen that the way they finished the game on Saturday continues, “Luton have had a slow start but have picked up in last couple of weeks, we know what to expect and what a tough test it will be but if we bring the 2nd half performance into the game, I think we will pick something up”.
Manager Ian Hendon described the Oxford game as “definitely a game of two halves”, but was happy with his sides character in the second half. However, Hendon tried a change of system which failed to work but insists once again “his side gave away 2 soft goals , but 2nd half we went back to three in midfield, took both wingers and got a performance”.
Jack Payne was introduced at half time on Saturday and staked his claim for a start on Tuesday with an inspired performance. Orient found it hard to create chances in the first half but Hendon stated that “Payne was excellent when he came on, he controlled the game”. Speaking to leytonorient.com post match, Hendon “never doubted the spirit of his side, it is a hell of a point at the end, from being 2-0 down at half time, credit to the lads, they kept battling”.
Luton go into tomorrow’s clash after suffering their first defeat in 8 league games on Saturday as they went down 2-1 at Crawley. John Still’s men led at the break but conceded two goals in the second half to suffer defeat. Still was disappointed in the manner of the second performance describing it “as the worst half of football this season”. Speaking to lutontown.co.uk today, Still stated “Our overall form is good and we were poor for 45 minutes on Saturday but we won’t be affected by that”
After a slow start to the season, Luton beat Orient 2-1 in the Johnstone Pain Trophy in early September and haven’t looked back since. The Hatters have picked up 16 points from the last 24 available and now just sit 4 points behind the O’s and 6 off the automatic positions. Still thinks that “it is a fair reflection on the season so far, we need to get back to what we are doing, keep pushing on and we are all systems go for tomorrow night”
Still is looking forward to facing an old friend when he meets Ian Hendon tomorrow, “I have known Ian for years, Orient started well but they have just fell away a little of late. They are a decent side, Ian is a good guy and it has a little bit of a local ring to it and we are looking forward to it”.
- Luton have only kept 2 clean sheets in 17 games this season, without one in last 5 games but both clean sheets came at Kenilworth Road
- Luton have scored first in 5 out of their last 8 games with Cameron McGeenhan netting three in his last 3
- Orient have only 1 win in their last 9 games, picking up just 7 points from last 24 available
- Orient have conceded 1st in 7 of their last 9 games, winning just 1
Luton can call upon Paddy McCourt who has recently returned from International duty whilst John Still is set to have a full squad to pick from. Stephen McNulty will not be available after leaving Luton for Tranmere earlier today.
Jack Payne and Ollie Palmer will be pushing for starts after impressing off the bench for Leyton Orient on Saturday. Alan Dunne is available after serving his one match suspension at the weekend whilst Paul McCallum remains the only absentee after undergoing surgery for a knee injury today.
Head to Head – Leyton Orient 16, Draw 13, Luton Town 29
Last Meeting – 01/09/15 – Luton Town 2-1 Leyton Orient – JPT
- Tomorrow’s meeting will be the first league meeting since 2008
- Orient have only won 2 of the last 11 meetings between the two sides – losing 9
- Orient have only won 4 times away to Luton – last win came in 2008 in a 1-0 win
- Prior to that win, Orient lost the previous 7 games
Essam thinks his side are very close to replicate their early season form which saw them win their opening 5 games, “we are very close to be honest, maybe a bit of luck and solid at the back and we will be turning someone over; it won’t be long till we are on another run”
Prediction – Luton Town 1-2 Leyton Orient