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Club News

MANAGER: The lads showed incredible character

Paul Simpson on the positives from Saturday's game

24 October 2022

Club News

MANAGER: The lads showed incredible character

Paul Simpson on the positives from Saturday's game

24 October 2022

It was one of those games that leaves you shaking your head on Saturday afternoon as key moments and decisions went against the Blues, often without rhyme or reason.

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Some of it was self-inflicted, some of it beyond control, but there were still a huge amount of positives to take from the encounter despite the result.

“I think the lads showed incredible character,” manager Paul Simpson said. “We were down to ten men from about the 35th minute, something like that, and the way they’ve gone about it, particularly in the second half, has been absolutely outstanding.

“I can’t ask any more of them, in terms of their effort and desire. Even some of the football we played was really good.

“We probably just let ourselves down in the final third with our finishes, we could probably have worked the keeper a bit more. We can take a heck of a lot of positives out of it against, let’s be fair, what is a very good side.

“They’ve got some good players and I think Archibald is one of the best players in this league. He’s got a wand of a left foot and he showed us that twice in the first half.

“The way we’ve gone about it is really pleasing and that’s why I’m massively disappointed that we’ve come away with nothing to show for it.”

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There’s always a sense of being slapped in the face when, after all of the build-up and preparation, a goal is conceded early in the piece, and the gaffer revealed that it was made doubly frustrating by that fact that it came from an avenue of approach that had been talked about.

“It wasn’t a great start,” he agreed. “We knew the threat of Smythe, Moncur and Archibald, and we’d shown the players the footage of how they’re players who want to cut in from wide to get onto their stronger feet.

“Before kick-off Smythe was injured in the warm-up, so he had to drop out, but the players still knew what the threat could be.

“We allowed him to come inside, but I still don’t think he should be scoring from that distance. It maybe took a little bit of a deflection, but I definitely don’t personally think he should have been scoring from there.

“It gives you a bit of a mountain to climb and we’ve got a fantastic delivery from a set play, Edmo gets his first goal, but then it’s about a minute, maybe two, and we give them an absolute gift of a second goal.

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“The frustrating thing for me is that since pre-season I’ve talked about taking no risks at the back, and there was a risk. Jon Mellish has slipped and again, Archibald has come up with a fantastic finish.

“For me we gifted them two goals in the first half, we’ve gifted them a red card - and it is a red card, I have absolutely no argument about that. There’s no doubt about it, that was a moment of madness from a player who has worked really hard to get himself back and fit again.

“He does that, gets his goal and that was a great finish from him. We’ve allowed the game to go away from us as group through a couple of crazy moments.

“Unfortunately if you’re playing against a team at the bottom of the league, you can’t afford to do that, and you certainly can’t afford to do it when you’re playing against a team at the top.”

The Orient lead was restored as the visitors hunted back to steal back possession on the edge of the Carlisle area.

“Let’s be brutally honest about it, there was absolutely no reason to take that risk, especially when they had a front three who were pressing up against us to try and stop us from playing out,” he commented. “

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“We invited a situation like that and as a group we’ve been punished. After that point I think we’ve shown incredible character to keep going and to try to cause them problems.

“We talk a lot about the fans and I thought they were magnificent once again. They stuck with us, they roared us on and it’s really disappointing that we’ve taken nothing.

“I can’t remember what I said to the players afterwards but I do remember saying that I was really proud of the way they went about it in the second half. We had energy and enthusiasm and a real desire.

“But it doesn’t matter what level you play at, you can’t gift goals. You can’t give good teams like that a leg up. I could feel there was a nervousness about them, even at 3-2, but we didn’t exploit that enough.

“We gave them their first and second goals, the officials have given them their third, and there are other things that went against us. It’s done, our next one is Tuesday, and that’ll be another really good game. They’ll have a big crowd and we’ve just got to be ready for it.”

But the quality of the Gibson goal was right out of the top drawer, with a tenacious build-up and a clever finish.

“It was really good football,” he said. “I thought Fin Back on his first game back was outstanding. He showed great energy and I’m also really pleased with Gibbo that he got his goal.

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“It was such a decent finish because it wasn’t straightforward at all. He tucked it away really well. We had other opportunities but maybe set pieces didn’t fall in the right place and the long throws didn’t quite come off for us.

“We had chances where we’ve had strikes on goal that haven’t made it through. Fin had one blocked, Gibbo had one go over the bar, Callum’s free kick was too high.

“The chances were there for us to get a draw, so we do have good things to talk about. I don’t want it to be a case of us all talking about it being the referee that’s cost us because sadly we’ve cost ourselves as well.”

“Obviously I’m really disappointed to lose our home record, but delighted with how we’ve gone about it for long periods of the game,” he concluded. “I’m unbelievably pleased with the support we had again.

“Now we need to go again because this was always going to be a tough week. It’s an even tougher start to the week when you reduce yourself to ten men, we just have to get ready to go again on Monday, ready for Tuesday night. 

“The positives, it’s really hard to pick individuals out but I thought Fin Back and Callum Guy were absolutely outstanding. Jordan Gibson deserved his goal, he’s been working hard to get that, but there were others.

“Jayden Harris came in and did really well, Jon Mellish just ran and ran, at one point I thought he’d ran out of steam but he got a second or third or fourth wind and kept going.

“Kristian Dennis worked tirelessly up front against two big physical centre-backs. So many positives that we can take out of it, but sadly we’ve got no points to show from it.”

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