United boss Russ Wilcox expressed his frustration after his side were unable to build on Tuesday’s win against Coventry as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Leyton Orient at Glanford Park.The impressive mid-week victory over the Sky Blues – their third home consecutive home success – had appeared to offer a source of potential momentum from which the Iron could kick-start their season.
However, it took less than three minutes for Russell Slade’s Orient to go in front as Scott Cuthbert headed Dean Cox’s corner past Bobby Olejnik.
Although the hosts rallied to equalise through Matt Sparrow early in the second period, they were only able to keep parity for two minutes as Jobi McAnuff’s strike proved enough for the visitors to take all three points.
The manner of the defeat after Tuesday’s show of character disappointed Wilcox, who told The Iron Player: “It’s disappointing. You can’t look for excuses, because it’s the same 18 I’ve chosen.
“I’ve rewarded every player, whether they played or whether they didn’t on Tuesday. It’s the same squad I’ve chucked out, and it’s the first time I’ve been able to do that this season.
“You’re wanting that endeavour, commitment, passion and quality to continue, but it just didn’t today. We spoke before the game about getting on the front foot with the momentum from Tuesday night, getting the ball forward a little quicker, particularly in the first five minutes of the game.
“We did that really well against Coventry to stretch them which allowed us to play football, but it didn’t happen today.”
The sluggish start from United came at the ultimate price when Orient took an early lead, and Wilcox added: “We gave the ball away cheaply, which resulted in pressure; a long throw, a corner, then the goal.
“When it comes into our box, we’ve got to make first contact, but we didn’t. That means we’re 1-0 down after two minutes, and everything goes out of the window.”
The away side had gone into the contest as underdogs following a disappointing run of form, with question-marks over the future of long-term manager Slade.
Such circumstances bore a particular source of frustration for Wilcox after the final whistle, as he added: “They weren’t on a great run, having not won in five before today.
“I’m sure they came here with nerves and trepidation, but after two minutes that changes because the momentum swings their way. After that, they’re in control for the next period.
“The fans were in good spirits before the game, but that goal changes the atmosphere. You’ve got to make sure you get a foothold in the game, and we didn’t do that today.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, and others, on The Iron Player.