SWINDON Town manager Mark Cooper lamented the two clumsy tackles which gifted Leyton Orient the two penalties they required to see off the Robins 2-0 on Saturday.
Jamie Reckord brought down Moses Odubajo three minutes before half-time and Troy Archibald-Henville pulled over David Mooney seven minutes after the break to give Lloyd James two free shots from 12 yards, both of which he converted to send the O’s top of League One.
After the game, Cooper criticised his defenders for their recklessness, saying that if Town had managed to keep the game level at 0-0 to half-time the whole shape of the match could have been different.
“I didn’t think there was too much danger in the first half and a ridiculous tackle gives them a penalty just before half-time, which gives them the ascendancy,” he said. “Second half, first 20 minutes we were not very good and then when it’s 2-0 and the game’s over we start to play a little bit.
“Yes, we didn’t threaten their goal enough, but we have a way we want to play and that’s what we’re trying to do – as frustrating as it might be at times, we have a way we’re trying to play and we try to stick to it.
“You can’t make two challenges like we did in the penalty area and give two penalties away, and expect to win games of football.
“The first one, the Orient right winger is facing the stand and our defender tries to tackle him and then Troy has got himself in a muddle and rugby tackled the boy just on the edge or inside the box.
“The worst thing is that we’ve not really made Orient work for it, we’ve given them two goals. When you do that against a team that’s riding high at the top of the league they take advantage of it.
“We got to 43 minutes with a clean sheet and if we get to half-time it’s a totally different game. You go in 1-0 down, their tails are up and ours are down.
“In the first half I thought we were comfortable but we gave them the penalty and that’s all the encouragement they needed.”
With Nile Ranger, Alex Pritchard, Ryan Mason, Grant Hall, Wes Foderingham and Louis Thompson missing through injury and Nathan Thompson and Jay McEveley suspended, Cooper had to field a makeshift team at Brisbane Road.
The likes of Ryan Harley, Jamie Reckord, Ben Gladwin and George Barker were given the chance to impress but couldn’t shift the match in Town’s favour.
“It was difficult with the personnel we have to change the style,” he said. “We didn’t really have any attacking options. Dany N’Guessan’s groin was not right, we couldn’t really risk him and it was difficult to change the style.
“We had a depleted squad, I said that before, I wasn’t looking for excuses but we had a depleted squad, which you could see with the team we picked today.”