Richie Wellens hails Paul Smyth’s stunning equaliser after Orient comeback win



Posted Sunday, March 20, 2022 by PA

Richie Wellens hails Paul Smyth’s stunning equaliser after Orient comeback win

Richie Wellens admitted Paul Smyth’s spectacular equaliser transformed the mood of the crowd as Leyton Orient fought back to beat Rochdale 3-1 in League Two.

Orient fell behind to Alex Newby’s sixth-minute strike but Smyth levelled five minutes before the break.

Ruel Sotiriou fired the home side ahead on 58 minutes and and substitute Harry Smith wrapped up the comeback 10 minutes from time with his 14th goal of the campaign.

The fightback enabled Wellens to mark his first home game in charge with a morale-boosting win, the Londoners’ first in nine home matches.

“The goal from Paul Smyth was a special equaliser and a massive turning point in the game,” said Wellens.

“I felt the win had been coming if I’m honest after two difficult away trips where we could have nicked a win. But today’s is an important one.

“The crowd stuck with us. Maybe that’s the accumulation of 15 games without a win but it was important they stuck with us.

“We changed our shape second half and matched them up and then I thought we steamrolled them and could have scored more goals.

“Their keeper has pulled off some good saves. We missed a few little chances we could have made more of and they have had one shot in the second half.”

Rochdale manager Robbie Stockdale pulled no punches after the defeat.

“We have said some pretty harsh words in our dressing room and the players know exactly how I feel about that game,” he said.

“It wasn’t good enough, particularly in that second period.

“First half I thought we played well and obviously got the opening goal but we missed a couple more chances and it took a fantastic strike from Orient to get on level terms just before half time which I didn’t think they deserved.

“Second half we stopped doing what you have to do in every match to get a result and that’s just basics.

“When we’re good, we seem to be very good but when we’re bad, we’re a very poor version of ourselves. Let’s be absolutely crystal clear, that second half it could have been more goals to Orient.

“They put lots of balls into our box. They pressurised us at every opportunity and they managed the game well.”

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