Ross Embleton bemoaned Leyton Orient’s defending after they let a 2-1 lead slip to lose 3-2 at home to Crawley Town.

Orient twice took the lead through Josh Wright and then Lee Angol, but a Nathan Ferguson goal in between those kept Crawley in the game before former O Ollie Palmer struck twice in two second-half minutes.

The double blow was cruel on Orient, who had worked hard to get into both of their winning positions, but the defending, particularly for Palmer’s first, left a lot to be desired.

There was also a defensive switch for the O’s, changing to a four-man backline after Joe Widdowson’s injury in mid-week, with Dan Happe dropping to the bench and James Brophy slotting in at left-back.

Speaking after the defeat, Embleton said: “There were problems at the back but not because of the formation. There were problems at the back today because I don’t think we defended our box well enough.

“I don’t think it matters if you have a back five, a back three, a back four – individually sometimes you have to make decisions and defend appropriately, and I don’t think we did that today.

“I think the fact there was a new formation wasn’t a true reflection on the goals that we let in. It was poor moments from us in the game that allowed Crawley to get three goals.”

The goals were the first Orient have conceded at the Breyer Group Stadium this season, although two defeats on the road have also brought five goals against the side, and Embleton thinks his defenders are currently in the process of adapting to the higher division’s attacking quality.

He said: “I think defensively as a team we’re finding out what the league is about. I’ve just said to the lads in there that there has to come a point where you learn from your mistakes and that you correct them and you develop a ruthlessness in our own box that is going to help us.

“We’ve kept a couple of clean sheets already, but it’s going to help us in games like today where we don’t quite kill teams off in the manner that we’d like to.”

While the boss wasn’t happy with the defending overall, he put the loss more down to individual moments rather than a collectively poor performance at the back.

He said: “I don’t think there was a huge amount of opportunities created by them. I don’t remember a particular amount of saves Deano [Dean Brill] has had to make in comparison to Glenn Morris. It was more those individual moments.
“We had a bit of misfortune on the second one where it sort of hits Josh [Wright] out of nowhere but we had four chances to clear it with the first one. Jobi [McAnuff] has just said in there that we had plenty of chances to clear it or block it or make something better than conceding a goal, and then the third one the striker gets in at the far post when he should be tracked and marked appropriately.”

Next up for the O’s is a trip to Salford City, who joined Orient in promotion from the National League last season, and it’s a challenge that the boss is looking forward to.

He said: “Obviously it’s something we look forward to because of the history and the background of the two clubs. It’s going to be an interesting and a tough challenge like they all are week in week out.

“We’ve got a good week now, a chance to breathe because we haven’t got a midweek fixture so we can settle every down. We haven’t got any travelling, we haven’t got to get on the road. We can get ourselves working fully so that we’ll be ready to go into the game and hopefully build on some of the positives that there was today.”