Leyton Orient head coach Richie Wellens was proud of the way his players continued to fight in their 3-2 defeat against League One rivals Oxford United.

O's found themselves three goals down early in the second half, but hit back thanks to an own goal and Ruel Sotiriou strike and kept pushing to get back on terms.

But they came away empty-handed as they suffered a first league defeat since the end of September.

And while Wellens noticed similarities to their earlier game against Portsmouth in mid-August, he was pleased to see a difference to his side.

"For the first 50 minutes it was very reminiscent, very similar to the Portsmouth game at home," he told the club website.

"We played really well in parts and went 1-0 down, it's a mistake, so it's difficult.

"But then we concede just before half-time and just after half-time. The first 50 minutes was very, very similar.

"The positives are where we just drifted against Portsmouth, didn't really affect the game and felt sorry for ourselves, we looked like a team that lacked experience, we still lack experience but we fought, we got the goal back straight away, we got another goal and it's just a bit frustrating.

"I'm proud of the players because they responded well at 3-0 down, they're a good team."

Ruben Rodrigues put the visitors ahead just past the half-hour mark, after Mark Harris had hit a post.

And Billy Bodin doubled the advantage in first-half stoppage time after Rodrigues saw another effort come back off an upright.

Rodrigues added a third on 47 minutes, but Finley Stevens turned a cross from Tom James into his own net to give O's hope soon after.

And Sotiriou smashed home a second when Brandon Cooper nodded the ball down, before Dan Happe hit a post.

But Wellens was frustrated to see his side left with too much to do, having allowed themselves to go off-script, and admits they are far from the finished article.

"We just didn't stick to the game plan and that's frustrating," added Wellens. "For the first 20 minutes, we didn't want to play.

"We thought they had certain weaknesses, where we could just play forward, dominate them physically, land on second balls, play forward again and really make it tough for them that way.

"We looked really good playing like that. It's not how I want to play but you have to respect the opposition, they're a good team.

"We just had moments where we decided 'ok, we don't want to stick to the game plan, we're going to pass backwards, we're going to play short' against a team, with that 3-4-3, it's quite difficult to play through the middle of them.

"And we found ourselves 2-0 down and they could've had a couple more. But it was all our mistakes.

"I never felt at any stage they were going to cut us open in the first half, the only danger was from counter-attacks. The threat they've got - pace. Harris is quick, Rodrigues is quick, [Stanley] Mills is quick.

"And when we turned the ball over, sometimes from in general play, sometimes from set plays or long throws, they got us on the counter-attack.

"We've got two midfield players on the edge of the box, that when the ball is going in from TJ [Tom James], their first thought is to get on the end of it to score.

"But it's not, it's to make sure that your zone is covered, so they don't counter-attack.

"It's a little lack of experience, but you're playing against a team that's got a lot of experience, a lot of players that have played a lot of games at the level.

"I was proud of the players but we've still got a lot of improvement in us."