Carl Fletcher bemoaned a “shocker” of a decision by the referee to allow Plymouth Argyle’s first goal to stand as they thrashed Leyton Orient 4-0 on Tuesday night.

Zak Rudden’s handball in the build-up to Joel Grant’s opener was spotted by almost everybody inside Home Park aside from referee Craig Hicks and his assistant, and that seemed to down Orient as they went on to concede a further three goals in the first half through Rudden, Callum McFadzean and a Joe Widdowson own goal.

Fletcher was taking charge of his first O’s game since being announced as the new head coach last week, but he would’ve been hoping for a much more positive start, particularly as he was facing his former club.

Speaking to the club website after the game, Fletcher said: “It’s a shocker from the ref. I’m a little bit disappointed that the ref and the linesman didn’t see it but these things happen, they obviously change games, but we needed to be better in certain things in the first half.

“I think they were the only two out of the 9,000 that didn’t see it. You didn’t need VAR. You didn’t even need a decent pair of glasses. It’s disappointing that neither of them saw it. Sometimes you’ve just got to say ‘I’ve made a mistake’ which they don’t do.

“There’s a lot of work to do but the lads kept digging in, they were grafting away all night. It’s very easy for them to drop their heads and almost sulk about it to a degree but they kept giving everything they had.”

With four conceded in the first half, it was almost inevitable that Fletcher was going to make changes for the second period.

Louis Dennis came on for James Dayton, who continues to clock up the minutes on his return from injury, and while not a defensive change by any means, the O’s looked a lot more assured in the second half and managed to keep Argyle from scoring any further goals.

On the second half performance, Fletcher said: “It was okay but since I’ve come in we’ve probably had about three hours on the training pitch so there’s a lot of work that we need to do.

“The core of the group and the graft and the will to do well is there which is really pleasing and I think it was important that in the second half we showed a bit of character, put in a solid performance and didn’t concede anymore goals.

“Every day since I’ve been here has been a learning day, about people, characters, what things are good, what things need to improve. We’ve had a tough couple of games, both away at Grimsby and here, big distances, but we’ll be working hard to improve on certain things and hopefully get it right for Saturday.”

It’s a first home game for Fletcher this weekend as Orient host Carlisle United, who have lost four straight games in League Two, and the boss is hoping for an immediate response from his side.

He said: “It’s another tough game, they come thick and fast, but that’s football. You work hard to put things right and that’s the season. There’s games after games and you do as best you can, you keep trying to improve."