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By Tom Taylor, London24’s Leyton Orient blogger
Monday, February 11, 2013
After the disappointment of Tuesday’s night defeat against rivals Southend United, Tranmere Rovers on paper looked like the worst possible opponents to face. The Wirral based team have been top of League 1 for quite some time and would be desperate to wipe away last week’s disappointing defeat at home to Carlisle.
Name: Tom Taylor
Season ticket holder
Favourite player: Anthony Griffith
Most memorable game: Arsenal (Home) FA Cup 5th round 2010/11
Predicted finish: 14th
But for large spells of the match it looked like that it was the hosts who looked like fighting for promotion. From the kick off, Orient asserted themselves onto the game with a confidence and class that Russell Slade has worked hard to instil in his players. It seemed longer than the eight minutes it took for the O’s to take the lead, as they had created opportunities before that to open the scoring.
It could have easily been a two or more goal lead at halftime if it were not for some wastefulness in front of goal; but credit must go to Rovers keeper Owain Fon Williams who stayed calm in goal despite quite the onslaught. Orient headed into the break with arguably their best first half performance not resulting in the score line they deserved.
With undoubtedly a hairdryer treatment half time talk from Ronnie Moore, the visitors came out with the enthusiasm and desire you would expect the table toppers to play with. In a much more even second half both teams couldn’t seemingly find the goal they wanted.
Step up Martin Rowlands, who took the game by the scruff of the neck and blasted a terrific volley to beat the inform Fon Williams. Credit must go to Rowlands to have the bravery and skill to take on the shot after his penalty miss in the first half; it symbolised the character and belief which appears to be currently shining through this Orient squad.
Again the visitors showed glimpses of why they are up in the promotion hunt as they scored a well worked goal to give themselves hope; but once again the O’s showed some great mental toughness to see out the victory, despite a late Tranmere charge.
Another positive sign for Russell Slade must have been the bench he was able to select from. Sometimes in this season there has been few or little options bar youth in his substitutes, but on Saturday he had the luxury of many experienced professional to choose such as Shaun Batt and new signing Romain Vincelot who he was able to bring on to settle the match.
The east Londoners now head into an empty midweek for the first time since December, which should hopefully allow some of the players a much earned brief rest as they now prepare for a difficult match against relegation battlers Hartlepool at the weekend.