SLADE: Pressure was not a factor as Tranmere ruin play-off hopes
O’s concede sloppy goals as promotin hopes run out of steam
ORIENT ‘S play-off dream was shattered as they slipped to a shock 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Tranmere Rovers.
The home side paid the price for a slow start and conceded sloppy goals at crucial times and they now go into the final game of the season four points behind sixth-placed Bournemouth.
Ironically, the Cherries squandered a two-goal lead at Hartlepool and had Russell Slade’s side been able to carve out a win against Rovers, Orient’s charge would have gone to the final game of the season.
But after the game Orient boss Russell Slade refused to accept that the pressure of the play-off chase finally got to the players.
“I don’t think the players were feeling the pressure, it’s all about goals and Tranmere got the first goal and it gave them something to hang on to,” he said afterwards.
“We still believed at half time we could make a few changes and see what would happen, but it didn’t. We conceded a third goal quickly and that put pay to it.
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“We continued to try and play and probe, but credit to Tranmere, they defended well and made life difficult for us.”
A long, hard season looked to have finally taken its toll as O’s failed to impose themselves on the game early on and Aaron Cresswell’s stunning effort from 35 yards after just eight minutes gave Tranmere the lead.
O’s had plenty of possession, but no end product and things got worse on the stroke of half time.
Matt Spring lost possession, Tranmere broke away and Adam McGurk guided the ball into the net from 20 yards.
A double change at the break saw Scott McGleish and Tommy Carroll join the action, but O’s comeback hopes were crushed four minutes after the interval when Cresswell’s wicked free-kick was whipped across the six-yard box and hit McGurk, who chested the ball over the line.
It was 18 minutes from time before O’s tested visiting keeper Tony Warner when Dean Cox saw his shot blocked at the near post following good work by substitute Paul-Jose M’Poku.
But there was no sensational late twist – that was reserved for the clash at Hartlepool and by then Orient’s play-off dream was over, their brave late push to the play-offs had finally run out of steam.
Orient: Jones 5, Omozusi 5, Forbes 6, Barrett 5, Daniels 5, Spring 5, Chambers 5, (Carroll 46 mins), *Dawson 6, Cox 6, Tehoue 5 (McGleish 46 mins), Kane 5 (M’Poku 71 mins). Subs: Butcher, Whing, Jarvis, Crowe.
Referee: Graham Horwood.
Attendance: 5,302 (inc 331 Tranmere fans).