Halifax's Clarke happy to finally get chance to thank Orient fans
PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 April 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
The former O's defender applauded the supporters after Saturday's National League game on his first return to Brisbane Road since leaving in 2015
Nathan Clarke was pleased to be able to say a proper thank you to the Leyton Orient supporters following the conclusion of Saturday’s dramatic National League match.
The O’s salvaged a point at home to Halifax Town after Matt Harrold struck in the 94th minute to ensure the game ended as a 2-2 draw.
Shaymen defender Clarke - after trying to stop Orient during the match - went over to the home fans at full time to show his appreciation for the support they gave him and the team during his three years in east London and was roundly applauded.
O’s former captain told this title: “I never got a chance to say goodbye and it was a chance to say thank you to the fans really.
“The time I spent here was fantastic. The fans really got behind me, so it was nice to say thank you and I guess they were happy with the late goal so it made it a little easier!
“But it was good to say thank you because the support they gave me while I was captain was really, really good.”
On the game itself, Clarke showed his typical dogged defensive qualities throughout the entertaining affair in E10.
Halifax took a surprise lead in the ninth minute through Manny Duku after some slack play at the back by the hosts and the Shaymen went 2-0 up when Devante Rodney curled home from the edge of the area with 45 on the clock.
Josh Koroma pulled one back for Orient with essentially the last kick of the first half and it set up an intriguing second period.
Eventually Justin Edinburgh’s team penetrated Halifax again when Harrold diverted the ball into the corner after a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time.
It left the Shaymen with mixed emotions come full time, Clarke added: “To go away to top of the league and get a 2-2 draw, I guess we have to hold our hands up and be happy with that.
“Yet when you are out there playing and the time they score, it is hard not to feel deflated and the changing room felt deflated, but we have to view this result as a positive.
“We have really pushed them and we had one or two chances at the end ourselves and if we had taken a little bit more care, I think we would have been okay.”
Now Clarke doesn’t have to face Orient again this season, he firmly wishes his old club all the best for the rest of the run-in.
The 35-year-old concluded: “I really do hope they can win the title, I really do. It has been a tough few seasons for the supporters, but look at the crowd they had against us.
“Nearly six thousand were there, so that is fantastic support and no one ever deserves the right to be as high as they can, but I do hope they push on and have a strong finish to the season because it is very tight.”