FIVE-STAR ORI­ENT HIT FORM AT LAST

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sam Mor­gan To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

AFIRST win in six games came too late to save Ley­ton Ori­ent’s au­to­matic pro­mo­tion am­bi­tions but man­ager Rus­sell Slade be­lieves it will do his side a power of good in the play-offs.

A dou­ble for David Mooney and goals from Kevin Lis­bie, Dean Cox and Chris Dag­nall saw Ori­ent end their re­cent run in style.

The dam­age had al­ready been done though with Wolves seal­ing their pro­mo­tion to the Cham­pi­onship and Brent­ford, seven points clear of the O’s, look­ing odds on to book up the re­main­ing spot.

In­stead Ori­ent look set to bat­tle it out with Rother­ham, Pre­ston and Peter­bor­ough in the play-offs and Slade hopes his side can go into that as the form side.

“It is im­por­tant that your for­wards score at any stage of the sea­son and it wasn’t go­ing to be long be­fore they re­turned to it.We scored some smash­ing goals,” he said.

“I’m not in­ter­ested re­ally (in se­cur­ing a home sec­ond leg). When you look at the stats for the pay-offs I don’t think you can read into it.

“I’ve been in two play-off fi­nals and there’s no script. People think that fin­ish­ing third is the worst po­si­tion to fin­ish but 50 per cent of them go up.

“People say ‘don’t fin­ish third’ but it’s ridicu­lous. It doesn’t mat­ter. It will be about the ‘now’ sit­u­a­tion and how you are on the day. It’s all that mat­ters.”

With their first at­tack, the O’s took the lead through Mooney who latched-on to John Lund­stram’s pre­cise through ball be­fore calmly fir­ing be­yond Stu­art Nel­son’s grasp.

Just four min­utes later Cox dou­bled Ori­ent’s lead when Mooney off­loaded to the 29-year-old who smashed in his 14th goal of the sea­son from range.

Jamie Jones gath­ered up Amine Lin­ganzi’s limp shot 27 min­utes be­fore skip­per Adam Bar­rett nod­ded just over the bar. Livewire Moses Odubajo skinned his man af­ter the half hour and fed a pin­point cross to Lis­bie whose bul­let header whizzed past the help­less Nel­son.

Mooney nabbed a sec­ond straight af­ter Lis­bie robbed Michael Har­ri­man and played in the Ir­ish­man who side-footed his 20th goal this term. Just af­ter the in­ter­val Mooney was de­nied a third by Nel­son be­fore Lingzani’s de­flected ef­fort landed just past the post.

On 56 min­utes Lis­bie fired over af­ter Odubajo tore down the right wing, be­fore Cox had his shot as charged down.

Dag­nall added the gloss to a pul­veris­ing O’s per­for­mance with a cool fin­ish be­fore Craig Fa­gan drilled in a con­so­la­tion to re­store a sem­blance of pride for the rav­aged Gills late on. Gilling­ham man­ager Peter Tay­lor said: “That was prob­a­bly the most em­bar­rass­ing 45 min­utes I’ve ever had as a man­ager. All you saw was the very clever play from Ori­ent and the very bad from us.

“You didn’t see any at­tack­ing play from us but you saw poor de­fend­ing, poor de­ci­sion mak­ing and we were just too far away from them. If you do that (go two-down) against a bad team you’re in trou­ble and do it against a good team you’re cer­tainly in trou­ble.”

STAR MAN DAVID

Y MOONE

Ori­ent Ley­ton FIRST OF MANY: David Mooney scores his first past Stu­art Nel­son. In­set: Dean Cox finds the net

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