CAPTAIN CLARKE’S GLASS IS HALF FULL
DESPITE MISSING out on automatic promotion, Leyton Orient captain Nathan Clarke is just thrilled to be taking his side into the play-offs.
The O’s suffered defeat at Crawley thanks to goals from Gwion Edwards and Andy Drury, while Chris Dagnall scored for the visitors – with Crawley the only side in League One to do the double over Russell Slade’s men.
But with Brentford sealing promotion to the Championship, Clarke knows how big Orient’s task is.
“To be in the play-offs is such a fantastic achievement,” said the skipper.“I was at Huddersfield at one time and the club went in a couple of times and it’s a massive thing. We have to go into it positive.
“The result against Crawley is disappointing but we have to move on from that and look forward to two massive games in the playoffs.
“You just have to embrace the play-offs, it’s a special thing. Over two games anything can happen. We look forward to the Wolves match, although it could have been the game that decided the champions.
“Momentum going into our final games is in important but we need to keep everyone fit and ready for the play-offs.”
Crawley grabbed the lead in the 26th minute after a lovely ball from Dannie Bulman found Edwards unmarked in the area, allowing the midfielder to slot in.
Almost instantly after, David Mooney could’ve equalised but the striker curled his shot wide of the target.
Six minutes before half-time, Orient did find that equaliser. Lloyd James’ corner was met by Mathieu Baudry, whose knockdown was fired in by Dagnall from close-range.
Throughout the game, Edwards was causing Orient problems. In the second half the Swansea loanee had a shot from 25 yards tipped over the crossbar and a header cleared off the line in quick succession.
With 20 minutes to go, the hosts regained the lead. A lovely cross from Mike Jones was met by an unmarked Drury, who headed the ball in expertly.
Both sides spurned excellent chances one after the other, with Mooney getting a poor connection on his strike from close-range while Josh Simpson did the same.
In the dying seconds, the visitors pounded the home goal but nothing could get through thanks to some heroic defending from Kyle McFadzean.
“You could tell in the last 15 minutes that Orient weren’t going to get through our back four,” said Crawley boss Gregory.
“They had a shot a minute from the end and McFadzean dived in front of it full length, on the floor and chested it clear, which says everything about him.
“When they were sticking balls in the air, you could see McFadzean rising above everyone else – he’s my John Terry.
“It’s no surprise since Mourinho has gone back to Chelsea he’s played Terry and they’ve started to look like the Chelsea of old. Chelsea are solid with Terry in the middle of defence and McFadzean is like my Terry.”
STAR MAN GWION
y Crawle DEVILISH: Andy Drury, left, after scoring the winner