CHURCHILL AIDS ORIENT EFFORT
RUSSELL Slade is channelling the spirit of Winston Churchill to inspire his Leyton Orient side to Championship football next season.
Goals from Kevin Lisbie and Chris Dagnall sealed a comfortable win over struggling Tranmere as the O’s continued their preparation for the play-offs.
And Slade is now plotting a route to Wembley glory having navigated the east London club to their highest ever points total.
He said:“It’s important to go into the play-offs with a bit of momentum and belief. It’s all about preparation and planning which we’ve doing since we’ve known our fate.
“It’s a huge challenge but one we deserve. We’ve worked very hard this season and want to progress to Wembley.Whoever we meet we will be ready and waiting, and with the crowd behind us I’m sure we can progress.
“Planning for the Championship is the only thing in my mind. We’ve even got a little poster of Churchill in my office – it’s like my war room. Like Leyton Orient,Winston was up against it as well. When we’re up against the odds we will overcome.”
The O’s were in control from the early stages and dominated possession throughout the first half without really creating much.
Dean Cox went close after four minutes with an inventive effort with the outside of his right foot from the edge of the box which Owain fon Williams did well to palm away low to his left.
But it was not until the 36th minute that another chance came when Shaun Batt burst through, only for his powerful effort to hit the side netting.The hosts eventu- ally took the lead just before the interval when Gary Sawyer’s header was blocked by fon Williams, falling to Lisbie to slot home from close range for his 16th goal of the season.
The O’s went close twice in quick succession after the break, first with a Lisbie effort from a tight angle which was saved by fon Williams after being put through by Cox.
Then on the hour Moses Odubajo forced fon Williams into a stunning save down low to his right to tip a powerful effort round the post at full stretch. Substitute Dagnall sealed the victory with 13 minutes to go in farcical circumstances as fon Williams scuffed a clearance way out of his goal, allowing the former Rovers striker to fire home.
Tranmere are now in serious relegation danger having slipped into the drop zone with one game remaining, and caretaker boss John McMahon admits there is not much more he can do.
“We need to win now,” he said.“It’s out of our hands now but that’s the way it is. The same mistakes have been happening all season but all I can do is work on the things we need to.
“I can put the players in the right positions but can I make them switch on? It’s down to individuals. I’m not passing the blame or passing the buck but that’s the situation we’re in. We haven’t
dealt with a lot of things.”