Home comforts are a delight for Tamika

ORIENT defender Tamika Mkandawire believes that Saturday s long-awaited home success can provide the launch pad for better things this season, writes TREVOR DAVIES. Until Saturday s 1-0 win against Millwall, the O s had failed to win any of their previous

ORIENT defender Tamika Mkandawire believes that Saturday's long-awaited home success can provide the launch pad for better things this season, writes TREVOR DAVIES.

Until Saturday's 1-0 win against Millwall, the O's had failed to win any of their previous five home games this term. Indeed, their last victory at Brisbane Road was early last April, when they beat Colchester United 2-1.

After the game, a delighted Mkandawire admitted: "It's been a long time coming but, hopefully, we can build on that win.

"We have started the season slowly, but this could be a turning point. We have got to keep battling and climb up the table."

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And the defender, who has started to regain the form that had the scouts flocking to Orient last term, is convinced that relegation won't be an issue.

"Providing we show the right sort of attitude, I'm sure we can start to pick up some results," he said.

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Following last night's (Tuesday's) trip to Norwich, Orient hit the road again at the weekend, when they play struggling Wycombe.

"There is no reason why we can't go there and get something from the game," added Mkandawire, who was not only delighted with Saturday's win, but pleased to have kept a clean sheet, which was the first of the season.

"That's been a long time coming as well," smiled the defender, who had been linked with a summer move to the Lions.

"It feels good to keep a clean sheet and all the better that it came against Millwall."

While Saturday's derby duel might have lacked a little inspiration, O's certainly made up for it in perspiration, as they battled from start to finish.

And Mkandawire admits that Orient have to keep that work-rate going.

"I felt we worked hard and battled, and we had a bit of luck too," he said.

"But we knew it was going to be like that against Millwall and that's something we have got to do in every game, not just local derbies. We have got to be prepared to put our bodies on the line and graft hard in every game to get some more points on the board."

With both sides playing with commitment and effort, O's substitute Andros Townsend added the quality with his excellent goal after replacing the injured Jason Demetriou.

"It was a great strike to be fair," smiled the stand-in skipper.

"He does that all the time in training. That's what he can do and he took the goal really well."

With captain Stephen Purches out of action after undergoing surgery on a fractured cheekbone, Mkandawire has no problems leading the side.

"I'm sure he will be back in a couple of weeks, but I'm more than happy to take the armband while he's away," he confirmed.

With Mkandawire, one of the stand-out defenders in League One, being joined by the inspirational Ben Chorley in the summer, it's hard to understand why O's failed to keep a clean sheet in their first eight league games.

But Chorley, who was also in excellent form on Saturday, believes the shut out will be the first of many.

"I'm over the moon we kept a clean sheet. It's probably the longest I've been without one, so it's great to end that," said the former Tranmere man.

"As a back four we're comfortable and we've got good players in there, but putting it together as a unit takes a lot of work.

"I think Saturday's will be the first of many, because we have been together for a lot of games, so I'm sure we can build on it.

"It was a massive result. We put the graft in and we were rewarded for that. We got the fundamentals right and if we go into every game with that attitude we will be all right."

Following this Saturday's vital League One clash at Wycombe, the O's are back at home on Tuesday in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, when they entertain Brighton. The match starts at an earlier time than usual, at 7pm.

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