It’s onwards and upwards for Williams
Stockport County 0 Leyton Orient 1 SIMON CHURCH grabbed the only goal of the game at Edgeley Park on Saturday as the O s completed their third win in a week, writes TREVOR DAVIES. Church struck on 53 minutes to lift Orient seven points clear of the drop
Stockport County 0 Leyton Orient 1
SIMON CHURCH grabbed the only goal of the game at Edgeley Park on Saturday as the O's completed their third win in a week, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
Church struck on 53 minutes to lift Orient seven points clear of the drop zone and manager Geraint Williams could hardly contain his delight at the final whistle.
"It has been a fantastic week," he said, after the O's had beaten relegation rivals Brighton & Hove Albion and then picked up back-to-back away victories at Carlisle United and Stockport County.
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"It's been a hard week but all credit to the players, staff and everyone behind the scenes.
"We prepared correctly and credit ultimately goes to the players for getting the two away wins.
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"It was a different type of performance to the Carlisle game, where the pitch was beautiful and was made for good passing.
"We didn't want to come off at the end and make the excuse about it being a bad pitch and we haven't have to do that. I'm delighted that we have shown we can do what's necessary to win in different circumstances."
Williams named the same starting line-up that had won at Brunton Park on Tuesday and although Stockport needed a victory to try and force their way into the play-off places, there was a quiet start to the game as both sides struggled to make much of an impression.
It was O's defender Charlie Daniels, the man who had broken the deadlock at Carlisle, that almost did it again on 12 minutes. The former Spurs man ventured forward and a clearance from Matty McNeil cannoned off him and over the bar after Scott McGleish sent in a cross.
At the other end, Dominic Blizzard shot wide after County dangerman Tommy Rowe set him up.
Just before the break, the lively Jason Demetriou curled an effort just over - but the O's should have gone in at the break with an advantage.
On the stroke of half time, a Daniels free-kick caused havoc in the home defence and Sean Thornton's header back across goal just needed a touch into the County net, but on-loan defender Jordan Spence could not apply a finish.
That was about the sum total of the first-half action and after the break it was the O's who looked the more threatening and they wasted another glorious opening on 49 minutes.
Church, who has become much more of an influence as his loan spell has progressed, was presented with a free shot at goal after Michael Rose's attempted clearance cannoned off the O's striker.
But home keeper Owain Fon Williams dived to his left and turned Church's effort around the post.
Stockport replied with half-time substitute Oli Johnson firing wide, but it did not take Church long to atone for his earlier miss.
Just four minutes later, he gleefully tucked home the all-important strike after his low cross had been blocked.
O's were well worth their advantage. Demetriou, who played with pace and energy, was denied a second goal when Williams palmed away his goalbound effort.
As O's continued to look dangerous, Thornton, who was the star of the show and became the game's most influential figure, drilled a shot just wide from the edge of the area.
Stockport refused to throw the towel in and Chris O'Grady flashed an effort just wide 18 minutes from time.
Paul Terry, who provided the ideal foil to Thornton in midfield, then blocked a shot from Rowe and Jamie Jones saved from O'Grady, as the home side looked to get back into the contest.
But it was Orient who almost stretched their advantage, when Demetriou had a late strike ruled out for offside and then he forced another save from the home keeper, as the Williams' revival bandwagon continued to role.
"It was an all-round team performance and that was pleasing," added the boss.
"I thought we put ourselves under a little unnecessary pressure at the end, because we should have been out of sight, but it's an excellent three points."
And he was right!