New boss Williams makes a point
Tranmere Rovers 0 Leyton Orient 0 NEW Orient manager Geraint Williams saw his side earn a battling point at play-off chasing Tranmere on Saturday, writes TREVOR DAVIES. Chances were in short supply at both ends in a goalless stalemate, but there was no do
Tranmere Rovers 0
Leyton Orient 0
NEW Orient manager Geraint Williams saw his side earn a battling point at play-off chasing Tranmere on Saturday, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
Chances were in short supply at both ends in a goalless stalemate, but there was no doubt that the O's deserved a share of the spoils.
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Williams, the 47-year-old former Colchester boss, who was appointed last Thursday, praised the attitude of his new team afterwards and said: "We came here looking for all three points and although we didn't get that, it was important we took something from the game and, overall, it's a satisfactory start.
"Tranmere is a tough place to come to, but everyone has given their all and the players have been prepared to stand up and be counted."
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Williams admitted that he likes his side to play attacking football and score goals, but such a transformation may have to wait as O's battle for survival and, on Saturday, he was pleased with Orient's resilience as they reverted to the 4-5-1 formation that had been so successful at MK Dons recently.
"I was delighted with our defensive shape and to keep a clean sheet was important, especially when you come to places like this," said Williams, who holds the Uefa Pro Licence qualification.
"We responded, especially when they put us under pressure late on, but the effort and organisation was spot on and the lads worked so hard. It was a tough journey up, but their attitude was fantastic."
Williams, who initially joined on a contract until the end of the season, made two changes to the side beaten at home by Yeovil.
Top-scorer Adam Boyd dropped to the bench to accommodate the five-man midfield, while JJ Melligan missed out with a thigh strain. New loan singing Jimmy Smith made his debut in the centre of midfield, while there was a recall for Paul Terry.
The first half was an uneventful affair, but finally burst into life eight minutes before the break.
Tamika Mkandawire, again the stand-out player for the O's, headed away the danger after Jamie Jones failed to gather a Chris Shuker free kick and then the O's keeper pulled off a flying save to deny Edrissa Sonko.
Sandwiched between those two chances came Orient's best effort of the first half, when Dean Morgan sent Jason Demetriou clear on the left.
He cut in and fired off a shot that home keeper Danny Coyne dealt with comfortably.
Bas Savage replaced the injured Sonko at half-time, but O's dealt well with his physical presence, although Rovers skipper Antony Kay should have broken the deadlock with a close-range header from Shuker's corner, but his powerful effort flew wide of the mark.
O's responded when Demetriou caught Ryan Shotton in possession, but drilled a shot inches wide.
Skipper Stephen Purches almost caught Coyne out with a cross from the right, before Terry did well to block a Steve Jennings shot five minutes from time, following an error by Adam Chambers.
"I'm delighted for the fans, the support was magnificent and I'd like to thank them for making the long journey," said Williams afterwards, who will be assisted by former youth team and caretaker boss Kevin Nugent until the end of the season.
Orient's chief executive Matthew Porter explained the reasoning behind Williams' initial short-term appointment.
"It was a joint decision and gives all parties a chance to get to know each other," he said.