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Archived News from August 2003

17th August 2003 14:28

Brushed Up: "We Showed We Really Wanted It"

PAUL BRUSH praised the O's battling spirit after they snatched a draw at the death on Saturday against Mansfield.

Gary Alexander's 94th minute header earned injury-ravaged Orient their first point of the campaign, and Brush was pleased with the determined attitude he had seen from his side.

He was angry at referee Andre Marriner's decision not to disallow Mansfield's goal for a foul on Glenn Morris, but preferred to focus on the positive sides of Orient's performance.

“The fourth official said to me when we hit the post that it wasn't going to be our day and we had a couple more chances but we got what we deserved today, he said.

“Mansfield had some other chances too but we're very upset with their goal because our goalkeeper had two hands on the ball.

“We couldn't believe it, but the players didn't give up and Gary Alexander had a goal disallowed, David Hunt hit the post and we played virtually 4-2-4 at the end.

“It was a magnificent cross by Billy Jones and a great finish from Gary who'd done so well all afternoon.

“After going behind Wayne Purser had a spell of playing straight down the middle and we tried to be positive. Things have gone against us all week and we had four players out there nowhere near fully fit and anyone else that was fit got a game.

Brush also complimented the performance of his defence, which was bolstered by the presence of the fit again Matthew Joseph.

“We had nothing to lose but we showed we really wanted it and battled until the end, he said.

“We had a bit of fortune when Iyseden Christie hit the bar and we gradually got better at the back after looking a bit nažæ at the start.

“Matthew Joseph's not fit but he played as much for his talking, and Billy and Justin grew in stature as the game went on.

“We had a good following with lots of noise and they knew it wasn't the right decision against us. Plenty of support is what the players need because they're all going to battle and if we all stick in it together we've got something to build on.

“There are seven good players to come back in and once we get a win under our belts we'll really trouble sides.

“We're getting better each game and we have to work on some more team play but as a young side they're learning things that will hold them in good stead.”
Orient keeper Morris Stunned By Ref's Gaff
GLENN MORRIS was as amazed as anyone that referee Andre Marriner allowed Mansfield’s goal to stand on Saturday.

Morris was barged over by Andy White as he rose to claim a Wayne Corden free-kick, and despite having the ball in both hands, he was not awarded a free-kick.

“I can’t believe it wasn’t given as a foul, he said. “I saw the ball come in and I was trying to be positive and come out and I got two hands on it but got clattered and the ref should have given a foul.

“I was on the floor injured so I didn’t have chance to say anything to the ref but the rest of the team thought it was a foul and our fans behind me did as well.

But in the absence of Lee Harrison, Morris, who played more games than any other goalkeeper last year, was pleased to get his chance and is looking forward to giving boss Paul Brush some tough decisions when it comes to making his selection between the pair.

“All I can do is my best when I get a chance and we battled hard and kept going to the end when we got our reward, he added.

“I hope there’s serious competition between myself and Lee for the shirt this year, that can only be good for the club if there are two players battling to start in one position.

“I’m there if the manager needs to play me and I’ll always do my best. We needed a result to get a bit of confidence – three defeats in the first week wouldn’t have been good - and this was a good point away from home.”
Report from brisbaneroad.com:
Alexander Rescues Deserved Point
By Leo Tyrie

GARY ALEXANDER netted a vital injury time header to earn hard-working Orient their first point of the season. Mansfield's Luke Dimech had scored controversially after 13 minutes but the O's efforts were rewarded late on.
A headed goal deep into injury time from Gary Alexander earned Orient their first point of the season.
Mansfield had earlier taken a hotly-disputed lead when Luke Dimech took advantage of a clear foul on Glenn Morris to stroke into an unguarded net. Hard-working Orient went onto have a goal disallowed, penalty claims rejected and saw a David Hunt effort crash against the post.
But just as their vociferous band of traveling support thought their team¡¦s efforts were to go unrewarded, Alexander popped up to convert Billy Jones¡¦ excellent cross to ensure that justice was done.
Paul Brush made two changes from the side that lost in midweek to Cardiff as the injured pair of Lee Harrison and Ciaran Toner were forced to sit out. Glenn Morris and Matthew Joseph were their replacements as Brush opted to keep faith with the 4-5-1 system.
The hosts started brightly with Iyseden Christie and Andy White unsettling the O¡¦s backline early on with their blend of pace and power. Morris had to be off his line sharply with four minutes gone to prevent the former scoring against his old employers, but Justin Miller and Billy Jones soon settled to provide an effective barrier in front of their young ¡¥keeper.
But just as Orient appeared to be getting on terms with the home side, referee Andre Marriner ¡V in his first season on the league list ¡V decided to let White¡¦s clear foul on Morris to go unpunished as the O¡¦s stopper rose to collect Wayne Corden¡¦s inswinging free-kick. The ball was released from Morris¡¦ hands on impact and Dimech, almost apologetically, slotted home.
Orient were incensed, but their anger increased their resolve and after Morris was forced to tip over smartly from Christie on seventeen minutes, it was the visitors who were to go on and create the cleaner opportunities.
The Maltese international Dimech ¡V who was outstanding throughout at the back ¡V blocked from Alexander after Wayne Purser had burst through down the left on eighteen, and nine minutes later home stopper Kevin Pilkington did well to repel Alexander¡¦s effort from a tight angle.
Despite playing up-front on his own, Alexander was never isolated with Purser and Tom Newey supporting the lone frontman at every opportunity and their hard work seemed to have been made worthwhile when Alexander converted Matt Brazier¡¦s cross at the far post on 38.
However, their joy was shortlived as the linesman¡¦s raised flag indicated an offside decision.
At the other end White flicked a Corden header over in stoppage time, but although Mansfield peppered the O¡¦s backline with crosses, Morris wasn¡¦t called upon to make a serious stop before half-time.
After the break Mansfield again were out of the blocks the quickest, but after that mini-storm was weathered, Brush¡¦s men enjoyed their best spell of the game.
Seven minutes after the restart Hunt came within inches of grabbing his first senior goal when Matt Lockwood¡¦s deep free-kick picked him out at the far post. The summer signing controlled and sent in a measured shot past Pilkington and on to the far post. A grateful Pilkington smothered the rebound as Orient wondered whether it was going to be their day.
Five minutes later Wayne Purser ¡V whose second half performance was quieter than the first - played Newey in. Pilkington came to the Stags¡¦ rescue again though, parrying the Orient man¡¦s effort away for Dimech to thump clear.
Mansfield breathed a sigh of relief as their lead remained intact and the visitors¡¦ impetus seemed to ebb away as the half wore on.
Christie had a dangerous-looking curler deflected behind by Miller and sub Chris Beardsley miscontrolled when played through on goal, but Orient stood firm in the face of a barrage of crosses and corners, and as the final portion of the game arrived, they began to find their feet again.
By this time Chris Tate and Lee Thorpe had been introduced to join Alexander in the final third and when Thorpe outmuscled Dimech 30 yards out with ten minutes to go an equaliser seemed inevitable. But Thorpe hesitated and his eventual weak effort was comfortably stopped by Pilkington.
Four minutes of injury time were indicated and in the first of those Christie thumped a close-range header against the bar.
Orient broke through Thorpe, and his pass-back to Kevin Stephens resulted in a cross that found its way through to Jones at the far post. The O¡¦s youngster controlled on his chest and pinged in a beautiful driven cross for Alexander to rise and loop a header past the despairing Pilkington.
Justice had been done and a point was the least Orient deserved. Season 2003/04 has begun.


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