SHIRTLIFF AND LING REACTION
Audio interview with Peter Shirtliff from Mansfield 103.2: listen here
Audio interview with Peter Shirtliff from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed) http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/realmedia/football/2006/stags_leyton_home_manager.ram
"That result was definitely harsh on us - the best team lost.
"But that's football and it goes like that sometimes.
"We didn't take our chances, on another day we would have. Then we gave a soft penalty away. That about sums the day up.
"I thought we played very well in the first half without getting the goal our play justified. But we huffed and puffed a lot in the second half.
"Until the penalty I thought we had looked quite comfortable and they had not caused us too many problems. I am sure Martin Ling thinks they are a bit lucky to get three points.
"I don't know if that's the end of our Play-off hopes. Who knows what will happen. We have four games left and we are looking to win them all.
"It was a decent game between two decent sides. My young players will have learned something from it. I have told them they need to be winning the tight games 1-0 if they want to get anywhere."
"At This Stage It's All About Points"
MARTIN LING was delighted with his side's response to a poor first half at Mansfield on Saturday, with the O's again displaying their defensive qualities to claim a hard fought 1-0 victory.
Orient were put under pressure for the majority of the opening period, but survived to the break with their goal intact and pushed on sufficiently to register their tenth away win of the season.
And Ling also recognised the importance of their three-point haul ahead of Monday's promotion showdown with Grimsby.
"We only seem to be performing in 45 minute chunks at the moment," he said. "We were poor in the first half as we didn't get anything going and we didn't get close enough to them.
"They had too much time to get balls into the strikers' feet and we didn't get any tackles in.
"But we kept in their half a lot better in the second half, as you could see in our tackling, ball retention and regains - it was certainly a big improvement in the second 45.
"It's all about points at this stage. We've said all along that 80 is the target and I still feel that'll be the mark we need. If it comes through two scrappy wins and a scrappy draw I'll be a happy man.
"It's going to be nervy but I feel we've got enough character and experience to see the job through."
Orient's backline, which has functioned so well that they haven't conceded a goal at Brisbane Road since mid January, took their form on the road to Mansfield and Ling was again thrilled with his defenders' contribution
He continued: "The defensive record has come on in leaps and bounds recently, but the thing that was most pleasing today was that while the defence for most of the season has been Mackie, Zakuani, Lockwood and Miller, there were two different faces in there today with Barnard and Tann and the same results have come.
"We've got a good defensive mentality in there and the midfield four is prepared to put the effort in to protect the back four too.
The O's boss was also full of praise for another large travelling O's contingent.
"The fans have been superb away from home all season - they've had plenty of good games to watch but I thought they were a massive help.
"I've said before that the management team need to be spot on, the players need to be spot on and the fans need to be spot on between now and the end of the season - they were certainly spot on today.
"If we can get a win over Grimsby it'll take us four points clear with three to go, so it's totally in our own hands now."
"It's a Massive Result"
MATT LOCKWOOD showed a steely nerve from the spot for the second week in succession to notch the only goal of Saturday's tense victory over Mansfield and the O's left-back is thrilled to have fired his side back into the top three.
Orient had been out of the division's automatic promotion slots since January, but having regained control of their promotion destiny with their 1-0 success at Field Mill, he is determined not to relinquish the opportunity,
"When you come in and hear that Grimsby have drawn and that we've gone top three it brings home just what a massive result this is," he said.
"It may not have been the best performance in the world but, as I've said before, it's all about results now and we've gone and nicked a 1-0 win - that's all you need to do.
"The gaffer said going into today that we had five games left and that we wanted to win all five. This is one of them and it takes a little pressure off Monday's game, which nevertheless is still going to be massive."
The O's had failed to impose themselves in a first half that Mansfield dominated, but they improved after the break and Lockwood was happy to take command of the situation with his spot kick 15 minutes from time.
He continued: "Like last week the penalty was so important because it was the first goal. Obviously there was pressure on me but as soon as a penalty is given I'm always confident.
"I've only missed one this season and that was because I slipped and scuffed it, but today I saw the goalkeeper diving early so I put it the other way and it was nice to see it go in the back of the net.
"By taking the lead it gave us something to hold on to - they went three up front and just whacked it long but that played in to our hands because John and Adam were doing well in the air.
"It was a shame that Gaby got injured but Adam Tann came on and did fantastically. We've kept another clean sheet and it just shows the strength we've got in the squad."
Orient's three point haul lifts them above Grimsby in the table ahead of Monday's clash betweeen the clubs and Lockwood insists that the Mariners will be under greater pressure for the Brisbane Road fixture.
"We've gone above Grimsby with today's results so the pressure is on them to get back in the top three.
"They have to come to us and try to win and that may suit us, turning it into a sort of away game for us where they are attacking and we have to hit them on the break.
"It's going to be a big game and we'll probably have our biggest crowd of the season, so fingers crossed we can go and get the win that will put four points between us with three games to go, which will be a very nice situation to be in."
by Leo Tyrie
Latest | April 2006