Writer: Jenny K
Date:Saturday April 30 2011
Sat 30th April/15:00
The O's play-offs hopes are officially over after a 3-0 home defeat against Tranmere Rovers, not the ideal way to end our home campaign after a fantastic season.
Going into the game we mathematically still had a chance and unfortunately other results would have gone our way (Bournemouth losing a lead to draw) but goals from Aaron Cresswell and Adam McGurk (2) for Tranmere ended our chance.
Russell Slade (who sported a lovely white wig under his cap before the game, a very nice touch that the crowd enjoyed) welcomed back Jamie Jones in goal and decided to start with Jonathan Tehoue after his winning goal at Carlisle.
Paul-Jose Mpoku also made a return, starting on the bench along with Scott McGleish, who was obviously not deemed fit enough to start.
Rather than looking like the team who needed the win and had something to play for, Orient started slowly and were punished early on.
The ball fell to Tranmere's Cresswell 35 yards out and he fired a superb long range effort past Jones. Orient should have closed him down but that takes nothing away from the left-back's shot, giving Jones little chance in goal.
The O's failed to get going on the day, our passing game proving fruitless with Tranmere pressing well and confining us to playing it between the defenders and holding midfielders.
It was this pressing that lead to Tranmere's second just before the break. Matt Spring was caught out in midfield and McGurk split the O's defenders, who seemed to have switched off momentarily. McGurk strolled towards goal and easily fired past Jones.
It was a big blow on half-time and effectively ended the game, 2-0 was still a score that the O's could come back from but our performance on the day never warranted a comeback.
Russell Slade responded at half-time but I was surprised by the changes he made. Tommy Carroll and Scott McGleish replaced Adam Chambers and Jonathan Tehoue. Whilst the players coming on were expected, it was the exits of Tehoue and Chambers I was surprised by.
Tehoue seemed to be putting a good shift in, winning headers and a few flicks but he was generally too isolated upfront. Chambers was also doing a good job in midfield but was forced into a more creative position due to a lack of breakthroughs for the O's, a role he didn't seem comfortable with.
I would have personally taken off the clumsy Spring and Harry Kane, who was dropping too deep and leaving Tehoue isolated.
But the subs, especially Carroll, did make a difference. The young Spurs' loanee provided a few incisive passes but unfortunately a lack of cutting edge in the final third meant most of his work lead to nothing.
Any chance of the subs making a notable difference on the game ended when Tranmere got their third four minutes into the second-half. The left foot of Cresswell, which caused us problems all afternoon, whipped in a good free-kick that was knocked home by McGurk.
With that goal Tranmere looked content with just the three and sat back, allowing the O's a bit more time on the ball.
Paul-Jose Mpoku entered the game in the 71st minute and began exploiting the space. The ball often looked glued to the foot of Mpoku as he picked up the ball across the pitch and ran freely at the defence, picking out the O's players at will which most of the other players had struggled with all afternoon.
His impression on the game will undoubtedly raise the question as to whether he should have started or at least come on sooner. On today's showing Mpoku should have had more time on the pitch and unfortunately it looks like that will be last we will see of him (and possibly Carroll and Kane) at Brisbane Road.
The fact that Tranmere keeper Tony Warner was forced into his first save on 72 minutes from Dean Cox shows just how much the O's lacked attacking ideas and a cutting edge up front.
It would have been nice to get a goal today, for the sake of the scoreline and the fans who have turned up for the final home game still with play-off hopes.
But it wasn't to be and the top six looked a long way off based on today's performance. The defence were caught out too many times, especially Elliot Omozusi who had a game to forget. Apart from Stephen Dawson, the midfield didn't create enough breakthroughs for an isolated frontline.
Whilst before the game we were still in the race, we never got close enough to the play-offs to give ourselves a chance. Throughout the season we never broke into the top six and the four that have now secured the play-offs were probably deserving for being in the mix most of the campaign.
But a top 10 finish is something to be very proud of and we still have the chance to secure 7th with a win next week at Plymouth. Today was not the perfect send off for the players but the previous 44 games (give or take a few) have given us so much to smile about.
Efforts must now divert to keeping this team together and whilst the rumour mill of departures and arrivals will soon break into overdrive, keeping the key stars of the season at the club is crucial.
Leyton Orient: Jones; Omozusi, Forbes, Barrett, Daniels; Spring; Chambers (Carroll 46), Dawson, Cox; Téhoué (McGleish 46), Kane (Mpoku 71)
Tranmere: Warner; Kay, Taylor, Goodison, Cresswell; Akins, Welsh, Weir, Welsh, Robinson (Blanchard 78), Jennings (Bakayogo 69); McGurk (Labadie 61)
Date:Saturday April 30 2011
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|Leyton Orient||2||-||0||MK Dons|
|5. Sheff Utd||46||19||18||9||14||75|
|7. Leyton Orient||46||21||8||17||7||71|
|8. MK Dons||46||19||13||14||17||70|
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