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League One

Play-Offs now likely for Leyton Orient - Russell Slade

24 March 2014

Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade conceded it was looking more like the Play-Offs for his side after they managed only a point at Walsall.

A second-half own goal by Saddlers' defender Paul Downing, who had earlier put his team in front, meant the visitors avoided back-to-back defeats, but their hopes of a top-two finish are slipping away.

Slade said: "I think it's safe to say we shall be in the play-offs.

"It's going to be a struggle to get one of those automatic spots, but we shall keep going and won't stop.

"They are a terrific group, fought back and it was a valuable point, but it may not be enough, though we won't give up.

"I was really disappointed with the first 20 minutes and they (Walsall) deserved to go in front.

"But in the second half everything about us was so much better.

"We were a bit fortunate to get the goal, but from all the pressure we deserved it, and I thought there was only one side going to win it - the only dilemma was that they might hurt us on a counter-attack.

"Walsall are difficult to beat. They don't concede many, but they don't score many."

Downing, just recalled to the side, put Walsall ahead in the 14th minute with a close-range shot from Craig Westcarr's corner after Milan Lalkovic had earlier hit a post.

But Orient were the better side in the second half, though their goal was lucky in the 77th minute.

Skipper Nathan Clarke hit a long-range shot that was going off target until it struck Downing and left goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell stranded.

Walsall manager Dean Smith, a former Orient player and assistant manager, said: "For the first 20 minutes we were the best team and should have been out of sight and won the game without playing really well.

"Their goal was deflected, but we should have had a free-kick for a foul on Febian Brandy.

"Unfortunately we might be doing something to officials because we are getting a lot of poor decisions.

"That's two deflected goals against us in the last two weeks, and three successive draws we should have won.

"Their lad Lloyd James should have been sent off for a tackle on Adam Chambers (in the 50th minute when he got a yellow card).

"We didn't play as well as we can, but we should still have won that game.

"We should have won last week (at Rotherham) and we should have won this.

"We have been slightly unfortunate in our last three games."

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