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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Orient boss Wellens says hard work paid off in Wimbledon win

Leyton Orient manager Richie Wellens was delighted that hard work paid off for his side in their 1-0 win against London rivals AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

A moment of second-half magic from George Moncur decided the contest in Orient’s favour, extending their lead at the top of the League Two table to four points.

It was commitment and determination that ensured just a second win in seven games for the east Londoners though, as boss Wellens was keen to highlight post-match.

“When you turn up to a football match and you’re just five percent off in terms of working hard it can get away from you,” he said. “When you do that little bit of extra work, moments of luck come off for you. In recent weeks we’ve not been full throttle.

“Today we had eight or nine players giving us a seven-plus out of ten. When you get that, generally you win.”

The recent lack of wins has seen promotion rivals Stevenage whittle away Orient’s lead at the top of the table, with just two points separating the sides at the start of play on Saturday.

A 3-0 defeat in Hertfordshire last month was the nadir of the recent run of poor form, yet the O’s will be grateful to London rivals Sutton United for holding Steve Evans’s men to a goalless draw at the weekend.

However, Wellens was keen to stress that the focus should not solely be on results despite the battle for promotion intensifying.

“People are shallow when they just think about results,” said the 42-year-old. “You need results but you need a foundation to work from. The foundations for us are commitments and hard work but also performance levels. If we keep reaching those (levels) we’ll be fine.

“We’ve just had a couple of away games that have gone against us. I know the lack of goals has been a concern but I thought we were exciting in the first half today and could have scored a lot of goals.

“I felt we were back today. The feeling and intensity that we played with was much better.

Wellens was also grateful to the Brisbane Road crowd for finding their voice to help the team get over the line: “This is a really good atmosphere to play in. If your supporters can get a little extra from you, you have to use it.

“I felt the energy from the supporters. If I’m feeling it, then the players are also.

“Today will go a long way to getting people’s confidence back up.”

AFC Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson felt his side could have taken something from the game as they fell to just a second defeat in 15 league fixtures.

"We competed really well with the team that is sitting top of the league," he said, "we went toe-to-toe with them. A little bit of quality from them for the goal has made the difference."


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