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‘Everyone needs to keep believing and backing us’ – Rob Edwards

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Forest Green 1 Leyton Orient 1

By Jeff Taplin

Ruel Sotiriou stunned Forest Green as the league leaders fluffed their lines against struggling Orient.

Forest Green have now not won in seven games and their lead at the top of the table has been cut to seven points, but Matty Stevens thought he had settled their nerves in the tenth minute with his 22nd goal of the campaign.

Skipper Jamille Matt bustled his way into the area on the left before picking out his strike partner with a low pin point pass across the face of goal and Stevens tapped it in from three yards at the far post.

Orient have now picked up six points in a sixteen-game winless run that has left them six points above the drop zone, but Sotiriou had them dreaming of a shock win when he levelled in the 67th minute.

PSI SH Forest Green Rovers Leyton Orient 15Mar22 02595 | 'Everyone needs to keep believing and backing us' - Rob Edwards
Ruel Sotiriou nets parity for Orient Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

Substitute Theo Archibald picked him out with a clever defence-splitting pass and the midfielder ran into the box before stroking his seventh of the season past helpless keeper Luke McGee.

Forest Green boss Rob Edwards insisted a point was all his side deserved: “It’s a fair result and we were well below our best, no doubt about it. We got into good positions, but didn’t take our chances and there were good moments, just not enough of them.

“I’m frustrated, but pleased we got the first goal. We just couldn’t build on it.

“The equaliser was disappointing and we can’t hide away from that. We lacked some rhythm tonight.

“The lads are almost trying too hard and it’s not coming off but it will.

“At 1-1 it was in the balance. I believe we finished the game the stronger team, but a draw was a fair result.

“When you’re not at your best, which we weren’t tonight, the basics become more important.

PSI SH Forest Green Rovers Leyton Orient 15Mar22 00375 | 'Everyone needs to keep believing and backing us' - Rob Edwards
Matty Stevens celebrates his goal with Dan Sweeney Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

“Everyone needs to keep believing and backing us. That win is just around the corner though.

“I’d be worried if we weren’t running and fighting, but the lads are doing that. They’re fighting for each other.

“I’m pleased for Matty Stevens. He deserved his goal and he worked himself into the ground for us. That’s the sort of attitude we need.”

Delighted Orient boss Richie Wellens revealed he spilled blood after watching his team peg back leaders Forest Green.

Wellens joked: “I had a nose bleed in the second half for half an hour – I think it was because we scored a goal!

PSI SH Forest Green Rovers Leyton Orient 15Mar22 04869 | 'Everyone needs to keep believing and backing us' - Rob Edwards
Josh March and Orient’s Shadrach Ogie battle for the ball Pic: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images

“Sometimes when you’re in the sort of position we’re in you can get het up and we’re nowhere near where I want us to be, but you have to build foundations.

“We came to the top of the league and they scored early, so it’s about our reaction.

“The second half was total domination from us. We looked composed and the goal was something we’d worked on.

“They’ve got some good players and have ripped up the league and so for our players to outplay them is a testament to them.

“After the first ten minutes they didn’t really threaten us.

“In the second half I just thought we were really good. We were in no danger and conceded only one shot.”

“Everyone needs to keep believing and backing us. That win is just around the corner though.

“I’d be worried if we weren’t running and fighting, but the lads are doing that. They’re fighting for each other.

“I’m pleased for Matty Stevens. He deserved his goal and he worked himself into the ground for us. That’s the sort of attitude we need.”

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