Leyton Orient secure play-off place despite Bradford defeat (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leyton Orient clinch play-off spot despite Bradford City defeat
Leyton Orient secured a League 1 play-off spot despite losing 1-0 at home to Bradford City this afternoon.
Orient fell behind against the run of play after 27 minutes when former O's striker Aaron McLean scored from close range.
Russell Slade's side kept pushing for the equaliser but were unable to find a goal as their winless run stretched to four games.
But Orient clinched a play-off place with six games to spare after Sheffield United lost at Swindon Town.
The O's made four changes to the side held by Oldham. Jamie Jones returned in goal for his first match since December, after recovering from a hairline fracture in his back, as Eldin Jakupovic had been recalled by Hull City.
Midfielder John Lundstram made his debut after joining on loan from Everton alongside Jamie Ness. Marvin Bartley was ruled out with a hamstring injury and Lloyd James started on the bench. Gary Sawyer also came into the defence with Elliot Omozusi named as a substitute.
Slade's side got off to a bright start and could have opened the scoring in the first few minutes but Kevin Lisbie's shot was blocked on the line by Andrew Davies.
Orient went close again when defender Scott Cuthbert found himself in a decent position in the box but his shot forced an excellent save from Jon McLaughlin.
Bradford had an opportunity through Adam Reach but he blasted the ball wide of the target.
The visitors grabbed the opener against the run of play just before the half hour mark when McLean blasted the ball home from close range after a corner from Gary Jones.
The goal gave Bradford a big lift and they created a decent chance through Jon Stead but the striker's effort was blocked by Nathan Clarke.
Orient went close after a decent free-kick from Ness but Mathieu Baudry could only head over the bar.
Matthew Dolan found himself with plenty of space outside the Orient area but his strike flew harmlessly wide of the target.
The hosts felt they should have had a penalty just before the break when Dean Cox's strike appeared to hit Rory McArdle's hand but the referee was already in the process of blowing for half-time.
There was an altercation in the tunnel at the break involving both teams and Phil Parkinson and Kevin Nugent did not appear on the touchline after the restart.
Orient made a lively start to the second half and produced an excellent move involving Cox and Moses Odubajo but Lisbie's shot was blocked by McLaughlin.
Substitute Carl McHugh had a chance for the visitors but headed over Jones' bar.
City nearly extended their lead through Jones but his powerful strike was parried by the Orient keeper.
The O's made a double substitution as Shaun Batt and James replaced David Mooney and Lundstram.
Orient quickly made their last change of the game with Chris Dagnall thrown on in place of Lisbie.
Batt almost made an impact when the forward curled an effort just past the City post.
The O's kept pushing for a goal and Cox sent in a great delivery which Batt could not get a touch on.
Bradford nearly sealed the win late on through Garry Thompson but his shot was kept out by a decent save from Jones.
There were four minutes of injury time but the O's could not break down Bradford's defence and Orient's slim chances of automatic promotion are fading fast.
Leyton Orient: Jones; Sawyer, Clarke, Baudry, Cuthbert; Cox, Lundstram (James, 70), Ness, Odubajo; Lisbie, Mooney (Batt, 70)
Subs not used: Omozusi, Larkins, Lasimant, Dagnall, Simpson
Bradford City: McLaughlin; Darby, McArdle, Davies, Drury (McHugh, 21); Bennett, Dolan, Jones, Reach; Stead (Thompson, 75), McLean (Bates, 88)
Subs not used: Bentley, Yeates, De Vita, Stockdill
Referee: David Phillips
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