Former Watford keeper Gary Woods insists competition for number one spot at Leyton Orient is healthy

Gary Woods marked his debut with two saves in the penalty shootout: Simon O'Connor

Gary Woods marked his debut with two saves in the penalty shootout: Simon O'Connor

First published in Sport East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by

Penalty hero Gary Woods insists the competition between him and Adam Legzdins for the number one shirt is only healthy for the club.

The former Watford goalkeeper marked his debut for the O’s by making several crucial saves during the 3-3 draw at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night.

Woods then made the difference in the shoot-out as he stopped two spot-kicks to send Orient into the second round of the Capital One Cup.

His performance will have given manager Russell Slade plenty to think about having opted to select Legzdins, another summer signing, for the opening League 1 game against Chesterfield.

Woods is up for the challenge of becoming the regular keeper as the pair bid to establish themselves as the first choice shot-stopper at Brisbane Road.

The 23-year-old said: “It’s not for me to decide, but all I can do when the gaffer plays me is do my best for the team. That’s what I’ve done tonight so who knows?

“It’s a good battle between us [Legzdins and Woods] because we both want to be number one and both have played games so it’s healthy not only for us but for the team.”

Woods admits Plymouth’s regular penalty taker Reuben Reid was the only player he researched in the build-up to the tie and put his match-winning saves down to guess work.

He said: “We only had Reuben Reid, who takes all their penalties, to analyse so it was just a guessing game really and we came out on top. You just go with instinct where you think they’re going and thankfully twice I went the right way.

“It’s never a nice way to win or lose. It’s a lottery really but it was nice we put that behind us and we can move on from here.”

The O’s appeared to be coasting to victory at 2-0 but a goal before the break from Plymouth turned the tie around.

Debutant Woods believes there is plenty for the side to work on after letting their opponents back into the match.

Woods, who started his career at Manchester United, said: “From our point of view we threw the game away and shouldn’t have let a goal in before half-time. Then it probably wouldn’t have gone the way it went.

“At the end of the day we ended up victorious and we’ve come all this way and it was nice to go away with this win at the start of the season.

“We need to look back and see where we went wrong. With a minute left in the first half we just needed to put it over the top and go from there. But it happened and at least we won at the end.”

The travelling does not stop for Orient with a trip to Oldham Athletic on Saturday before visiting Bristol City the following Tuesday.

But, despite a punishing early physical examination at Home Park, the ‘keeper insists the squad will be fully prepared for the challenges ahead.

“I think we’ve got the worst month in terms of travelling,” he said. “I don’t know who did the fixtures because we’re all over the place. We need to recover right and go again Saturday and get a win in the league.

“We’ve got people like Lee Southernwood (head of sports science) and the other physios to do things correctly. We’re staying down and will have a cool down and recovery. We’re doing things properly so I think the lads will be ready and raring to go for the weekend.”

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