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Craig Clay calls on Leyton Orient to back up Eastleigh point with win at Maidenhead United

PUBLISHED: 13:30 27 August 2017

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay looks to get past an Arsenal under-23 opponent (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient midfielder Craig Clay looks to get past an Arsenal under-23 opponent (pic: Simon O'Connor).

07958 573219 simon.oconnor@virgin.net

25-year-old full of praise for first-team captain Charlie Lee and delighted to make impact on his full debut

Craig Clay is hopeful Leyton Orient can claim all three points at Maidenhead United tomorrow (Monday) and make it a good Bank Holiday for the supporters of the club.

The 25-year-old netted his first O’s goal in the seventh minute of additional time at home to Eastleigh on Saturday.

It helped Orient salvage a 1-1 draw and only added to his strong performance on his first start for the club.

Clay said: “I could have come in and not done well, but luckily I have and I have got my first goal, which I am buzzing about.

“I have got my first start now as well, so that is out the way, but I can’t dwell on it too much because we have another big game on Monday.

“Hopefully we can go there and get three points and then it looks like a good Bank Holiday for us.”

Orient trailed for long periods at Brisbane Road after Ayo Obileye scored from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time.

Eastleigh’s opener occurred 13 minutes after David Mooney had wasted the chance to score from the spot.

Clay added: “It was very frustrating to go in behind at half time. Except for maybe 10 minutes after our penalty, where we were maybe a little bit deflated, I thought we played some unbelievable football.

“We were getting in behind and had some great link up play and I think they broke us down once, but their main threat was from corners and free kicks and that was the only way they looked like scoring.

“It was frustrating to come in behind at half time, but credit to all the lads and it could be a massive point for us.”

The former Motherwell midfielder was making his full debut for Orient after coming off the bench in their previous five National League games.

Clay replaced Charlie Lee in the starting XI on Saturday after the first-team captain suffered what appears a suspected anterior cruciate ligament damage injury to his knee.

Although it is a blow for O’s to lose the experienced midfielder, his team-mate praised the impact he had before he Eastleigh match.

“He will still be massive around the dressing room and everyone knows what type of character he is and how good a player he is,” said Clay.

“Even on the morning of the game, he said to me he hoped I was playing and that he was buzzing for me.

“Afterwards he gave me a hug and a high-five for the goal, so he is the captain and a big figure with plenty of experience. He has a lot of knowledge, so he is massive for us.”

Orient’s number 23 went on to discuss life in London and how the rest of the squad have helped him settle in.

Clay hailed the O’s team spirit and revealed how the players get together outside of football as well.

He added: “I have loved it so far, although I have not got my own place at the moment, so I am still renting a room.

“I need to wait until I get my own place and then I can set my PlayStation up and have my own pad, but all the boys have made me feel welcome.

“We had a team night out last week, so that has all added to it and going on little trips to Top Golf and things like that.

“Team spirit is massive and all of the boys have helped me settle in, so I am loving it so far.”

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