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Tranmere boss Micky Mellon salutes ‘top-drawer’ strike from Jay Spearing

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 2021-12-18
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Delighted Tranmere boss Micky Mellon saluted a “top-drawer” strike from Jay Spearing which earned his side a vital 1-0 win against Leyton Orient.

Former Liverpool midfielder Spearing, now 33, scored a stunning winner just before the hour to hand Rovers a fourth straight victory and lift them back into the play-off places.

Mellon said: “It was a really great strike from Jay, it was a top-drawer strike which was worthy of winning any game.

“We know he’s always capable of getting a goal like that – in fact he probably should score one or two more if you ask me.

“As soon as I saw him lining up the shot I thought to myself ‘this is going in the top corner’, and that’s just what happened. It was a perfect strike to win a really tough game.”

Spearing’s moment of quality lit up the game, with Josh Hawkes touching the ball to the veteran midfielder and he smashed it into the top corner from 18 yards.

Mellon knew his side would have to go toe-to-toe against their play-off chasing rivals having been on the receiving end of a 4-0 defeat in an FA Cup tie in London a fortnight ago.

He said: “We knew it would to be hard and we knew we would have to match everything Orient threw at us. I definitely needed to see a reaction to the cup defeat.

“We needed to be brave about our decisions because big (Harry) Smith is a real handful for them up front. Our lads took him on and won, though.

“We’re fifth I know, but I’m saying we’re joint third now – it is Christmas after all.

“Nothing is done yet of course, but this is a really big win for us.”

He added: “We’ll always do our best to try and keep confidence continuous in the camp.

“We won’t be letting the players feel sorry for themselves or feel too high, we’ll just get on with it as best we can and try and keep hitting the same levels in all of the training sessions.

“The coaching staff and myself will have the same expectations of all the players, and the lads will of each other.

“That’s whether we win, lose or draw – it’s all about trying to keep that momentum going forward through what will hopefully be a busy holiday period.”

Mellon’s opposite number Kenny Jackett rued missing squad members as he only had 14 fully-fit players available due to injuries and Covid-related issues.

The O’s have now lost three of their last four matches and Jackett said: “There were a lot of positives for us to take from the performance, but we missed too many chances and the goal we conceded was very much avoidable.

“Our game management and ruthlessness has cost us in the end.

“The boys up front normally take the kind of chances we were missing today, they need to come to the party if we’re going to get back on track quickly.

“We only really had 14 players available today and the rules state that as long as you’ve got that many available, you have to play.

“We had bang on 14 fully-fit lads available, while (substitute) Paul Smyth maybe had 20 minutes in him.

“We just need to keep doing things right – that’s all we can do. It’s still a very tight league table, though.

“It’s not easy to win games in this division and it’s not easy to win on a consistent basis.”

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