Gary Liddle on the importance of his goal at OrientNew arrival Gary Liddle found it hard to choke back the emotions when he scored his first goal for the club on Saturday as he looked up to the sky to say a silent thank you to his dearly loved grandma, who had passed away just four days earlier.
Speaking about the loss of someone so important to both him and his family after the game, he said: “To be honest, somehow I knew I would score today because it’s been a bit of a tough week for me and my family. I watched my grandma take her final breaths on Tuesday night and that was hard.
“I hadn’t scored yet this season and I had a feeling she’d be looking down and that she’d help me along. I have to say, I was a bit emotional after I scored, but that’s understandable because I’m an emotional guy and I’m just thankful that she was looking after me today.
“I have to say thank you to the kit man and to the referee because I was given a black armband, and the permission to wear it, in memory of her. I was always going to play today, as difficult as the week has been on an emotional level, because my whole family has rallied together and they’ll be really pleased that I’ve contributed in this way.”
The victory extended the current unbeaten run to four games but the goal scorer admitted that it was an important three points nonetheless.
“It was a massive win for us,” he said. “Going into the game we talked about the fact that it wasn’t really about how we played, even though it’s always nice to win a football match having played well. I thought we did both once you put the sloppy goal we conceded to one side.
“When they scored it gave us a bit of a mountain to climb, but luckily I was the Johnny-on-the-spot who was there to tap the ball in and get us a foothold in the game again. We were dominant after that, even though we got the expected onslaught from them after the sending off. I honestly thought the lads did really well.”
“The goal came at an important time but, in the end, it didn’t have to be me who got it,” he explained. “We always get told about being alert for the second phase and second balls, and making sure you’re first to them, but Dev [Jamie Devitt] is a bit gutted that he didn’t score from the free kick. I managed to get to the follow-in ahead of everyone and I was buzzing.
“Jamie Proctor has told me that he was right behind me, but he’ll be happy that he got one for himself to win us the game. He was a bit unfortunate with his sending off and I can tell you that he’s got stud marks all the way down his backside, which I’ve been unlucky enough to have been shown, but it was a great result for all of us in the end.”
A big part of the victory was the resilience and determination, yet again, to come from a losing position to take the spoils.
“We’ve got a good set of lads in that dressing room and that is helping us,” he commented. “It’s a small squad but the spirit and sense of unity is second to none. That’s why going a goal behind in a game isn’t going to affect us too much.
“You don’t get this far having lost only three games if you let things like that get in your way. Our outlook is that if you concede a goal there’s always a way back, and thankfully I was able to contribute.
“We have had that run of games without a win, with three draws on the spin, but we were always confident we could get three points from Orient. That isn’t me taking them lightly in any way, but we felt there was an opportunity to come and stamp our authority on the game. Hopefully we can carry this on now and get ourselves on another little run, because you have to remember that’s four games unbeaten now.”
Having now been with the club for a month, he confirmed that the good feeling he’d got bout the place ahead of making the move is very much alive and kicking.
“I’m loving it here,” he confirmed. “The manager told me when I signed that the spirit here is better than what we had at Notts County three or four years ago. I didn’t quite believe him at the time, but now that I’ve seen it I can tell you it’s a special squad.
“We’re all pulling together and days like this show that. Hopefully this will now be a springboard to further success. When you see the number of fans who came to support us – it’s just amazing. I’d actually said to one of the lads before kick off that I didn’t think we’d get too many, so to get nearly 700 is ridiculous.
“Everyone went over at the end to give them a clap because that’s the least we can do. I’m thankful that we’ve given them three points to take on their long journey home. I’m just looking forward to playing in front of them again back at Brunton Park next week.
“As I say, it’s been a tough few weeks in terms of results, but we’re back with a bang now.”