Fleetwood manager Charlie Adam has already targeted an instant return to League One after their relegation was confirmed despite a 1-0 win at Leyton Orient.

Town’s 10 year tenure in the third tier came to an end despite Xavier Simons scoring three minutes into added time to settle the match and give the 133 traveling fans some small consolation on their return to the north-west.

Adam became Fleetwood’s third boss of the season when he took charge in December and he is determined to make sure their stay in League Two is a short one.

“It’s been a tough day for everybody involved at this football club, the directors, the management the players and the supporters,” Adam said.

“That group of players have given us everything since we came in on December 31 and it’s unfortunate that we’ve just come up short. It really is bitterly disappointing for Fleetwood as a club and for the town.

“I thought we were in full control of the game, we were never really under pressure and that’s what you will see from this side next season. They are going to run and fight all the way.

“That performance away from home was very good.

“I can’t thank the supporters enough for coming to support us. They have been with us all season since we came into the building and I’m really gutted for them.

“There is a lot of frustration of why and what but we’ll sit down and address things and we are going to do everything we can to come straight back up. We have the nucleus of a very good squad in League Two because they’ve shown they are good League One players.

“I’m already thinking about next season, what we want, what we need, how we are going to play and what we are going to do.”

Orient boss Richie Wellens said: “I’m very disappointed at the way the season has ended for us. I’m very professional and I want to keep my standards at the same level all the time.

“Twelve months ago, we were playing Crewe Alexandra in League Two to try and win the league and promotion and my mindset is exactly the same today as it was then.

“Today, I thought that in the first half we were good but in the second half we were poor.

“We were too slow at the back, kept passing back to our keeper, didn’t play through lines or play forward and we didn’t counter well and it was all a bit messy. We got what we deserved, so yes I’m very disappointed.

“We need four or five players to come in and make an impact. There are certain players I keep asking them to do the same thing week in and week out but my patience is wearing thin.”

Fleetwood’s relegation to League Two was confirmed despite their late 1-0 away victory against Leyton Orient.

Xavier Simons scored the only goal of the game three minutes into added time to secure victory for the visitors.

But Burton’s win at home to Reading sealed Fleetwood’s fate.

In a match of endeavour but lacking quality, Town almost took the lead early in the second half when a bullet header by Carl Johnston was punched clear by goalkeeper Sol Brynn from point-blank range.

The Orient keeper was soon extended again to keep out a Ryan Broom effort.

But Jay Lynch was the busier of the two keepers in the first half. He was fully extended when he tipped a 22-yard free-kick by Tom James over the bar and then pushing away a powerful drive by Ethan Galbraith.

Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu went on an enterprising run before his effort was collected by Brynn as Fleetwood pushed for a second-half winner.

It arrived when Simons collected a pass from Tommy Lonergan after Orient failed to clear their lines and neatly struck the ball past Brynn.

But it was not enough to take Fleetwood’s fight to the last weekend of the season.

Derby head coach Paul Warne is taking nothing for granted despite another shift in his team’s favour in the race for automatic promotion.

A 3-0 home win over Leyton Orient coupled with Bolton’s draw with Portsmouth means the Rams have a four-point lead in second place, although the Lancashire club have a game in hand.

It was vital Derby took maximum points and in front of another 30,000-plus crowd they went ahead in the 10th minute when Kane Wilson pounced at the back post from a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing corner.

Another set-piece led to the second in the 18th minute, with Sonny Bradley volleying in a Louie Sibley corner from close range.

Orient were more of a threat in the second half but the best chances fell to Derby, with Mendez-Laing failing to convert in the 61st minute after racing clear.

Sibley also went close on two occasions before Bradley sealed a convincing victory with a back-post header from another corner.

Warne said: “The lads have done well, scored from three set-pieces and we probably could have scored from open play but it’s just about winning, so I’m happy.

“It’s been a good day but all it does is give us another opportunity. With two games left it’s in our hands again but we’ve got to try and back it up with two more wins to give us a real chance to go up.

“Obviously now it gives us a much better chance, but that’s all it is so we haven’t achieved anything, but it did feel like a good day. The lads performed well. I don’t think Joe (Wildsmith) had a shot (to save).

“Some days it’s difficult to score goals. Today I watched Leeds play, they couldn’t score, last night I watched Leicester and they couldn’t score. When you are at the top of the table it’s difficult to get over the line.”

Leyton Orient head coach Richie Wellens said: “They ran all over us. They are a good team with loads of experience and they just overpowered us.

“The players have been unbelievable this year but they are probably on their last legs and we are asking too much of them with what we’ve got available. We just ran out of steam a little bit.

“The big one was the set plays. We started the game okay but after the set plays in a quick space of time it becomes very difficult.

“I think it’s something we need to improve on next year. We’ve done well but I think with set plays in this division if you can score a lot more than you concede you can get an extra 12 points.”

Sonny Bradley’s brace kept Derby on course for automatic promotion as they claimed a 3-0 win over Leyton Orient.

The Rams got the start they needed in the 10th minute when Kane Wilson tapped in at the back post from a Nathaniel Mendez-Laing corner.

It got even better for the home side eight minutes later when a Louie Sibley corner dropped to Bradley and he fired into the roof of the net.

Orient hardly figured as an attacking threat until Ethan Galbraith had a shot blocked at the end of a first half which had been all Derby.

Shaq Forde had a shot deflected over at the start of the second half but Mendez-Laing went close to a third for Derby with a flick that went narrowly over.

Mendez-Laing had a great chance to finish the game in the 61st minute when he raced clear but a heavy touch allowed goalkeeper Sol Brynn to deny him.

But Bradley made no mistake from another corner in the 86th minute with a bullet header at the back post.

Richie Wellens blamed his side’s lack of experience after his Leyton Orient side, who finished with 10 men, drew 2-2 with Exeter at Brisbane Road.

Orient were holding a comfortable two-goal lead with Ollie O’Neill and substitute George Moncur on the scoresheet.

But the context of the game changed when Brandon Cooper was forced off with injury during the second half leaving Orient, who had already used all their substitutes, to battle out the final 20 minutes a man down.

Orient were then penned in and around their own penalty area and the Grecians finally broke through a resilient rearguard action with a Millenic Alli header before Will Aimson got the final touch to Tommy Carroll’s shot to salvage a point.

“I thought it wasn’t a great game in terms of quality,” said Wellens.

“Both teams gave too many turnovers, especially us. When we go into a 2-0 lead and down to 10 men, it’s a problem. But it should only be a small problem and we just lacked experience.

“The schedule and the amount of extra time we’ve played is hard for everyone and I think every single club have lost a lot more players this season. For us, losing another two players to injury tonight was not ideal. We always wanted to give Dan Agyei half an hour but losing two players made us run the risk with substitutions.

“We’ve got certain players out of contract and some players are not improving, so we’ve got some decisions to make in the summer.

“The game tonight was comfortable for us but the injuries and the lack of bodies we had before tonight was severe. But it’s extreme now, we’ll have a patched-up team for Derby on Saturday.”

Exeter boss Gary Caldwell admitted it was a hard-earned point.

“We had to work extremely hard for the point to come back from behind,” he acknowledged.

“I thought the first half was fairly even. We started the game well but then Orient came back into it. I wanted a bit more intensity and I thought we got that second half.

“The two goals we gave away were extremely poor from our point of view and they didn’t create many chances outside of them.

“Late on I thought we created enough chances to win the game, so it was great fight and spirit from us to keep the unbeaten run going. It’s another point on the board but we wanted more so we now need to look at the remaining three games to see what we can take out of them.

“We put a lot of balls into their box and it was a backheel I think from our centre-half Will Aimson for the equaliser from a brilliant short corner, but at that moment we were creating lots of opportunities.

“But to be 2-0 down and come back, I’m delighted.”

Exeter scored twice in the final eight minutes to earn a point as Leyton Orient were forced to play out the final stages with 10 men due to Brandon Cooper’s injury.

Ollie O’Neill and George Moncur scored for the hosts but the Grecians salvaged a point through Millenic Alli and Tommy Carroll.

The deadlock was broken in the 36th minute by O’Neill, who scored direct from a corner on the left when his set-piece delivery eluded everyone in a crowded penalty area and found the far corner of the net.

The Os doubled their lead in the 64th minute when O’Neill intercepted an intended clearance and fed unmarked substitute Moncur, who slotted the ball home from close range.

After Orient, having used all five substitutes, were reduced to 10 men by the loss of Cooper, Exeter camped in and around the opposition penalty area and reduced the deficit when substitute Alli headed home on 88 minutes.

Four minutes later, a Carroll shot nestled in the back of the net from a deflection off an Orient player.

Darrell Clarke admitted it had been a frustrating afternoon for the visitors after his Cheltenham side suffered a 3-1 defeat at Leyton Orient to leave them two points from safety in the Sky Bet League One relegation zone.

Ethan Galbraith and Ollie O’Neill left the visitors chasing the game with first-half goals before Orient’s leading scorer Ruel Sotiriou ended his nine-match barren run with a superb strike late on.

Substitute Joe Nuttall reduced the deficit with a goal in the final minute of stoppage time but Clarke was left to ponder the uphill struggle ahead if his team are to avoid the drop.

“We started the game quite well, particularly in the first 20 minutes, but then we conceded two goals from outside the box that really we could have done better by getting closer at the edge of the box and blocking the shots,” Clarke said.

“I was frustrated at half-time and looking for solutions to the problems we had in the first half and try to get the next goal because the game is not over at 2-0. I think if we had taken our chances and got that next goal, we would have kicked on. It’s all ifs, buts and maybes and now we have to go again.

“Probably the last two or three games have been 45-minute performances and we need to start putting 90-minute performances together.

“I’ve just said to the players, ‘we’re still in this race’, we kept going to the end and I believe there is enough in there to keep us in this division, albeit not on today’s showing.

“I will make sure I get the right answers for the team but we will have to perform better than we did today.”

O’s boss Richie Wellens saw his side collect maximum points at home for the first time in four matches.

“We missed the easier chances today with a couple of one-on-ones and could have scored a few more goals but we also scored three excellent finishes,” he said.

“I thought the keeper should have saved Galbraith’s goal but O’Neill’s goal was good and so was Sotiriou’s. I wasn’t happy with him to be honest because he was a bit sulky and his reactions weren’t great but I know he has a goal in him.

“That game should have been more comfortable than it was but we lacked discipline and gave opportunities away. They could have scored four goals today. I was disappointed we conceded to the one at the end because we wanted the clean sheet.

“This is the first game we’ve played when we can’t achieve anything but we respect the league and the teams fighting, so we played a strong team as well as given Zech Obiero a start at 18 years old, so overall it was a good day.”

Leyton Orient found their shooting boots to inflict a 3-1 Sky Bet League One defeat on relegation-haunted Cheltenham.

A dull opening period was lifted in the 34th minute by a superb Ethan Galbraith strike. Collecting a pass from George Moncur, he drilled a 25-yard drive past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Luke Southwood.

The visitors, who showed little going forward before the interval and failed to record a shot on target in the first half, fell further behind 10 minutes later. Ollie O’Neill, always a threat to the Robins, cut inside from the left and delivered a sublime shot that curled into the far corner.

Finding more purpose after the interval, Cheltenham soon squandered a marvellous opportunity to reduce the deficit when O’s stopper Sol Brynn dropped a set-piece at the feet of Curtis Davies, who managed to screw the ball wide from four yards out.

Ruel Sotiriou completed the visitors’ miserable afternoon in the 85th minute when he pounced from 18 yards out to notch his 11th league goal of the season before Joe Nuttall bagged a late consolation for the Robins.

Lincoln head coach Michael Skubala praised substitute Jovon Makama after his last-minute winner in their 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory over Leyton Orient propelled the Imps into the play-off places for the first time this season.

City were not at their best as Orient more than matched them, but they claimed the three points after Makama came on to score a dramatic late goal as they stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

“Jovon is still learning and he has the profile and ability to do well and we know he has that finish in him,” said Skubala.

“I see him in training in every day and I known the quality he has.

“I am really pleased he came on he got the goal to help us get the three points.”

Skubala admitted the free-scoring Imps had had a battle on their hands, producing just two shots on target as they struggled to get the better of a lively-looking Orient side, backed by nearly 1,000 fans.

“It was a tough game for us and we had to scrap it out,” he said.

“We were struggling with the physicality, we were struggling with the wind and with the scrappiness. They played some nice football and it was one of those games when we had to grind it out.

“We weren’t great, but we know we have to have these types of games if we are to do well and scrap it out and fight for points.

“Our back line was phenomenal and it was a tough shift for them. The game is built on clean sheets and all round it was a resilient performance.”

After only mustering one shot on goal in the previous 90 minutes, Makama settled the contest when he blocked an attempted clearance, collected the ball and confidently curled a low shot into the bottom corner.

Orient head coach Richie Wellens felt the “best team lost” after seeing his side dominate possession and chances, only to fall to the late sucker punch.

He also as good as wrote off their play-off hopes, saying: “It was a big mistake at the end and the best team lost. I felt we nullified them and they weren’t really a threat.

“Up until the 90th minute they’d had one shot on our goal and it was a sickener to lose. I thought we were brilliant in the last 15 minutes and looked like the only team going to win it, but when you’re on the crest of a wave like they are, things go for you.

“I thought tactically we were better than them, but we’re lacking in the final third. We should have won it – we have lost two games against these now in the final minute. I feel for the players and supporters.

“The play-offs are all but gone now, but you never know. It’s going to be tough and we’re going to have win all our last six games.”

Substitute Jovon Makama scored a last-minute winner as Lincoln beat Leyton Orient 1-0 to move into the Sky Bet League One play-off positions for the first time this season.

Makama had been on the pitch for just a handful of minutes when he earned the Imps maximum points as they stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches and dealt a major blow to Orient’s own play-off hopes.

Orient had the game’s first chance after six minutes, with Imps goalkeeper Lukas Jensen alert to tip Darren Pratley’s snapshot over the bar.

The game turned niggly, with little goalmouth action at either end, before Jordan Brown fired narrowly wide for the visitors after 29 minutes and then Ruel Sotiriou and Shaq Forde both fired straight at Jensen.

City finally managed their first shot of the match five minutes before the break when Joe Taylor ran on to Danny Mandroiu’s quick free-kick but blazed wildly wide.

It took 21 minutes of the the second half for either side to have an effort on goal, with Taylor stabbing an effort into the ground and wide.

Ollie O’Neill headed Rob Hunt’s inch-perfect cross narrowly over at the other end before Imps sub Freddie Draper finally had the hosts’ first shot on target after 76 minutes, his effort easily gobbled up by Sol Brynn.

Orient sub Ethan Galbraith nearly won it late on, his low drive bringing out an excellent diving save from Jensen.

But City did produce a winner when Makama did brilliantly to first block an attempted clearance and then collect the ball and curl a low shot into the bottom corner.

Steve Evans bemoaned refereeing standards and pleaded for an “equal chance” following Stevenage’s disallowed goal in their 1-0 loss to Leyton Orient at Broadhall Way.

Max Sanders netted the only goal of the game in the 16th minute and moved Orient to within five points of the League One play-off spots.

Stevenage thought they had equalised but Jamie Reid’s equaliser was ruled out due to a handball against Jordan Roberts – much to Evans’ ire.

The Boro boss, whose side now sit two points off sixth-placed Oxford albeit with a game in hand, said: “We are only trying to achieve what Portsmouth are, what Peterborough are, what Barnsley are. Just give us an equal chance to achieve that.

“It has knocked all the stuffing out of me.”

Evans claimed Stevenage have received 17 letters from the FA apologising for previous decisions.

He said: “I have lost all honesty and all faith; I’ve lost it all in referees. I said my piece before but I have lost all heart by the standard.

“I am not questioning the integrity but if that is the standard it is pretty painful.

“My job is to make sure that these young men are full of confidence. They still have great things to go home to, they still have families, they still have little kiddies.”

It was a result that damaged Stevenage’s play-off hopes but appeared to boost Orient’s own bid, leaving them just three points behind their opponents.

However, with games running out, boss Richie Wellens does not believe things will fall in his side’s favour.

He said: “Five points is fine, but it is the seven games (which) is too little and we are chasing too many good teams, and they won’t lose enough points. There is no chance.”

After the win, Wellens hoisted an imaginary trophy in front of the Stevenage fans, which did not please home defender Dan Sweeney.

It caused a post-match scuffle between the two teams but the Orient boss claimed he did not show any malice.

He said: “The fans were giving it and if they want to give their money and abuse me, I love it when come back at you.

“It was only a little trophy lift, and Sweeney came at me. If I do it with the supporters, they laugh at me and I laugh at them.

“I didn’t need to do it, but we have come here on the bare bones and given our supporters a good day out, so why shouldn’t we do it?”

Max Sanders’ first-half goal lifted Leyton Orient back into the League One promotion picture with a 1-0 win at Stevenage that saw the hosts drop out of the play-off positions.

Sanders scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute when, after being found in the box, he shifted the ball onto his right foot before sliding a shot under Craig MacGillivray.

Stevenage striker Jamie Reid thought he had pulled his side level 24 minutes in but referee Craig Hicks disallowed his goal for an apparent handball against Jordan Roberts.

Boro’s top scorer threatened once more when he flicked Dan Butler’s free-kick into the hands of visiting goalkeeper Sol Brynn as Orient survived again.

Home boss Steve Evans made four substitutions at half-time in a bid to turn things around.

However, Stevenage could only muster three hopeful efforts in the second half, from Reid, Roberts and Nick Freeman, as they dropped to eighth in the table, just three points above Orient.

Darren Moore said he has seen an improvement in his Port Vale side since he was appointed as manager a month ago after they collected a point from their goalless draw with Leyton Orient.

Funso Ojo and James Wilson both spurned good opportunities for the Valiants before a powerful drive by Alex Mighten was beaten away by O’s keeper Sol Brynn.

“I’ve seen an improvement again,” Moore said. “It’s our first clean sheet since December and we had chances and forced them into errors.

“A point should have been three points because we had opportunities, and on another night we might have shown more composure in the final third.

“I thought we forced Orient into some errors in terms of getting on the front foot and pressing high up the pitch and not allowing them to build because Richie (Wellens) has got them playing some good stuff here. They start games really, really well and we knew the first 30 minutes was really important.

“It was a rewarding point for the way they committed to the shape and stuck to their task. Credit to the boys for their commitment and endeavour, their concentration levels were better.

“The games when we haven’t come away with anything have been down to elementary mistakes and individual lapses of concentration.

“Credit to all the players, it was a valuable point tonight. For us to get ourselves up the league, it has to be a joint effort and the players have to keep performing at the level they can. It can’t be individual moments, it’s got to be a group effort.

“They are an honest group and they really care. We are happy to take the point and the clean sheet.”

Richie Wellens admitted that his Orient side were way below par.

“I think we huffed and puffed second half and we made a few chances but it was the poorest we’ve played for a long, long time,” he said.

“Credit to Port Vale because they’re fighting for their lives and they created some good opportunities first half and could have been a couple of goals up.

“We’re the home side so there is an onus on us to pass the ball and move it quickly but there was too many sideways and backward passes. It felt like that little spark had gone and it was a disappointing night and it was a really flat performance.

“Tiredness can’t be an excuse and with young players when that spark goes you need to refresh things but all over the pitch it was difficult and not a great spectacle.

“We’re not being overworked defensively but there’s no competition for some players and it felt like we went into lethargic mode knowing they can’t be dropped.”

Relegation-threatened Port Vale picked up a point in an uninspiring goalless draw at Leyton Orient whose play-off hopes received a massive dent.

Although the home side were on the front foot for the majority of the first half, they were unable to get past keeper Connor Ripley.

It was the visitors who spurned the best two chances of a drab and goalless first half.

From a set-piece, Funso Ojo cleared the crossbar with a close-range header and then James Wilson blazed over when he met a superb cross from one-time Orient forward Gavin Massey.

Four minutes after the break, Orient keeper Sol Brynn protected his clean sheet when he beat out a fierce shot from Alex Mighten.

Orient’s best chance fell to substitute Ruel Sotiriou when he latched onto a through ball with 12 minutes remaining and raced clear of the opposition defence before delivering a powerful shot that crashed against the bar before rebounding to safety.

The Valiants have now played 13 matches without tasting victory while Orient failed to find the net for the third successive match.

Boss Shaun Maloney admitted Jason Kerr’s late header against 10-man Leyton Orient secured a ‘really important win’ for Wigan.

The Scottish centre-back had only been on the pitch for a matter of seconds when he headed home a cross from Jonny Smith – who had also come on in the same substitution – to break the deadlock at the DW Stadium.

The O’s had played the majority of the game with 10 men after Ethan Galbraith was shown a second yellow card on 42 minutes after two fouls in the space of 13 minutes on his Northern Ireland international colleague Jordan Jones.

After that it was pretty much attack against defence, with Kerr giving Wigan a victory they undoubtedly deserved.

“It was a really important win,” acknowledged Maloney. “The game obviously completely changed on the red card.

“Leyton Orient were good at times in the first half, we were okay. At times we were really creative, at other times we weren’t at our fluent best.

“The only positive from that was when Leyton Orient had possession I never felt like they were creating big opportunities to score.

“The second half was all about trying to stay patient, understand how we were going to break them down.

“They went straight to a five and a four and it isn’t easy trying to break down 10 men.

“It was hard for the players and every substitution we made was to become even more attacking.

“But I thought the players were really good because it certainly wasn’t easy for them.

“As you can see the winner came from a short corner and sometimes you need set-plays like that to get over the line.”

Orient manager Richie Wellens was pleased with what he saw, having had ‘no complaints’ about the match-changing decision.

“I can’t really remember the first (yellow) but I’ve got no complaints about the second one, his foot was high and it was a fair booking,” he said.

“Until the sending off we dominated the game.

“It was too easy for us, the only threat they had was when we lost the ball in the middle of the pitch and they countered on us.

“I’m very proud of the team – to come to this stadium against a club that win the league whenever they are in League One.

“Wigan should be right at the top end of this division so to come here with really young players and play the way we did was excellent.

“It was comfortable for us at the back, I didn’t think they caused us any problems until they made a good substitution, taking (Charlie) Goode off and bringing on someone who was better on the ball at the back, which caused us problems.

“But we’ve been done by a set-play and we’ve got to be better with that.

“After that, they managed the game well, the referee allowed them to slow the game down, waste time, which you expect the opposition to do in that position.”

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