Football: Laws plans to hold on to his young talent

Scunthorpe United 1 Leyton Orient 0

BETWEEN THE time it took the Scunthorpe manager, Brian Laws, to finish congratulating his players on winning Saturday's Third Division play-off final at Wembley and reaching the interview room reality had dawned.

"I know what my biggest problem is for next season and it's not how to stay in the Second Division, but how to keep the best of the young players who got us there."

He was thinking particularly of the youngest of them in a play-off that for the first half was as one sided in Scunthorpe's favour as the previous Saturday's FA Cup final had been in the grip of Manchester United. Nineteen- year-old Gareth Sheldon's contribution helped make it so. His two goals in extra time against Swansea in the second leg of the semi-final had got them to Wembley, and once there he took only six minutes to lay on the winning goal to which Scunthorpe clung throughout a second half in which Orient at last began to play.

Laws, who himself enjoyed four Wembley victories with Nottingham Forest, was almost reluctant to give too much praise to Sheldon, calling him "a little gem" but insisting that the club's former trainee, who would not even have played had not John Eyre been suspended, was "still very raw".

Clearly that was a warning to richer clubs that this is a talent not yet ready for the big time. Wishful thinking. There were scouts from all over in the Wembley VIP seats. Sheldon's stunningly quick turn in the Orient penalty area left the winning goalscorer, Alex Calvo-Garcia, with a still challenging but unchallenged header inside the far post.

The Orient defence could hardly have been accused of keeping a watchful eye, but the Spaniard's finish was superbly done. At least Laws is confident that Calvo-Garcia, who three years ago played in the Spanish Second Division, will not take a lot of persuading to stay on for a try in the English equivalent, but he has nine players out of contract. "I know it could be difficult to keep them," he said. "But I don't think they'll jump ship."

Calvo-Garcia, whose midfield industry was almost as valuable as his goal, was elated that his career seemed to be blooming in a town that before he was invited to join its football club of modest achievements he was unaware existed. "It's so refreshing," Laws said, "that a player with his ability can come to a club like ours without wanting money we can't afford".

Orient's manager, Tommy Taylor, may not exactly have the stimulating half-time lecturing ability of Alex Ferguson, but he certainly inspired an extraordinary change in the flow of the game.

Whereas in the first half Sheldon and the vastly more experienced John Gayle had a constant flow of possession, in the second an equaliser seemed inevitable. That it failed to materialise made it all the more infuriating that Orient's one early chance of the first half, a missed header by Steve Watts, had slipped away.

After putting on Craig Maskell and Alex Inglethorpe they made Scunthorpe prove the quality of their defence, especially in the dwindling, tension crackling final minutes when Amara Simba unthreaded a goalmouth melee, but still had his snap shot blocked on the line.

Goal: Calvo-Garcia (6) 1-0.

Leyton Orient (4-4-2): Barrett; Joseph, Smith, Hicks (Maskell, 46), Clark; Richards (Inglethorpe, 46), Beal, Ling, Lockwood; Watts, Simba. Substitute not used:Stimson.

Scunthorpe United (5-2-3): Evans; Harsley, Wilcox, Logan, Hope, Dawson; Walker, Calvo-Garcia (Housham, 77); Sheldon, Gayle (Stamp, 79), Forrester (Bull, 84).

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).

Bookings: Orient: Joseph. Scunthorpe: Logan, Gayle.

Man of the match: Calvo-Garcia.

Attendance: 36,985.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable