The Justin Edinburgh Stand at Leyton Orient – and a tight match between his former clubs – was a fitting tribute to the former Newport County boss, according to current Orient manager Ross Embleton.
County fell to a 2-1 League Two defeat on Saturday, as a new stand at the Breyer Group Stadium was named after both club’s ex-boss, who died in June shortly after guiding the London club back into the Football League.
The West Stand will now be known as the Justin Edinburgh Stand, and Edinburgh’s wife Kerri and children Charlie and Cydnie witnessed the unveiling, as well as a first home win in 10 attempts in all competitions for the O’s.
“I thought it was a very Justin Edinburgh-type game,” said Embleton. “It was exciting, it was up-and-at-you, it was both teams trying to win the game.
“That’s quite fitting. To name a stand after him is a perfect tribute to a wonderful man.
“What it does do is rake up those emotions and those feelings and today’s been a tough day for many of us, but what we’ve done is come out the other side with a win that makes us feel a little bit better.”
Embleton’s opposite number Michael Flynn was bitterly disappointed with his side, but they could have snatched a point after Jamille Matt halved the deficit five minutes into stoppage time before Mark O’Brien was denied after steaming through on Sam Sargeant’s goal.
Flynn said: “We conceded two really poor goals.
“After we went 1-0 down, we lost our shape a little bit, allowed them to get the second and bizarrely should have got something out of it (after the late chance).
“We finished with 10 men (after O’Brien went off injured following that chance), so not a great day.”
To compound matters, Flynn had been forced to withdraw Jos Labadie and Ryan Inniss prior to kick-off due to illness and a calf problem respectively, meaning Robbie Willmott and Matty Dolan were drafted in.
“It’s not an ideal start,” Flynn admitted. “It affected things, ie; markers. But it’s no excuse because we dealt with their corners quite well all game and then we switched off.”
Orient broke the deadlock after 81 minutes, but despite Marvin Ekpiteta getting his head on James Brophy’s corner, the opener was given to unlucky Newport defender Ryan Haynes.
But Embleton was having none of that, adding: “You try taking it off Marv. He’s a bit bigger than all of us.
“Ruel’s (Sotiriou) giving him a bit of stick, but as far as I’m aware, Marv’s taking it – and so he should. We’ll take every goal we can get at the moment, so I’ll certainly be awarding it to him.”
Ruel Sotiriou grabbed the clincher, although Embleton’s reactions were somewhat delayed.
“I thought it had gone the other side of the goal,” he said. “It wasn’t until everyone started jumping up and down around me that I realised it had gone in.
“All the same, it’s a fantastic feeling and I’m delighted for Ruel because he worked his socks off.”