Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade was all smiles after watching his side edge out Stevenage 1-0 courtesy of Dean Cox's early strike.

Stevenage looked lacklustre after an enforced three-week lay-off while Orient looked anything but with Cox, along with striker Charlie MacDonald and new arrival Shaun Batt - who joined on loan from Millwalll this week - all impressive.

Orient sit just five points outside the play-offs and Slade said: "We defended very well, they're a big side so they're a problem from a corner or a free-kick but we managed to keep them out on that front, and at the other end Jamie Jones wasn't troubled too much.

"I wasn't surprised at Shaun Batt's impact. He's got pace and he's an awkward customer, he was a constant threat throughout the game. He showed a very good understanding with Charlie MacDonald. That shows what a good pro he is - he wanted it to work.

"Charlie's worked tirelessly, he's done everything but score, his work-rate is phenomenal. We deserved to take the lead through Dean Cox, he can get a goal, that got us on the front foot and that was great.

"The substitutes we were able to bring on shows how far we've come, we're turning into a very solid League One side. If we can just push on a little bit more and add to what we've got we're only going to go forward."

Stevenage's poor run extended to one win in six, manager Gary Smith is confident his side can rekindle their play-off hopes. "I thought it was a very tentative start. We've had three weeks off and there were all the signs of a group that hadn't played for a while, which we were certainly hoping wasn't going to happen," he said.

"The players are fully aware of their lack of performance, and it's down to them - and me of course, massively - to make sure there's a big turnaround. The goal was sloppy from our point of view. It made things much easier for them, we gave a good response, but there wasn't enough cutting edge in front of their goal.

"We were expecting to regroup at half-time and get out of the traps in the second period but it never happened. We got the ball in exciting areas but our choices weren't good enough and our quality was lacking.

"At home we've got to make more of the moments we're getting. We're all very aware how poor our form is at home, it's become an Achilles heel to our season."