Colchester sealed their first league win of the season with a snatch and grab win thanks to second half strikes from Sanchez Watt and Freddie Sears after U’s captain, Magnus Okuonghae saw red. Orient rarely threatened the Colchester goal and at this early stage of the season they trail league leaders Bristol City by 11 points after just 6 matches.
After the match Leyton Orient boss, Russell Slade revealed “we have one game to sort it out otherwise it will be curtains”. Orient have been struggling since their play off heartbreak last season but with new owners in charge, the trigger is imminent. With established professionals in the squad, the blame should not lie solely with Slade but with one of the biggest wage budgets in years, the pressure is mounting.
Orient were hit with injuries and suspensions with the likes of Cox, Vincelot and James all missing out with Marvin Bartley and new QPR winger Mike Petrasso coming in. Darius Henderson was partnered by Chris Dagnall who was fresh from his brace against Peterborough in the JPT. Whilst David Mooney was playing from the left in an unusual midfield for the home side. Colchester named an unchanged line up from their point away at Walsall last week with temporary boss Tony Humes looking for his first win.
In a timid opening thirty minutes, the bright light for Orient was new loanee Petrasso who was causing the U’s problems down the left. George Moncur and Ben Gordon picked up cautions for tackles on the winger whilst Dagnall was working hard up front for Orient but with no reward. The first real chance for Orient came after a good move down the right with Dagnall nodding over Cuthbert’s cross. 4 minutes later saw the incident of the half when a loose ball in midfield was challenged by Okuonghae and Mooney with U’s captain appearing to leave the ground with two feet and catch the Orient forward. The referee had no hesitation to produce the red card and reduce Colchester to 10 men, Sammie Szmodics was replaced by Frankie Kent to keep a back four for the visitors.
Colchester were content with sitting behind the ball, trying to catch the home side on the break utilizing the pace of Sears, Watt and Massey. Orient were trying to break down the 10 men but were struggling to make an impact. Massey went close for the visitors after great link up play down the left and a pull back by Ben Gordon. Orient continued to look dodgy at the back, Woods pulling off a fine save after Baudry let Sears in behind but the former West Ham forward’s lob was touched around the post.
Orient had a few half chances from corners with Henderson and Baudry heading over but Orient did not heed the warning from Colchester’s fast attacking breaks. From an Orient corner, the U’s took the lead, after the ball fell to Sears he ran at the Orient back line with Watt out pacing Bartley with ease. Sears played in Massey who calmly slotted behind Woods to give the 10 men the lead. Sears continued to be a menace for Colchester, continually pressing Clarke and Baudry in defense. Walker in the U’s goal pulled off a fine save to prevent an Orient equalizer after Lowry’s header from a corner.
Colchester put the game out of sight with 17 minutes left, Baudry let Sears in again with the O’s defender looking to usher the ball out, Sears nicked the ball away from him and slotted beyond Woods to seal the points. Slade introduced Jay Simpson, Dean Cox and Jobi McAnuff but they couldn’t make an impact on the game giving Colchester their first league win of the season.
Orient have looked vulnerable on the break all season and with little pace in the team, Watt waltzed through the defense for the first. Breaking down a team is something you have to do when playing at home, Orient have managed one goal in three matches at home this season with Henderson netting after a mistake against Chesterfield. Too much ball is being played up to Henderson especially when Orient go behind with this being the main ploy. Without Cox and the departed Moses, the O’s look lost of ideas in the final third and apart from set pieces did not pose a threat even playing against 10 men for 45 minutes.
Colchester looked poor in the first half with Sears the outlet for them but as Orient pushed men on, they looked dangerous on the break. With a number of players from a higher level they have experience on their side but they will struggle trying to break down a team.
In Slade’s post match interview he revealed that a win is a must at Notts County on Tuesday if he is to keep his job which seems a somewhat fast response from a team that finished third last season. However with a big budget and increased expectation it wouldn’t have taken long for the new Italian owners to have their say on the management.