Goals from Michael Smith and Nathan Byrne helped Swindon move into the top two with Orient still looking for that elusive first home win of the season. Smith put the visitors on their way to their fifth win in their last seven in all competitions and Byrne sealed victory 2 minutes into the second half with a slick counter attacking move. Second half substitute Darius Henderson netted a stoppage time consolation however the defeat leaves Orient 1 point outside the relegation zone.
After more departures from Leyton Orient in the week, temporary manager Kevin Nugent made 3 changes from last week’s 3-2 defeat to Rochdale; Jay Simpson, Marvin Bartley and Nathan Clarke replacing Darius Henderson, Lloyd James and Elliot Omozusi. Swindon made one change with Andy Williams replacing Jonathon Obika. Swindon lined up in a 3-1-4-2 formation with two quick wingers looking to exploit the weak Orient defense. Nugent seemed to try and match the visitors formation with Jobi McAnuff in a central role trying to prevent Yaser Kasim playing the ball out.
Swindon started the game knocking the ball around nicely and not frightened to play the ball backwards, with 3 center halves and a deep lying midfielder, they always had options on the ball unlike the home side. Dagnall twice evaded the offside trap; first blazing wide after being put through and the second, playing Cox in but the winger saw his shot brilliantly headed off the line by Nathan Thompson. Swindon continued to play out from the back and building attacks starting from the defense. The away side looked dangerous throughout the first half and took the lead after 29 minutes. A neat flowing move saw Kasim get around the back of Shane Lowry and Nathan Clarke, he pulled the ball back to Michael Smith. The 22 year old striker, took one touch to make the space and finished into the top corner.
The home side continued to make chances especially when the team pressed Swindon at the back but with the officials not helping the situation, flagging offside when a Swindon player had passed the ball back. Jay Simpson miss kick a cross from Dean Cox, McAnuff and Cox both went close but the pacey wingers of Nathan Byrne and Amarl’l Bell were causing all kinds of problems with Bryne going narrowly wide on the stroke of half time.
Swindon doubled their lead instantly after the restart, a swift counter attacking move saw a throw out from the goalkeeper take out Vincelot and Bartley. Kasim found Williams in the right channel and Byrne who had been a threat all game continued his run into the box. Williams’s first time cross was swept home by the former Spurs man to put Swindon out of sight. The youthful Swindon team who had an average of 21.8 years persisted with their approach and went close with Bell forcing Woods into a near post save. But Orient looked off the pace especially in midfield and with their team’s average age at 27 they found it hard to keep up with youthful visitors.
Nugent introduced Henderson after Orient went two behind, the summer signing provided a presence in attack with the ball beginning to stick a bit more. Swindon began to let their foot off the gas in the last 15 minutes with Shaun Batt and Romain Vincelot both going close for the home side. Henderson struck in stoppage time for a consolation goal, heading home a Cuthbert cross and the O’s had a chance at the end but Swindon held on for a deserved three points.
Swindon’s youthful side play attractive football and will be up around the play off places but could be caught at the back if a team is brave enough to press 5 yards further forward. However this needs to be a whole team tactic, the first Swindon goal, only Simpson pressed high meaning they had an easy ball around the corner to start the attack. Nugent didn’t seem to have a game plan after going behind, Orient tried to sit back, preventing the space for Swindon but after Swindon went ahead their wasn’t a plan B.
Leyton Orient have problems this season on the pitch as well as off, but with Lloyd James missing for several months, Orient are crying out for some midfield creativity. The manager situation is not helping but Orient just needs to concentrate on getting results and facing pre season league favorites in Sheffield United next week will be tough. The team lacks confidence at the moment and need a couple of good results so that they are braver in attack.