Erhum Oztumer’s curling free kick early in the second half helped Peterborough to their first league win in 7. Aaron McClean volleyed home from close range 9 minutes in to give Posh a perfect start after just picking up 1 point in their last 6. Shaun Batt equalized for the hosts 6 minutes before the break, drilling his shot past Alnwick but it was Oztumer’s free kick which keeps them in 9th just outside the playoffs on goal difference while Orient are now 3 points from safety.
After defeat for both sides last time out both made two changes with David Mooney and Gianvito Plasmati missing through injury for Orient, with them welcoming back Dean Cox and Shaun Batt into the starting 11. Posh made two changes with Harry Beautyman making his full debut and Craig Mackail-Smith coming in for Connor Washington and Jermaine Anderson after both ineligible in the FA Cup last week. Under new boss Fabio Liverani, the O’s played a 4-4-1-1 system with Cox playing just behind Shaun Batt while the Posh utilized a midfield diamond with Oztumer playing behind Mackail-Smith and Mclean.
Orient started brightly in front of their new manager, passing the ball around neatly looking to take advantage of Peterborough’s dented confidence. Dean Cox went agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock after Jobi McAnuff beat two men down the left, his pull back found Cox, but his shot was blocked on the line to keep the scores level. Craig Mackail-Smith partnered Aaron Mclean in attack after recently rejoining the club both on loan from their parent clubs looking to add to the 183 goals they scored between them in their first spell. It was Mclean who put the Posh in front, after Mackail-Smith was found in the left channel, he found Joe Newell unmarked on the left on edge of 18 yard box. His whipped cross found an unmarked Mclean who volleyed home his second goal in as many games at Brisbane Road.
The pace of Mackail-Smith and Mclean was causing Nathan Clarke problems at the back, whether to keep a high line or try and play the on loan Brighton striker offside. Orient probed for an equalizer with Dean Cox’s free kick missed at the back post but both sides were finding it hard to create chances. Orient remained the team with more possession but were finding it difficult to breach the Posh defense with only one fit senior striker in the team. The O’s did level 6 minutes before the break through former Posh striker Shaun Batt, Cox found himself in the left channel and went on a mazy run pulling back to Bradley Pricthard. Pricthard knocked down to Batt who made space and fired home to give Liverani and the O’s fans hope of a second home win of the season.
After equalizing the O’s went in search of a second with a period of pressure but lacked an end product as with the rest of the season. Former O’s youth product Harry Beautyman was making his first return to Brisbane Road since being released in 2011 and could have had the perfect day but blew his opportunity. A cross from the left was dropped by O’s keeper Adam Legzdins in the path of Beautyman but the on loan Welling man volleyed high and wide of the target. Scott Cuthbert drilled a shot wide of the mark just before half time but it was all square at the break.
It was De ja vu as Orient fell behind again just 2 minutes after the restart, Aaron Mclean was fouled on the edge of the box by Nathan Clarke. Erhum Oztumer stepped up and curled a delicious free kick beyond Legzdins for his first Posh goal since his summer move from Dulwich Hamlet. The home side searched for a second equalizer and introduced Jay Simpson in place of Shaun Batt with Liverani keeping just one up front with Cox behind. Simpson saw a header easily saved by Ben Alnwick after a Cox cross but the O’s were finding it hard to create chances. Peterborough were playing on the break using the pace up top and could put the game beyond doubt after Lowry and Clarke took each other out but poor decision making kept the score at 2-1.
With time running out for Orient, Josh Wright had a shot deflected which Alnwick clawed away from danger for Posh. Liverani chucked on Victor Adeboyejo for his first team debut in search of a late leveler. Joe Newell picked up a second yellow for a late challenge on Bradley Pricthard and Orient went so close to picking up a point. Dean Cox’s free kick was nodded on to Adeboyejo after Alnwick fumbled the header but the scholar’s toe poked effort was blocked on the line to seal the three points for Posh.
Another home defeat for Orient with their fourth manager of the season and another game where a team score with their only attempts on target. Just like Gillingham last week, Posh scored with both shots on target but didn’t look like threatening the O’s goal. With an injury hit squad just like much of the season, Shaun Batt was the only recognised senior striker fit for the O’s which is not ideal for a team which has lacked goals this season. Now three points from safety the big question is will the new boss be given time to try and improve Orient’s position. Once again the O’s lacked a cutting edge in the final third much like the rest of the season but with the next three games against sides in the bottom half; Liverani needs results quickly.