Gareth Evans strike 30 seconds after half time moves Fleetwood up to ninth while Orient still languish in 20th. After back to back wins over Christmas, Orient looked to start 2015 as they ended it but straight from the restart to the second half, Evans was played through and calmly slotted home to give the Cod Army all three points.
Fabio Liverani made two changes to the side that beat Yeovil 3-0 last time out welcoming back Andrea Dossena and David Mooney for Gary Sawyer and Kevin Lisbie whilst new loan signing John Lundstram was on the bench. Fleetwood remained unchanged from their 2-2 draw last week at home to Swindon.
With recent victories over Crawley and Yeovil, Orient looked for a confident display to move them further away from the relegation zone but that was clearly not the case as the game started. Orient were sluggish and lethargic in the opening stages standing off the Fleetwood when they were in possession. Only two changes were made to the team from Yeovil but Orient seemed a million miles away from the football they played in Cornwall 12 days ago. The home side were losing nearly every second ball in the middle of the park with the distance between midfield and attack becoming a worry. Gareth Evans had the first opportunity for the away side blazing over from outside the area after faint handball appeals from the Cod Army.
The away side continued to be the dominant side having a lot of joy down their right with Andrea Dossena continually having positional issues. After a goalmouth scramble with Orient struggling to clear the ball, Dobbie tried to chip Woods but the Orient keeper saved easily. With the crowd becoming restless with the lack of battle from their side, Fleetwood saw their opportunity to strike and went agonizingly close to opening the scoring. Evans made a break down the left, crossed to Dobbie at the back post who evaded Dossena but saw his volley clip the bar after striking into the ground. Orient tried to up the tempo and maintain possession with Dagnall forcing Maxwell into a smart save after good link up from Mooney and Vincelot.
Josh Wright continued in midfield after signing till the end of the season in midweek and saw his half volley rise over the bar from a cleared Omosuzi cross. Stephen Dobbie went close for Fleetwood but his near post shot went just wide for the away side. Orient still struggled going forward with the creative spark missing which has been seen in glimpses in recent weeks. The Cod Army saw where the weaknesses were and Jamie Proctor should have put them ahead 3 minutes from the break after getting behind Dossena but saw his shot smothered by Woods. Orient top scorer was looking to add to his 3 goals in two games and nearly did just that when his run down the left saw his shot clip the far post after Maxwell get an important touch.
Josh Wright was replaced by Lundstram at half time much to the fans surprise with the former Millwall midfielder one of the better performers in the first half. Before most fans were in their seats, Fleetwood took the lead. A long ball forward from right back McLaughlin was flicked on by Proctor to the onrushing Evans who received the ball in acres of space in the Orient defence and clamly slotted home. The third time in three home matches where Orient have conceded a goal in the first ten minutes of either half. Orient appeared to change system from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 with Lundstram and Pricthard holding with Cox (right), Vincelot (left) and Mooney just behind Dagnall.
Orient were still struggling winning the second ball against their counterparts but Mooney should have done better after Dagnall found his strike partner on the edge of the box. The home side played a number of balls looking for Dagnall and Lisbie throughout the match but Roberts and Jordan cleaned up nearly every ball. Dean Cox was replaced by Kevin Lisbie which didn’t go down to well with the home crowd but was later announced that he was struggling with a thigh injury.
It was hard to pick up the Orient formation at times in the second half but Vincelot, Lundstram, Dagnall and Lisbie were trying their best to push their side on to equalize. Lisbie did give the home side more of a presence in attack looking to hold the ball up. David Mooney volleyed over on 70 minutes before Lisbie missed the best chance for the hosts to level. Dossena nicked the ball on the left and whipped in a cross for Lisbie but the veteran striker got his feet mixed up and his effort looped over the bar from 4 yards out.
Orient continued to press with Mooney having a shot brilliantly blocked on the edge of the box. Gianvito Plasmati returned from injury replacing David Mooney seeing the Orient revert to their third formation of the day in 4-3-3. While Steven Schumacher and Tyler Hornby-Forbes were introduced seeing Fleetwood settle for the draw going 5-4-1 looking to see the game out. Plasmati headed over from a Pricthard cross before the contentious decision of the match. Pricthard nipped the ball past Martin Crainey on the left with the referee blowing for a foul with the only decision of whether it happened in the penalty area. It was awarded just outside which incensed Liverani who was sent off for his protest, replays after the match highlighted the offence occurred just inside.
The Cod army saw the remaining minutes out to gain all three points with Orient feeling aggrieved with the penalty decision but ultimately Orient were not good enough in the game to get a result. Fleetwood move to ninth just 2 points from the play off places but the league remains close. With Orient in 20th outside the relegation zone on goal difference on 25 points they are only 11 points from the play off places. If and a big if Orient pick up form they will climb the table quickly but with results being like a roller coaster ride, anything can happen. Lundstram is a good signing at this level but Orient need to build with a new center half and all season they having been crying out for a right midfielder. Some pace in the team would help the man in possession with an option on the break and could be integral to an improvement in Orient’s form.