James Hanson’s first half double at sorry Leyton Orient moved Bradford City up to seventh just 1 point off the play offs. Hot from their 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Sunday, the Bantams did not have to be at their best to register their seventh away win of the season. Defeat for Orient came after what should have been a morale boosting at Chesterfield but that was not the case as the O’s stay in 23rd, 3 points from safety.
O’s boss Fabio Liverani made only 1 change with Josh Wright dropping out for Marvin Bartley, who set up Dean Cox’s winner on Saturday. Jordan Pickford, Andy Halliday and Mark Yeates returned for Bradford with Ben Williams, Billy Knott and Jon Stead dropping out. Omen’s were not good for Orient having not beaten the Yorkshire outfit since 2008.
Orient started brightly looking for an early goal to boost their confidence with Dean Cox having an early volley at Pickford. The O’s, who had lost 9 home games already this season were pressing City, rousing the home crowd who have been short of things to cheer about this season. Although Orient were slightly the better side, James Hanson was causing both Shane Lowry and Nathan Clarke problems at the back with both unsure of how to deal with front man. Chris Dagnall was a width of a crossbar from putting the O’s in front on 15 minutes; Bradley Pritchard beautifully played in the breaking Romain Vincelot. The Frenchman’s touch fell to Dagnall who volleyed beyond Pickford but onto the bar; David Mooney followed up but his goal bound effort was blocked on the line.
That seemed to be the wake up call the Bantams needed as Billy Clarke, Hanson, Morais and Yeates began to feature. As nearly every home fan could sense the inevitable opening goal for City came after 21 minutes. Yeates’s through ball from the right found the unmarked Hanson who controlled nicely to fire in off the crossbar to give City the lead. Hanson evaded both Lowry and Clarke who gave the front man the freedom of Leyton to hit the opener; the 18th game league match that Orient have conceded the first goal. A game of fine margins for the home side as 6 minutes before Dagnall effort came back off the bar and into play instead of nestling in the back of the net.
Orient needed to hit back with a quick response but Vincelot could only head weakly at Pickford. The Bantams who had gained 33 of their 41 when scoring first gained confidence after the goal and began to dominate proceeding with Yeates and Hanson playing pivotal roles. Referee Trevor Kettle wasn’t having his best game and awarded City a free kick on the left side after a cheap foul from Nathan Clarke. Morais curled the ball in to Hanson who left his marker Lowry, to head City into a 2 goal lead. An uphill task for the O’s who hadn’t won a game after conceding the first two goals this season.
Flipe Morais blazed a shot wide as the visitors became even more comfortable in the game. Parkinson replaced Hanson who had caused the O’s back line problem all first half for Francois Zoko and center half Andrew Davies came off for Gary Mackenzie. Zoko continued where Hanson left off pressurizing Orient’s defense with success. City should have wrapped the game up on 53 minutes when Bartley was dispossessed by Yeates; the winger fed Zoko but his initial effort was blocked. Billy Clarke followed up but Ciask made the save to give Orient a glimmer of hope. Cox was replaced by Ryan Hedges much to the home crowd dissatisfaction just after he had a shot blocked on the line after a O’s corner was not cleared.
Orient pressed for a goal to give them hope with Mooney having a shot blocked before Dagnall headed wide after substitute Wright and Sawyer linked up well from a free kick. Bradford still possessed a threat on the break which nearly came off after Lowry was robbed by Andy Halliday. The midfielder broke from his own half but his left foot shot was tipped round his near post by Ciask with Yeates screaming for a pull back in the center. Dagnall had two efforts in the final 10 minutes: one cleared off the line, the other easily saved by Pickford before Kettle ended proceedings to succumb Orient to their 10th home defeat of the season.
Orient had the chance to take the lead early in the game, although Dagnall was unlucky when at the wrong end of the table those chances have to be taken. Individual errors cost the O’s the game with Nathan Clarke and Shane Lowry both highlighting the reasons why they shouldn’t play alongside each other. Bradford continue to strive on their march to the play offs with a game in hand over Doncaster who sit 6th, a win will see them jump above their local rivals.
“Parkinson is the special one” rang out from the travelling Bantams at the end but in truth that will be the easiest three away points achieved all season. Score the first goal and pressure the O’s backline will give any away team joy at Brisbane Road with Orient look a breath of quality in the final third. Liverani appears to be way out of his depth with strange team selection in particular the inability to start Ryan Hedges and weird substitutions, replacing Marvin Bartley who was the only player driving his side forward. With Oldham in E10 on Saturday, Orient will need to restart once again, but how many times have we heard that in recent weeks.
Liverani must be walking on a tight rope with only 3 wins in 11 as manager losing 7 of those. During his reign Orient only average a goal a game but more worrying is that in 11 of the 30 league matches, the O’s have failed to net. Leaking goals at the wrong end and not scoring leads to problems but the same flaws have remained throughout especially the failure to defend set pieces.