Leyton Orient sealed only their third home win of the season with a 3-0 victory over Oldham Athletic. Andrea Dossena set the home side on their way notching his first goal in English football for 6 years before David Mooney slotted home from the spot after Jobi McAnuff was brought down. Jonathon Forte had a second half penalty saved by on loan keeper Alex Ciask after Mathieu Baudry was adjudged to have brought down Rhys Murphy. Jay Simpson netted in added time to put the O’s just 2 points from safety at the bottom of League 1.
Orient boss Liverani shuffled his pack making 5 changes from his sides 2-0 defeat to Bradford on Wednesday: Nathan Clarke, Dean Cox and Marvin Bartley dropped to the bench whist Bradley Pritchard and Elliott Omosuzi missed out through injury. Ryan Hedges and Jobi McAnuff started on the wings with Josh Wright partnering Romain Vincelot in central midfield. Andrea Dossena came in at left back as Gary Sawyer reverted to right back with Shane Lowry partnering Mathieu Baudry at the heart of the defense. Oldham made three changes from their surprise 1-0 home defeat to Colchester last week with Rhys Turner, Carl Winchester and Dominic Poleon coming in for Dave Jones, Jacob Mellis and Rhys Murphy.
The O’s started brightly looking to get an early goal to put Oldham on the back foot. Fabio Liverani spoke after the Bradford defeat and explained that he preferred wingers who play so they can get in and get a shot away. Liverani’s ploy provided Orient with an early goal to settle the nerves with Dossena slotting home. McAnuff received Wright’s pass in the center, he looked up and played to Hedges who had come off the right flank. With his head up, Hedges played a first time pass through to the forward Dossena. The Italian defender took one touch before settling himself to slot home beyond Jake Kean in the Oldham goal. The early goal galvanized the home crowd who had only seen two home wins in the 15 league games at Brisbane Road this season.
David Mooney could on another day have had a penalty after appearing to pushed over in the Lactic’s penalty area but referee, Darren Sheldrake thought otherwise. Orient were keeping possession well in the middle of midfield looking to play forward through Hedges and McAnuff. Oldham looked lost for ideas in attack with Jonathon Forte unable to find space beyond the O’s defense. The O’s dominance in the early stages was doubled with another great move down their left. Dagnall flicked on to McAnuff who broke beyond the Lactics back line, the Jamaican midfielder’s run was halted when he entered the penalty area by Liam Kelly with Sheldrake pointing straight to the spot. David Mooney stepped up and coolly slotted home his 8th goal of the season and 50th Orient goal to give the O’s some breathing space.
The Latics reverted from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 with Dominic Poleon looking to pull on to Gary Sawyer who was playing out of position in the Orient back line. But the conventional left back looked at home as the opposite full back, Shane Lowry and Matheiu Baudry looked comfortable as a partnership but the duo were not troubled in the first half with the away side only having two half chances. Joseph Mills saw his free kick tipped over for a corner by Ciask on the half hour and the left back created the best chance of the half for the Lactics. Mills broke beyond both Hedges and Sawyer down the left, pulling back to Rhys Turner who had dropped out to the edge of the box but the 19 year old forward blazed high and wide.
Lee Johnson brought on Connor Brown for Joseph Mills at half time with the Lactics boss changing systems to a 4-3-3 with Jonathon Forte and Dominic Poleon playing either side of the central striker Rhys Turner. The home side began to sit back with Oldham having the majority of possession but struggling to get behind the O’s. Romain Vincelot prevented Forte from heading in at the back post following a well worked corner from the away side. Andrea Dossena was lucky to escape injury after what appeared to be a two footed challenge from a Oldham midfielder but Sheldrake waved play on with Dossena rightfully incensed with the decision.
Rhys Murphy was introduced to the fray for Rhys Turner with McAnuff making way for Dean Cox with former Reading man probably having his best 60 minutes in an Orient shirt. McAnuff’s last play saw a shot go wide after Josh Wright had robbed Liam Kelly in midfield. The contentious decision of the game came on 65 minutes when it appeared that Rhys Murphy had fallen over Mathieu Baudry but Sheldrake saw otherwise and pointed to the spot. Forte stepped up but his spot kick was brilliantly saved by Ciask with Liam Kelly’s follow up clipping the bar; the piece of luck that has been evading the O’s in recent weeks.
Oldham were beginning to find spaces in midfield with the home side looking to absorb the pressure. Forte was dropping deeper to pick the ball and drive at the Orient defense but his shooting radar appearing to be out of range. Liverani replaced Mooney with Bartley reverting to a 4-5-1 with Wright sitting in front of the back four with Vincelot and Bartley in front of him. With the O’s sitting deeper, Johnson’s was encouraging his men forward to get back in the game. Poleon was causing Dossena problems down the left but he shot over. Jay Simpson came on for Ryan Hedges to make his first appearance for the O’s since December.
Carl Winchester had a shot blocked by Gary Sawyer at the near post before Poleon wayward shot in the final minutes summed up Oldham’s day. Orient rounded up their performance with Simpson netting his first goal in the league since start of November. Cox nicked the ball away from Kunsunga, playing Simpson in. The former Arsenal and Hull forward, swiveled onto his left foot and his left foot shot crept beyond Kean and into the net.
A much needed home win for Orient who have suffered troubles at home all season. Every player showed their desire and passion in the game with stand out performers of Gary Sawyer, Josh Wright, Shane Lowry and Jobi McAnuff but it would be fair to say that all of the team played together earning the result. With Colchester and Crawley both winning with Coventry picking up a point at Sheffield United, the win helped Orient stay in contention with the clubs above them. Liverani has seemed to learn a few parts of English football recently bringing on Bartley when Orient were getting over run in midfield which he hasn’t done before. Playing two wingers helped Orient going forward with both Hedges and McAnuff looking to go forward rather than just the safer option.
To give Liverani slight credit with Hedges appearing to be learning his trade, with better wingers against them, Hedges may leave his full back rather exposed. A blow for the O’s is Vincelot missing the next two through suspension after getting his 10th booking of the season. Orient travel to Walsall next week, with another 3 games in 7 days; playing Bristol City at home on Tuesday before a trip to Peterborough. With confidence now gained, Orient need to keep focused on the job at hand.