Once again the Marriott proves the difference for Leyton Orient. However it was Luton’s Jack Marriott who produced the winner after 27 minutes to give Luton Town their fourth consecutive win.
In a game of few chances, it was route one that gave the Hatters their victory with Marriott latching onto a David Mitchell long ball forward. The Luton forward nipped past Shaun Brisley, lobbing past Alex Ciask to give his side victory. Brisley was later hospitalised after colliding with Mitchell with Orient struggling to break down Luton in the second half. The win moves Luton to just 3 points from the play offs while Orient drop outside the top 7 on goal difference.
Orient who picked up a point in Carlisle on Tuesday night made two changes to their side. After their impact from the bench on Tuesday, Sammy Moore and Ollie Palmer were handed starts with Callum Jahraldo-Martin and Jack Payne dropping to the bench. Armand Gnanduillet and Jobi McAnuff returned from injury to be named on the bench.
Luton who picked up their third victory in a row on Tuesday night against Morecambe made two changes. Dan Potts came into the defense with Jake Howells dropping out with injury. Keeper Jon Mitchell made his debut for the Hatters with Mark Tyler also out with injury.
With both sides in good form, it was a cagey start with Orient having the majority of possession but not creating anything clear cut. Luton’s game plan appeared clear from the start, try to utilise the pace of Craig Mackail-Smith and Jack Marriott. The Hatters were playing balls in the channels looking to turn Orient’s defense the other way and with the willingness of both forwards; it was a useful outlet for the away side.
Orient had their first half chance when Kevin Nolan’s shot was blocked from a corner but the hosts were struggling to create in front of goal. Mackail Smith and Marriot were linking up well in attack and it was the latter who could only drag his shot wide from outside the box
The away side were playing with a midfield diamond which was providing space for Paddy McCourt who was playing just behind the front two. As the half continued, McCourt’s contribution was increasing by the minute with his cute through passes causing Orient problems. Despite Luton’s neat play on the floor, it was route one that broke the deadlock. Mitchell who was making his debut in goal for the Hatters kicked long, Craig Mackail-Smith flicked on. Marriott nipped in ahead of Shaun Brisley and lofted the ball over the top of Ciask to put his side ahead.
Orient were then forced into a change when Shaun Brisley was knocked out by Luton keeper Mitchell, following a free kick. After a lengthy stoppage, Jobi McAnuff replaced Brisley who was sent straight to hospital. Nicky Hunt moved to center half, Sean Clohessy moved to right back with McAnuff slotting into the midfield.
Orient were trying to respond with an equaliser but Ollie Palmer could only head over at the back post from a Sammy Moore cross. Jerome Binnom-Williams was an outlet down the left hand side for Orient and his mazy run beat two Luton defenders however the Palace loanee could only curl an effort at Mitchell.
With the scores level at half time, Orient started the second half brightly with Luton put on the backfoot. However with crosses continually being cleared by former O’s defender Scott Cuthbert who was making his first return to Brisbane Road after his departure in the summer. Orient introduced Armand Gnanduillet in place of Ollie Palmer on the hour mark but it didn’t really give Orient an impetus going forward.
Luton replaced Paddy McCourt with Ruddock as the away side moved to a flat 4-4-2 as they looked to stop Orient’s momentum going forward. Dan Potts was presented with a wonderful chance to double the away sides lead. After neat link up between Mackail Smith and Marriott, the ball fell to Potts on the edge of the area. But the former West Ham trainee could only curl his effort wide.
Orient’s last throw of the dice came when Callum Jahraldo Martin replaced Sammy Moore. Orient had penalty appeals when Jobi McAnuff went down under a challenge but the referee waved away the home sides appeals. Armand Gnanduillet did test Mitchell in the Luton goal after turning well inside the box but his effort went straight at the keeper.
As the final 15 minutes approached Luton looked to hold out for their fourth consecutive victory. Danny Green replaced Jack Marriott as the away side moved to a 4-5-1 formation. With the home side becoming frustrated with the lack of tempo and speed in Orient’s play, it was more like a training session for the visitors. 10 men behind the ball and see if Orient could break you down.
Well the answer was no, Orient’s tempo was too slow and very easy to defend with crosses being cleared time and time again from Scott Cuthbert. The home side had late penalty appeals turn down through Mathieu Baudry and Armand Gnanduillet but it was not going to be Orient’s day and they fell to their third home defeat in last four home games.
After playing so well in the second half at Carlisle, it was always going to be difficult at home to a side in form. Luton and Kevin Nugent had done their homework with their gameplan completed to a tee. Orient have found it hard to pick up wins at home with teams coming to Brisbane Road and coming to take at least a point. The O’s have only taken 10 points from a possible 45 when conceding the first goal. I think most Orient fans knew what the outcome would be after we fell behind.
The pace and tempo of Orient’s play needs to be looked at, when at home and teams are sitting back, you need to attempt to draw them out. The second half proved to be just a training session for Luton with it a 10 men behind the ball and seeing if the opposition can break you down. Send the ball wide and we will clear all of the crosses into the box and that proved to be the difference.
Another game and a mistake costs the O’s once more but the most disappointing thing is in these close games, it is always Orient who give away a mistake. Every game, the emotions change being an O’s fan at the moment, last weekend at home to Crawley would have blinkered people but Crawley were that poor. For anyone at Carlisle in midweek, Orient were very poor in the first half and we were lucky to not be more behind. But the difference in the game was there was space to exploit in the second half when at home Orient did not have that luxury.
Orient need invention in the attacking third at home to cut open defenses or it will be an uphill task to reach the playoffs. With the league so tight the home form of clubs could be imperative to reach the end of season lottery. It is clear where the work on the training ground needs to be done, the question remains do we have a player who can unlock defenses? I’m not sure we do, but Nolan will have to find a away to combat that
Oxford away next weekend in a game which Orient will probably thrive in. Oxford will come on the front foot looking to win the game which should fall straight into Orient’s hands. The O’s are set up to play better away from home but it will have to change if Orient are to make the play offs.
The up and down season for Orient continues, if you like travelling on a bumpy road then make sure you follow Orient. If nothing else it will be a frustrating as hell but midweek trip to Carlisle make it all worth while. See you at Oxford.