Leyton Orient’s first win in five games saw them keep their faint play off hopes alive. In a week where Kevin Nolan was relieved off his managerial duties, it was Andy Hessenthaler who led Orient to victory in turn relegating Dagenham to the fifth tier. Two first half goals from Jay Simpson looked to have set the O’s on their way before two goals in a minute pulled the Daggers level. However the Daggers nine year spell in the football league ended when Armand Gnanduillet stroked home with 25 minutes left.
After a week of behind the scenes turbulence at Brisbane Road with Kevin Nolan asked to stepped down as manager and goalkeeping coach Lee Harrison sacked. Andy Hessenthaler and the management team (including O’s president Francesco Bechetti) picked the team which included four changes from the side that lost 3-0 at Barnet last weekend. Nolan, Peter Ramage, Ollie Palmer and Callum Jahraldo Martin dropped out with Sean Clohessy, Mathieu Baudry, Blair Turgott and Armand Gnaduillet coming in.
Dagenham manager John Still knew his side needed no less than a victory in order to give them a very faint hope of survival. Still made only one change to the side that lost 1-0 away to Luton on Tuesday night with former O’s striker Jamie Cureton coming in for Oliver Muldoon.
With the O’s winless in four, they were hoping for a quick start to proceedings which they managed after just three minutes. Armand Gnanduillet flicked on to Sean Clohessy, the right midfielder broke forward and squared to Jay Simpson to slot home the opening goal. With the deadlock broken it was the perfect start for Orient who had only scored one of their last 13 goals in the first half prior to the game.
Orient pressed forward looking to extend their lead with Blair Turgott linking up well with Simpson in attacking areas with Simpson going close to adding a second but his shot was saved by Mark Cousins in the Daggers goal. Armand Gnanduillet then spurred a guilt edge chance for the O’s, after breaking forward he had options right and left in Simpson and Turgott but only managed to drag a shot wide from distance.
Orient were comfortable with Dagenham highlighting why they were the joint lowest scorers in the division but Alex Cisak was called into action smothering a shot from Gavin Hoyte. Despite being ahead, the Daggers were beginning to drift into the game with Orient struggling to gain a foothold in possession. Christian Doidge had an effort blocked from the away side after a Josh Labadie effort rebounded to the striker.
With the half ticking down into added time, Orient doubled their advantage in a nearly identical goal to their opener. Gnanduillet nodded forward to the onrushing Blair Turgott who pressed down on the Dagenham area, he crossed to Simpson who swept in his 25th league goal of the season.
Orient have been known as a second half team in recent months but Matthew Cash fired an early warning to the hosts. However Orient should have added number three with Simpson twice going close in a matter of minutes. First after good work from Turgott on the left, he found Simpson in the center who turned inside but his left footed effort cannoned off the post before his second effort was saved by Cousins.
Orient had failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous four and it was the same old story when Jamie Cureton pounced on a Mathieu Baudry error to round Alex Cisak and halve the deficit. The Daggers seized their opportunity and levelled just a minute later when a corner fell out to Clevid Dikamoma who fired a volley high beyond Cisak to draw the scores level.
With the home crowd in disbelief at their sides collapse, Armand Gnanduillet was being ready to be replaced by Ollie Palmer after a poor show. However the Frenchman’s last involvement was to seal victory when he swept home a Blair Turgott center.
Ollie Palmer replaced Gnanduillet who was very unlucky to miss out on a start and immediately made an impact but his close range header was brilliantly tipped to safety by Cousins. Palmer then went close five minutes later but his lofted effort over Cousins was cleared off the line by Joe Widdowson.
Dagenham pushed late on for an equaliser and were thwarted twice in quick succession by Cisak. First the O’s keeper pushed away a Matt Richards free kick before denying Josh Labadie from close range to give Orient their first victory in five games, keeping them just two points from outside the play off places with just four games left.
Well, never boring is it supporting the Orient however I really wouldn’t mind a quiet week where two of the managerial team get the sack. I don’t think you find many if any of people who thought that Nolan should have been asked to step down but unless you are Bechetti you don’t get a say. Then the decision to sack Lee Harrison was as ludacrious as the Nolan decision.
So it was confirmed post match that Bechetti was involved in the team selection, something I think many of us knew anyway. Well, it explains how Armand Gnanduillet somehow gets a start ahead of Ollie Palmer. How that happens is beyond me? Anyone care to explain this? After the only starter from Barnet who put 100% in is dropped to the bench, it really begs the question on what he actually has to do to keep a place in the side. And after Gnanduillet’s performance he cannot start on Tuesday, well if Bechetti has his say then we all know what will happen.
It is true that Orient played well in spells in the game but it is still a worry that we let the league lowest scorers in the league score twice against us at home. The defence still remains a worry after a period not too long ago when clean sheets were picked up most weeks.
The motto you have to beat what is put in front of you is true, it was exactly what Orient needed after the week they had. A confidence booster to say the least but with two vital games to come, they need wins in both if they are to have any chance of the play offs at the end of the season.The win cannot paper over the cracks of the constant instability Orient have at boardroom and managerial level.
Who knows what will happen against Plymouth and Wimbledon but all we know is that it will never be dull….