Jamie Turley’s first half finish handed Newport their first away victory of the season at Leyton Orient yesterday. Turley turned in at at the back post following a flick on by Marlon Jackson to give the Exiles all the three points in the Capital. Orient huffed and puffed in the search for an equaliser but were left disappointed.
O’s boss Andy Hessenthaler made five changes from the side that departed the EFL Cup to Fulham on Tuesday night. Impact subs Dean Cox and Paul McCallum made their first starts in a competitive match for almost 9 months in place of Callum Kennedy and Harry Cornick. Sean Clohessy and Tom Parkes returned in defense with Nicky Hunt and Arron Pollock dropping out. Alex Ciask returned in goal with Sam Sargeant taking his place on the bench.
With Newport suffering back to back 3-2 defeats in their opening two fixtures, Warren Feeney was looking for his side to bounce back. Jack Compton was ruled out with a calf injury so Jennison Myrie Williams came into the midfield. Jazzi Barnum-Bobb dropped to the bench with recent loan signing Jordan Green handed his first start for the Exiles.
The home start started the brighter of the two sides with Sean Clohessy’s cross cleared by the away side, while Dean Cox and Gavin Massey looked lively on the flanks. Orient had started brighter in the opening 10 minutes last weekend at Cheltenham and continued today but failed to force Newport keeper Joe Day into action.
As Newport came through the opening 10 minutes, Sean Rigg went close twice for the away side. After catching Sandro Semedo in possession on the right, Rigg cut in but fired wide of the mark from inside the box. Then, Sean Clohessy was caught on the opposing side, Myrie Williams reached the byline crossing to Rigg but the striker’s pop shot flew over the bar.
The Exiles were enjoying the better of possession but neither side were troubling the goalkeepers. The game was drifting away towards half time until Leyton Orient’s achilles heel came to fruition once more. Mark Randall’s corner was flicked on at the front post by Marlon Jackson to the unmarked Jamie Turley at the back post to tap home.
Despite falling behind, Orient’s tactics were very predictable playing long balls up to Paul McCallum and Ollie Palmer but the Newport defense were dealing well. Dean Cox and Robbie Weir fired over from outside the box but Joe Day remained untroubled in goal.
Following half time Orient did not change their system despite lacking ideas and creativity in the first half. Ollie Palmer did manage to wriggle behind the Exiles defense but dragged his shot wide of the mark. Newport began to sit deep with Orient enjoying much of the ball but much like recent seasons looked lost for ideas in trying to break down a packed defense.The Exiles could have doubled their lead when a mistake from Liam Kelly was pounced on by Rigg with the ball falling to Myrie Williams who saw his effort fly high and wide.
With his side trying to hold onto their lead, he changed his system to 5-3-2 with the introduction of Jazzi Barnum-Bobb and Ben Tozer with both wide men departing in Jennison Myrie Williams and Jordan Green.
Palmer’s work rate almost pulled his side level after his good work down the right saw a pull back reach Liam Kelly but Orient’s no 4 saw his effort blocked for a corner. Hessenthaler reacted from the bench bringing on Nigel Atangana and Harry Cornick who gave the home side an instant lift.
Atangana’s energy levels in midfield looked to push his side on with his first touch putting Gavin Massey through on the left but his cross was blocked. Cornick was bright linking up well with Clohessy down the right but his shot was blocked. Tom Parkes and substitute Jordan Bowery had efforts from late corners but to no avail.
Orient’s play became more and more frantic in the final 10 minutes and should have drew levels with just six minute left. Sandro Semedo created room on the left, his wonderful cross found the unmarked Ollie Palmer at the back post but he headed wide from six yards. It wasn’t to be Orient’s day who will seek their first victory of the season at home to Stevenage on Tuesday night.
We’re only two games in to a season that promised much again but the signs appear to another disappointing campaign. Over reactions happen in football but currently the same flaws in the side have not been reciftied over the summer: 1. Failure to defend set pieces and 2. inability to break down a packed defensive unit.
Where do we look for solutions? Well, I was amazed that Nigel Atagana did not start after his impact on Tuesday night, he pushed the team forward and provided the energy from midfield. The midfield was very one paced in central areas with Kelly and Weir today, which puts to much reliance on the wings and the forwards.
With the Jay Simpson saga set to be resolved in the week, a ridiculous one but you get used to that around here don’t you. A player that netted 20 + goals in League two next season and is unavailable for selection. Without Simpson in the team or squad, the four strikers that remain are all the same type of play and make the same runs.
Yesterday, there was one tactic of hitting the ball to Ollie Palmer and hoping he held the ball up. There appeared no thought of trying to get behind the Newport defense either down the side by the wingers or stretching them behind and in the channels. As plenty of teams have shown in the last season, being so predictable in attack means teams come with the same game plan which ultimately works 9 times out of 10 at the moment.
Tuesday night sees another home game against Stevenage where most Orient fans already know the envitable feeling that Jobi McAnuff will score or assist and Jamie Jones will have another man of the match display in goal.
Well who knows but what is important that Orient need a victory ahead of a tough trip to Grimsby next Saturday where they will be right up for the game.