Jordan Bowery first Leyton Orient goal helped topple league leaders Morecambe. Bowery’s deflected effort nine minutes into the second half ensured Orient maintained their unbeaten away record. Liam Kelly netted his third in three games after his curling effort deceived Barry Roche in the Shrimps goal. Kevin Ellison restored parity early in the second half before Bowery’s first goal in a O’s shirt sealed victory.
Top of the table Morecambe made five changes from their side that lost 4-1 to Bury in the EFL trophy in midweek. Barry Roche returned in goal in place of Daniel Nizic who dropped down to the bench. Tom Barkhuizen, Jack Dunn, Cole Stockton and Michael Rose all returned to the starting 11 to welcome the visit of Orient.
Orient who beat Stevenage 3-1 on Tuesday night made four changes from that side. Alex Cisak returned in goal with Sam Sargeant dropping to the bench. Gavin Massey and Liam Kelly returned in midfield with Nigel Atangana missing through injury and Sandro Semedo dropping to the bench. While Yvan Erichot starting in place of Aron Pollock in defence.
Orient who were unbeaten on their travels began the game well, pressing their hosts high to prevent them from passing their way out. Robbie Weir and Liam Kelly were leading the pressing in the O’s midfield with the rest of the team joining. However it was the hosts who had the first shot of the match when Cole Stockton found space in the area but the on loan Tranmere man dragged his shot wide.
Both sides were struggling to find space to pass the ball around in the midfield but the freedom of Morecambe attacking quartet was asking questions of the O’s backline. Kevin Ellison and Tom Barkhuizen were making runs from outside to in allowing space for their full backs to advance with left back Aaron McGowan free on many occasions.
Cisak was called into action after 18 minutes when Kevin Ellison’s run to the right channel and shot caused Cisak to punch the ball away with O’s right back Nicky Hunt forced to clear away under pressure from Morecambe. The O’s did start to bring the ball down with Jordan Bowery seeing an effort deflected for a corner after a good move down the right for the away side.
As Orient grew into the game they took the lead just before the half hour mark with Liam Kelly grabbing his third in as many games. After bringing the ball down outside the penalty area, the former Oldham captain curled an effort towards goal which bounced over the hands of Barry Roche and into the net.
Gaining confidence from his scoring streak, Kelly then volleyed over after linking well with Harry Cornick down the right. Morecambe were struggling to create going forward with both Orient full backs: Nicky Hunt and Callum Kennedy looking very comfortable.
Leading at the break, Orient looked to push for a second right at the start of the second half but found Roche in inspired form. Three minutes after the interval, Roche saved brilliantly down to his right after a Robbie Weir effort was deflected on goal.
However, the hosts responded well drawing level just a minute later, indecision between Tom Parkes and Yvan Erichot in the O’s backline saw Ellison pounce. The wide man coming in from his left wing berth picked the ball up just outside the area and his deflected effort flew past Cisak to level proceedings.
But it was the away side who were the livelier after the equaliser with Bowery nearly restoring Orient’s one goal lead almost immediately. Following an exquisite through ball from captain Robbie Weir, Bowery advanced on goal but his low shot was tipped behind by Roche.
The away side did grab a deserved second, after a ball forward, striker Paul McCallum pounced on a second ball. His touch fell to Bowery inside the box, the former Oxford man pushed the ball to the side with his shot deflected beyond Roche to put Orient back ahead.
Orient continued with their attack on the home sides goal with Liam Kelly seeing an effort saved from point blank range before Paul McCallum’s effort from a Cornick cross when inches wide. Michael Rose fired wide from distance before Orient should have had a penalty when it appeared McCallum was hauled down at the back post. Great work from French centre back, Yvan Erichot who advanced forward and played the ball back to Cornick who crossed for McCallum.
With Orient continuing to see chances come and go with Parkes seeing a header saved whilst a well worked corner saw Yvan Erichot back post header tipped away, Orient fans were still nervous in the away end. Home manager Jim Bentley threw on Rhys Turner and Alex Kenyon to look for a response however Orient appeared comfortable.
Roche continued thwarting Orient’s attempt for a third when McCallum wondered what he had to do to score. After clever work down the right from Cornick saw his header find McCallum who’s volley from close range was pushed away by Roche’s legs.
Massey and Bowery saw late efforts saved and blocked respectively however with only a one goal lead, Orient nerves remained in evidence. With Morecambe throwing everything forward in the dying minutes, the away side held strong once more gaining three valuable points in their search for promotion.
Another crazy week in the life of Leyton Orient football club, how many of them have we had recently? But times move on, in a week where long serving winger Dean Cox was released a day after the transfer window and a injured French defender was signed on a three year contract.
Times move on, and what a professional performance from every Orient player today. From keeper to striker, every player knew their roles and responsibilities including from set pieces. Callum Kennedy continued at left back after his performance in midweek, with the former Wimbledon showing exactly the quality his has to offer. Comfortable, confident and solid in defence and the ability to get forward, putting in great crosses.
The centre half partnership of Erichot and Parkes is continuing to grow and develop as they play more games together. Massey and Cornick showed their attacking intent and the thrat that they cause opposition defences throughout. Bowery netted his first goal for Orient and how pivotable could it prove to be. He has struggled at the start of his O’s career but his confidence was given an instant boost after he opened his account.
Paul McCallum looked after for the game highlighting his credentials for being first choice striker with Liam Kelly continuing his great work in the O’s midfield. Breaking up play and pitching in with another goal to give Orient a foothold in proceeding.
However the two standout performances were from Birthday boy, Nicky Hunt and captain Robbie Weir. People may have looked surprisingly at the decision to release Sean Clohessy earlier in the week but on today’s evidence Hunt showed the quality and experience he has to help the team. Game management from Hunt was evident throughout which breeds confidence in the O’s side.
But Weir who would be first to say he struggled in the opening weeks of the season showed why he was brought in. Following his arrival he would have thought his position as first choice central midfielder was nailed on however the early season form of Nigel Atangana seems to have kicked him into gear. Weir’s vision in the second half helped Orient push forward with his game management and experience of League Two providing a solid base in defence.
Three points against the league leaders gives everyone a smile especially with the performance of the whole team. A tough place to go but with Orient unbeaten in their first three away games, they highlighted that they can go anywhere and pick a result up. The home form will be next on the agenda to improve but it is clear to see that Orient have the ability to be a great side away from home providing that they defend well. The quality they have in attack should do the rest.
Carlisle away next weekend up is next up, a long journey north on the train but after a tough week, everyone needs to finally move on and look to the future. No-one knows where the journey will take us, but all I know is Brunton Park is next up and I’ll be there.