Goals from Cameron McGeehan and Danny Hylton ensured Luton kept pace with the top three at the summit of League Two. McGeenhan tapped home on the half hour mark when Jack Marriott’s shot was parried with the former Norwich City man on hand to tap home. Orient pushed for an equalizer in the second half but the Hatters doubled their advantage when Danny Hylton and Marriott linked up. Hylton’s flick found Marriott who reached the penalty area before teeing up his strike partner for his eighth of the season.
Orient pulled a goal back with 11 minutes remaining when substitute Paul McCallum found Ollie Palmer unmarked in the six yard box where his shot went in off the post. However Orient were unable to level losing their 5th match in 6 games at home this term, leaving them outside the relegation places on goal difference.
In his third match in charge of the O’s, manager Alberto Cavasin made two changes to the side that lost at home to Portsmouth last weekend. Nigel Atagana returned in place of Liam Kelly after several weeks out through injury alongside Sandro Semedo who started on the left in place of Ulrich Nnomo.
Luton who had drawn their last three league games 1-1 made four changes to their side. Defender James Justin pulled his calf in the warm up so Stephen O’Donnell filled in at right back. Olly Lee was suspended so Glen Rea came into the midfield while Pelly Ruddock and Jake Gray dropped to the bench; Alex Gilliead and Jordan Cook replaced the pair.
In a fairly quiet start, neither side was able to stamp their authority in the opening exchanges. Jack Marriott who netted twice last season against the O’s nearly had the first chance of the match but Jordan Cook’s through ball was cut out by Yvan Erichot at the last minute.
Orient started to press forward, looking to exploit the narrowness of Luton’s midfield diamond. Both full back for Orient, Nicky Hunt and Callum Kennedy were looking to press forward creating an overload on the wing. The return of Nigel Atangana gave so much needed energy in the midfield and his run forward presented the first opportunity of the game. Sandro Semedo nearly caught out Christian Walton at his near post however the recently capped England U21 International managed to parry the ball away.
Orient’s play had a quicker tempo and pace which helped create space in wide areas. Orient should have taken the lead on 13 minutes, finding Hunt in space down the right his cross evaded everyone in the middle. The ball fell to the unmarked Ollie Palmer at the back post but the striker headed wide of the mark.
With Orient finding joy down the wings, Luton manager Nathan Jones rotated his midfield with Jordan Cook moving left and Cameron McGeenhan moving into the space just behind the front two. Luton started to move back into the game with Alex Gilliead’s cross falling on top of Alex Cisak’s goal.
After scoring in the EFL trophy with a well worked set piece, Luton tried the same with nearly the same outcome but Cameron McGeehan’s goal bound effort was parried away by Cisak in the Orient goal. With Luton growing in confidence, Orient’s playing out from the back ploy was being tested and just on the half hour mark it was punished upon by Luton. Jay Simpson was disposed by Glen Rea who found Jack Marriott, he swiveled unleashing a shot which Cisak parried to the onrushing McGeenhan who tapped home to give the visitors the lead.
Orient looked to respond after falling behind, once again with joy down the right where Massey’s cross found Jay Simpson but his shot was blocked by Luton’s back line. However, Luton still remained dangerous with Marriott’s pace in attack with the front man nearly doubling his advantage. After being found in the left channel, he cut back onto his right foot and drove towards the penalty area but his shot was blocked for a corner.
With Luton leading at the break, Orient started the second half strongly with Sandro Semedo and Callum Kennedy putting teasing crosses in from the left hand side. Semedo had a weak shot saved before full back Nicky Hunt found space on the right but his shot was deflected into the side netting.
Marriott’s influence on proceedings was growing with the striker so close to grabbing his fourth of the season just before the hour mark. After being found in the left hand channel, he cut back on to his right foot. But Cisak brilliantly tipped his shot onto the post before flicking the loose ball away with Jordan Cook rushing to tap home.
Paul McCallum replaced Jay Simpson with just over 20 minutes remaining with his introduction nearly providing an instant reward. After nicking the ball from a Luton defender, he teed up Palmer but his shot was parried away by Christian Walton.
The Hatters responded doubling their advantage with 16 minutes left when the front two combined once more. Walton’s ball forward was flicked on by Hylton into the path of Marriott, he advanced to the penalty area where he found the unmarked Hylton who fired home for his eighth of the season.
Luton’s front two were enjoying acres of space going forward and the Hatters should have grabbed number three with 12 minutes left. Hylton advanced forward, playing in Alex Gilliead on the right but he screwed his shot wide. Almost immediately Orient halved the deficit when McCallum was played down the right hand side, his cross found Palmer who’s shot went in off the post.
With Luton’s manager Nathan Jones urging his side to calm down with the game back in the balance again he brought on Jonathon Smith for McGeenhan as he moved to a flat midfield four. The Hatters nearly regained their two goal margin when Hylton cut in from the left but his goal seemingly destined for the net parried behind by Cisak.
With time ebbing away, Orient were unable to draw level leaving them just outside the relegation places on goal difference where as Luton’s unbeaten record is stretched to six matches.
Another Saturday, another home defeat, Orient’s fifth in six home league games this term. A terrible record with only hint that they could change when Crewe travel to Brisbane Road in two weeks.
Orient started the game well, with the tactics spot on, moving the ball quickly and keeping a high tempo creating space in wide areas. Nicky Hunt and Callum Kennedy were having joy and the game would have different had Ollie Palmer headed home in the first half.
However, Jones changed his personnel in their positions and the movement off of the ball was too much for Orient to handle. Orient didn’t heed the warning that Luton will try inventive set pieces and had to be thankful for Cisak for saving from McGeenhan.
Under Alberto Cavasin, the Italian likes his sides to play out from the back but Luton punished this. With Simpson dropping deep to find the ball, he was disposed by Glen Rea who played in Marriott, his shot was parried by Cisak. After McGeenhan move more central the midfield pounced on the loose ball to tap home with Orient’s midfield watching him.
Falling behind is a major problem for the O’s as they have to come out to level the game, leaving space behind them. Luton loved this with Marriott’s runs in behind causing problems and helping Luton score their second. His combination with Hylton saw him collect his flick on then in turn tee his strike partner up.
Orient did score a goal though, their first in five matches but to no avail. The brand of football is better to watch than under Andy Hessenthaler. However with three defeats in three games, results don’t appear to be changing under Cavasin. With the atmosphere around Brisbane Road rapidly turning, Orient need something to kick start their season a currently they are free falling to the bottom of League Two.
Only three game into Cavasin’s reign, fans will have to be patient with his ideas taking time to be shown on the pitch. How much time though? No win since the start of September, with Orient only taking two points from seven games, if the season started on the 4th September, Orient would be bottom.
Anyway, who’s up for Hartlepool away next weekend then…………