A second half brace from Ollie Palmer helped Orient to their first win in nine games as they beat Hartlepool 3-1. Pool took a deserved first half lead in first half stoppage time as Josh Laurent fired home following a corner. However, Orient who were without a win since 3rd September completed the turnaround in six second half minutes. Sandro Semedo fired home to draw the O’s level before Palmer linked with Jordan Bowery before slotting home. Palmer then added the icing on the cake slotting home to complete victory 19 minutes from time.
Hartlepool made one change from their 3-2 defeat away at Carlisle last weekend. Nicky Featherstone returned in midfield after completed his three match ban. Liam Donnelly dropped back to partner Toto Nsiala at center half with Scott Harrison dropping to the bench.
Orient who lost at home to Luton last weekend were forced into two changes; Yvan Erichot and Jay Simpson missed out through injury. Jens Janse dropped to right back with Nicky Hunt moving across to partner Tom Parkes at the back. Robbie Weir returned in central midfield after serving his three match ban while Jordan Bowery partnered Ollie Palmer in attack.
Hartlepool started the game brightly looking to pick up their first home win of the season with midfielder Josh Laurent breaking forward. It was Laurent who created the first opportunity for the hosts when his through ball found striker Padriag Amond but the former Grimsby man could only fire wide.
Both sides were looking to play out from the back but Hartepool’s high press was looking to catch Orient out at the back. The press in midfield created the next chance for the home side when Orient skipper Robbie Weir lost possession. Laurent broke forward into space but his ball forward was over hit to the Lewis Alessandra who had moved from his right wing berth.
Orient were hanging on with Amond wasting another guilt edge chance for Pool after heading a wonderful cross from Nathan Thomas wide of the far post. Hartlepool’s midfield three were dominating in the middle of the park with Orient’s back four becoming exposed.
Pool continued to press for the opening goal and after Weir was dispossessed once again, Laurent played in Alessandra. The former York winger timed his run brilliantly but the quick thinking of O’s keeper Alex Cisak snuffed out the danger.
Hartlepool conceded two goals from set pieces at Carlisle last weekend and it was nearly their undoing once more. Callum Kennedy’s deep free kick found an unmarked Ollie Palmer at the back post but the former Mansfield man saw his header cannon off of the crossbar. Palmer was causing problems for Pool seeing his cross blocked for a corner after a forward run from Nigel Atangana.
The hosts responded with a spell of pressure on the O’s goal, twice going close but their attempts were brilliantly blocked by Nicky Hunt. The home side didn’t let up in their search for a goal but Lewis Hawkins could only head wide when Hunt was caught under Jordan Richards’s cross.
Orient’s main threat was coming from set pieces with home keeper Trevor Carson looking far from convincing when he flapped at a Kennedy corner but Atangana’s goalbound shot was blocked for a corner. However, with a minute added for additional time, Orient’s Achilles heel surfaced once more. Setting up zonally from a corner, Lewis Hawkins was left unmarked at the back post to head across to Josh Laurent who turned home in front of Cisak to put the hosts ahead.
Trailing at the break, Hartlepool continued to press forward with Amond nearly being played through but defender Tom Parkes cleared the danger. The turning point for the away side came when Alex Cisak brilliantly saved a Lewis Hawkins header to keep the score 1-0. And just two minutes later, Alberto Cavasin’s men drew level when Ollie Palmer found Sandro Semedo free on the right flank. The Orient youngster took one touch and fired home underneath Trevor Carson to level proceedings.
With the home side only winning one of their seven games when taking the lead, Orient seized their chance. Following the goal Orient grew in confidence completing the turnaround six minutes later. After a break forward from Atangana found Palmer, the front man linked with strike partner Bowery before curling home into the far corner for his second in as many games.
The O’s were pressing forward in search for number three with Hartlepool looking vulnerable to the counter attack but winger Gavin Massey could only curl an effort wide of the mark. Hignett responded bringing on Billy Paynter in place of Amond as they searched for an equaliser.
However, it was the O’s who were celebrating once more with 19 minutes remaining when neat play in midfield between Palmer and Massey presented the ball to Semedo who played Palmer in on goal. The front man ran on and confidently slotted home for his second of the game once more dedicated his goal to his cousin Frankie.
Confidence was bubbling in the Orient ranks with Semedo on the end of two wild challenges from Alessandra and Jake Carroll as yellow cards began to rain down. Carroll tame shot sailed into the arms of Alex Cisak before Alessandra curled a free kick wide of the mark. Orient brought on Alan Dunne and Zan Benedicic as they moved to 4-5-1 to preserve their 3-1 advantage.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added on but Orient were able to see the game out, ending their eight match winless streak, moving up to 19th position.
Who saw that coming then? Well I think you will find it hard to find anyone of the 155 travelling fans who could see the O’s win after the first half display. A display which saw Orient overrun in midfield and Hartlepool waste a series of chances to put the game to bed.
A carbon copy of Grimsby away earlier in the season, Orient weathering a first half storm with the hosts failing to put away their chances. The O’s had to be thankful for Alex Cisak who kept his side in the game with his save early in the second half. The turning point which saw the away side turn the game on its head through Semedo and Palmer. Palmer then notched again with a confident finish. Evidence what a goal can do for a striker, eh?
Hang on, Orient conceded first and won a game? Their first win since Boxing day 2015 against Portsmouth and only their second win in 32 games conceding first. Have Orient turned the corner? Well, scoring three goals saw Orient build their confidence and seeing Palmer confident in front of goal was great to see. However the result means very little if Orient cannot back it up at home to Crewe next weekend.
Yes, Orient were poor in the first half, once again conceding from a set piece with Orient defenders just watching Hawkins have a free header. But they stayed in the game and had an attacking threat which caused Hartlepool problems in defence. And have a striker in form scoring goals and with the bit between his teeth since his return to the side last weekend.
Well, what more can you say, a 2am alarm for work followed by a 4hr trip to Hartlepool but all made worth-while with the win. What away days are all about! That is why you follow Orient, it may be poor at times, but the celebrations following the goals today were fantastic.
Crewe up next, The win should see a different Orient next weekend, all to do next is win a home game. I mean how hard can that be………..