Sandro Semedo crashed home an injury time winner to move Leyton Orient closer to League Two survival away at Plymouth last night. The O’s came from behind twice to give them their first win in nine games and the first for Rookie Boss, Danny Webb.
The Pilgrims took the lead after just ten minutes when Ryan Taylor headed a cross back to midfielder Antoni Sarcevic who struck home. The promotion chasers were seeking a second but on the stroke of half time, Orient’s man of the moment Gavin Massey went on a mazy run and struck the equaliser. Matty Kennedy curled home early in the second half to put Plymouth ahead before hitting the post just minutes later.
Substiute Nauris Bulvitis struck the post before Orient fought they way back once more. With two minutes left, Callum Kennedy’s cross fell to Massey at the back post where he fired the equaliser. With time ticking into added time, Orient grabbed a precious three points. Massey’s run down the wing found Josh Koroma but his shot was blocked, the rebound fell to Semedo who fired home the winner to send 156 travelling fans in to ectasy.
After winning the Devon Derby 3-0 on Saturday, Plymouth boss Derek Adams named an unchanged side. Matty Kennedy, Ryan Taylor, Antoni Sarcevic and Jakub Sololik all continued after impressing in their debuts vs Exeter.
O’s boss Danny Webb made three changes to the side that grabbed a late point at Yeovil on Saturday. Yvan Erichot and Nigel Atagana missed out through injury so Callum Kennedy and Josh Koroma started after impressing from the bench on Saturday. Striker Ryan Liburd dropped to the bench with Sam Dalby starting in attack.
Plymouth were full of confidence with Graham Carey whipping in a delicious cross early on but under Danny Webb Orient have found a new sense of belief. Sam Dalby saw a header easily saved by Luke McCormick before midfielder Michael Collins had a tame effort from distance.
However, the Pilgrims took the lead after ten minutes, former O Gary Sawyer crossed for Ryan Taylor at the back post. Taylor, climbing over Tom Parkes headed back to Antoni Sarcevic who struck home. Despite opening the scoring Derek Adams was forced into an early change with Nauris Bulvitis replacing Sonny Bradley in defence.
Plymouth were getting into their swing, carving Orient up through midfield with some great movement between their attacking players. Yann Songo’O headed over from a Carey free kick but Orient still offered an attacking threat. First, good interchange between Sam Dalby and Josh Koroma saw the former have an effort saved by McCormick. Liam Kelly tested McCormick from distance before Ryan Taylor missed a great chance for the hosts. Matty Kennedy mazy run led to a cross for Taylor who swept over from four yards out.
Orient lacked discipline in the first half with Tom Parkes, Nicky Hunt and Callum Kennedy all picking up cautions with the latter injuring Sarcevic who was replaced by Ryan Donaldson.
With Webb’s side still in the game, the main outlet was once more Gavin Massey and just before half time, he produce another special goal. Picking the ball up on the left side just inside his own half, he progressed down the left flank. Reaching the penalty area he cut inside Songo’O and curled a delightful effort into the corner.
In stoppage time of the firsts half, Plymouth had two great chances to take a lead into the break. Centre back Jakub Sokolik volleyed over after Songo’O headed back at the back post before midfielder David Fox volleyed inches wide off Sam Sargeant’s post.
With the scores level at the break, all O’s fans knew the weakness straight after the restart, Josh Koroma had an early effort before the away sides frail defence fell again. Matty Kennedy who had caused Myles Judd problems all night, cut in from the left flank and curled past Sargeant to put Plymouth ahead.
Orient looked for an instant impact with Callum Kennedy crossing for Sam Dalby but the O’s youngster could only see his header fly over. The home side nearly wrapped up victory with an almost identical effort for their second. Matty Kennedy cut in from the left flank but this time his curled shot cannoned off the post to safety.
O’s boss Webb was in his fourth game in charge and has created a spirit and togetherness which continued with them searching for a leveller. Massey saw an effort saved after a neat one two with Michael Collins. Much like Saturday at Yeovil, Orient gained in confidence and were pushing men forward with Dalby and Koroma twice having shots on goal.
Then the games turning point after a corner fell to Bulvitis, his effort hit an O’s defender, crashed off the post and ran along the goal line. With the home side appealing, Sam Sargeant dived on the ball, quickly reacting to set the O’s away on a counter attack. Massey got behind the Plymouth back line, his cross found the unmarked Koroma at the back post but the youngster took a touch before his shot was blocked.
The belief in the men in red was clear to see and they equalised with two minutes to go. Callum Kennedy crossed from the left, Dalby flicked to Massey at the back post who fired under McCormick to level and send the 156 away fans into celebration behind the goal.
Orient could sense a winner as time ticked into stoppage time, Gavin Massey was on his bike down the right flank. He got behind the Plymouth back line, finding Koroma in the penalty area, the youngster saw his effort blocked but the rebound fell to winger Sandro Semedo. Semedo took one touch to set himself before crashing home the winner with the 156 going absolutely barmy in the away end, sealing Orient’s first win since Boxing Day.
A win, a bloody win, just how good does it feel Orient fans? I tell you that no one of the 156 away fans will forget that night in a while especially the scenes in the away end when Semedo struck the winner. We all thought that we had earned a point and were delighted but to grab a late late winner saw limbs everywhere, delight on every bodies faces and a club that is now showing the fight for the badge that so many people hold so close to their heart.
Danny Webb the man who has brought back the passion, fight and desire that every O’s fan expects when they turn up. The team, who are creating chances, have come back twice in four days to earn four points, highlighting the spirit that he has created at Brisbane Road. Despite Plymouth wasting opportunities, I don’t think many people at Home Park last night could begrudge Orient at least point if not all three. There was only one team who were asking the questions in the final minutes.
As I sit travelling the five hours home, the question remains why do it to yourself? Well last night proved exactly why so many Orient fans live and breath the club. The scenes and celebrations from players, fans and the management team all highlighting the passion they have for the club. I know for one, I don’t care one bit about the black eye suffered after Sam Dalby celebrated with the away fans after Massey’s equaliser.
Let’s stay grounded though we still remain the bottom two on goal difference with Cheltenham. The next four games are absolutely crucial starting with Notts County on Saturday. A game which sees Kevin Nolan return to Brisbane Road before Cheltenham Town visit a week later. Stevenage away and Newport away complete the quartet of games which Orient are hitting with some much needed confidence.
Anyway all I can say is, that is the best Valentines Present I could have asked for, a late win at Plymouth for my beloved Leyton Orient football club even after the black eye.
A massive game Saturday, see you all at Brisbane Road where the atmosphere should be fantastic. Orient have a chance of survival and that is the one thing that despite the position Orient always give you. That hope and dream………….