O’s Defeated By Ebbsfleet United

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Leyton Orient lost out to Ebbsfleet United as the Blue Square Bet Premier side secured a 1-0 victory. Russell Slade’s starting eleven was close to full strength and the O’s had the better of the game during the first 45 minutes. There were chances for Kevin Lisbie and the former Charlton striker also provided opportunities for Jimmy Smith and Dean Cox. The home side had also threatened on occasion during the first half but it was not until the 66th minute that the home side broke the deadlock through a Nathan Elder goal. The inexperienced Orient side continued to search for the equaliser, but they could not breach the Ebbsfleet defence and the hosts held out for the win.

Both Teams Honour Ebbsfleet’s Longest-Serving Manager Liam Daish

Scott Cuthbert made his return from injury and he was partnered by new signing Nathan Clarke at the centre of defence. Dean Cox was given license to roam behind the front two and he created Orient’s first chance of the half.  Cox had drifted to the right flank  and crossed the ball into the box, Lisbie reacted quickly but his diving header was directed straight at Ebbsfleet goalkeeper Preston Edwards. The home side had made a slow start to the match but they responded to Lisbie’s effort by creating a chance of their own. Moses Ashikodi had an opportunity to put the Fleet in front however he was denied by Jamie Jones. New man Anthony Griffith played Lisbie in behind the Ebbsfleet defence but the experienced front man scuffed his shot wide. Lisbie was at the heart of Orient’s attacking threat and twice he caused trouble for the home defence by cutting in from the left-hand side and laying the ball off. On the first occasion Cox blazed his shot over the bar, then Smith had his shot blocked by Patrick Ada. Late  in the half, Ebbsfleet almost grabbed a goal from a corner, but Elder’s header was blocked on the goal-line.

Orient Threaten From A Corner

The O’s boss made seven changes at half time, giving trialists and youth team members more match time, with the remaining first-half players being replaced on the hour. The second period lacked quality from both sides, but the hosts scored the only goal of the game on 66 minutes. Orient defender Sean Grace failed to deal with a long ball played forward by the Fleet defence, leaving Nathan Elder one-on-one with Ryan Allsop and the striker slotted the ball past the new O’s stopper. Substitute Moses Odubajo had looked lively, breaking forward from the right back postion but in general the away side’s attack lacked penetration. However, Afolabi Obafemi; who scored two goals in midweek against Sutton United; had a great opportunity to equalise almost immediately after Ebbsfleet’s goal. The striker latched on to a goal kick with only the keeper to beat, but the youngster’s shot lacked composure and it ended up going high over the crossbar. The best chance for an equaliser had been wasted, but Grace almost atoned for his previous error from a corner, his header narrowly missing the target. Things almost got even worse for Russell Slade’s side when Allsop punched the ball only as far as Tom Phipp on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected over by Odubajo. It made no difference as Ebbsfleet held on to claim the win.

The O’s Search For An Equaliser

Orient lined up with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Cox at the tip, Baudry at the base and Smith and Griffith either side. In some ways this worked well but there were flaws to the plan. Despite being more accustomed to the role of central defender, Mathieu Baudry looked good sitting in front of the back four. Not only did the Frenchman cut off supply to Ebbsfleet’s forward line, he was also able to cover when one of the defenders pushed forward or were caught out of position. In addition to these defensive qualities, he also looks comfortable on the ball and able to pick a pass. Griffith offered good support as well as breaking up play, while Smith looked more comfortable in a more central position.

Cox provided the main creative outlet and caused problems by drifting into space. However, he looked most dangerous when he picked up the ball in wide areas and crossed into the box and the team lacked width when he stayed central. Getting the shape right will take more work but regardless of the formation, Russell Slade faces the same problem, Orient lack creativity. Nearly every attacking move goes through Cox and this reliance on one player to provide the spark going forward is worrying.

On a positive note, the O’s were solid defensively in the first half with Cuthbert and Clarke looking like a potentially good partnership and James and Sawyer didn’t do much wrong either.

 

 

Ebbsfleet Utd Line-up
Preston Edwards
Craig Stone
Neil Barrett 75′
Patrick Ada
Joe Howe
Hudson 57′
Walsh 46′
Liam Bellamy 39′
Ben Greenhalgh 57′
Nathan Elder 71′
Moses Ashikodi 80′
Subs
Wilson 75′
Blake 57′
Paul Lorraine 46′
Tom Phipp 39′
Lanre Azeez 57′
Adam Williams 71′
Akinde 80′
Tom McNeill
Folks

 

 

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