Leyton Orient extended their winning start to the league season by beating Stevenage 3-0 at Brisbane Road. The first-half remained goalless, though both sides came close to opening the scoring. Stevenage hit the post early on and Paul McCallum saw his header get cleared off the line, though replays suggested that the ball actually crossed the line. The deadlock was broken with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining as Jay Simpon headed home. Blair Turgott made it 2-0 ten minutes later by applying an emphatic finish to a fine counter-attack. Ollie Palmer then sealed the victory by adding a third in stoppage time.
Orient captain Mathieu Baudry passed his fitness test which allowed Ian Hendon to name the same starting line-up for the third league match in a row.
Despite Orient’s settled lineup, Stevenage came very close to taking an early lead.
The O’s defence were caught out of position, allowing Charlie Lee to find the unmarked Brett Williams on the edge of the box with a lofted pass. Williams fired a shot on the volley which struck the post and rebounded off the back of Alex Cisak and out for a corner.
Following that slice of fortune Paul McCallum had two attempts at the other end. Frazer Shaw’s cross to the far post was put back in to McCallum by Dean Cox, but the former West Ham striker’s shot was blocked. He then headed wide from the corner that followed.
The O’s were beginning to control proceedings as they continued to press for the breakthrough. Bradley Pritchard produced a neat flick to find Cox in the box. Coxy tried to take the shot on first time, attempting to guide the ball into the net but the ball spun off his foot and went wide.
Sean Clohessy was providing numerous crosses into the box. Paul McCallum met one of the right back’s crosses at the far post, but Mark Hughes was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Orient protested that the ball crossed the goal-line and replays suggest they were right to feel aggrieved.
At the other end, Stevenage headed just over the bar. The visitors then rattled the woodwork again. Dipo Akinyemi worked space for a shot on the edge of the area but his powerful strike cannoned off the crossbar.
The last chances of the half was created by the hosts. Pritchard switched the play to Dean Cox on the right and Orient’s number seven slipped the ball to the overlapping right back. Clossey picked Simpson out with a low cross. The Orient striker’s shot was blocked by Hughes but Simpson was adamant that the Stevenage defender had used his arms. Paul McCallum header from the resultant corner was easily saved by Chris Day.
Neither side had managed to make the breakthrough in the first 45 minutes but both continued to create opportunities at the start of the second half.
Frazer Shaw’s delivery for the left wing was met by Sammy Moore, but he had had to stretch to meet the cross and a result the ball missed the target.
At the other end, Williams tried his luck from outside the box just as he had in the opening moments. On this occasion the Stevenage striker forced Alex Cisak to make a flying save to maintain his clean sheet.
Blair Turgott was introduced form the bench with an hour gone. Lloyd James was the man to make way as Ian Hendon switched to a more traditional 4-4-2.
The Orient winger had an immediate impact on the game as he got in behind the Stevenage defence on the right and he delivered a teasing cross, but McCallum couldn’t keep his header on target.
Tom Conlon then threatened for the visitors, but fortunately for the O’s his shot drifted just wide of the post.
The North stand woodwork had denied the away side on two occasions in the first half, but it came to their aid in the second half as Simpson’s shot for a tight angle cracked off the post.
However, Simpson was soon celebrating. Cox managed work the space for a left-footed cross and Simpson’s header bounced off the turf and into the far side of Chris Day’s goal.
The goal had given the home side the impetus to grab a second goal. Cox went on a tricky run into the box, beating a four Stevenage defenders, but Day rushed out to smother the ball.
Five minutes from time, Orient established a two-goal lead following a fantastic counter-attacking move. Following a Stevenage corner, Ollie Palmer won the ball and carried it forward before finding Sammy Moore. Moore played a fine cross-field ball to Sean Clohessy on the opposite flank. Orient’s number two cushioned the ball into the path of Blair Turgott, who smashed a side-footed volley into the Stevenage net. It was a fitting finish to wonderful move and great way for Turgott to open his Orient account.
However, he was not the only one to score his first goal for the club on the night as Ollie Palmer also grabbed his first goal for the club in stoppage time. The Orient striker chased down Dean Wells’ underhit back-pass and nipped in to poke the ball past Day and into the far corner of the net.
Stevengae had made the O’s work for their victory, but they were unable to prevent Ian Hendon’s side from maintaining their perfect start to their Legue Two campaign.
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