Leyton Orient suffered a disappointing defeat in their first home game of the league campaign as Newport County scored the only goal of the game to seal their first win of the new season,
Andy Hessenthaler made five changes to the side that were knocked out of the League Cup on Tuesday night. Alex Cisak returned in goal, Tom Parkes and Sean Clohessy were restored to the defence and Dean Cox and Paul McCallum were handed starts after their impressive cameos against Fulham.
The O’s made a bright start to the match as they managed to get at Newport’s left side. First Sean Clohessy delivered a good ball into the box but Ollie Palmer mistimed his jump and the visitors’ defence were able to clear the ball. Soon after Gavin Massey produced another inviting cross but no one managed to get on the end of it.
Newport’s first opportunity came when Sandro Semedo dwelt on the ball in the left back position allowing Sean Rigg to regain possession and the Exiles striker cut inside and curled a shot that went just wide of Alex Cisak’s far post.
The away side were enjoying a decent spell and Rigg soon had another chance when the O’s defence failed to clear their lines sufficiently, however, he blazed his shot high over the crossbar.
The O’s were struggling to keep the ball and string together attacks but Gavin Massey did well on the right flank and cut the ball back to Ollie Palmer. The Orient striker turned and got a shot away but it was straight at Newport stopper Joe Day.
Shortly after the half-hour, Newport took the lead as Orient were undone again by a set piece. Tom Parkes got on the wrong side of Marlon Jackson, who flicked the ball to the far post. Jamie Turley beat Yvan Erichot to the ball and poked it home to make it 1-0.
The O’s tried to grab an equaliser before the break but the most they could muster was long shots from outside the box. Both Dean Cox and Robbie Weir fired shots over the Newport crossbar before the interval.
Orient remained unchanged for the second half and they went in search of getting an early equaliser after the break.
Ollie Palmer was involved in a couple of the hosts’ early attacks. First, he brought down a long range pass but his shot from inside the Newport penalty area was blocked.
Soon after, Palmer turned provider as he got in behind the Newport defence and cut the ball back for Liam Kelly, but once again the visiting defence repelled the effort.
In a bid to change his side’s fortunes Andy Hessenthaler replaced Paul McCallum with Jordan Bowery around the hour mark.
County’s first chance of the half came when Kelly’s sloppy pass surrendered possession to the away side. Sean Rigg broke forward but Kelly got back and made a sliding challenge. The ball then came to Marlon Jackson, but he fired the ball high and wide.
Fifteen minutes from time, Nigel Atangana and Harry Cornick replaced Robbie Weir and Dean Cox and the pair were involved immediately.
Atangana saw his shot deflect wide of the Newport goal. Then Cornick had an opportunity when Clohessy played the Bournemouth man in on goal after cushioning Kelly’s long-range pass into his path. Cornick took a touch before trying to slot the ball into the far corner of the net but the on-rushing Newport keeper blocked the shot.
Less than ten minutes remained when Cornick’s corner resulted in a good chance. Tom Parkes met the delivery, substitute Jordan Bowery flicked the ball on forcing a save from Joe Day and Palmer then headed the rebound over the crossbar.
The Orient target man then had a golden opportunity to grab the equaliser. Sandro Semedo whipped a fine cross to the far post when Palmer was waiting, unmarked. The 24-year-old stooped for the header unchallenged but he failed to even hit the target and the ball went harmlessly wide.
The O’s hadn’t managed to make the breakthrough and time was running out. In the dying moments of the game, Bowery showed good feet and fed the ball to Kelly on the edge of the box. The former Oldham man tried a shot with the outside of his boot but the attempted narrowly missed the target.
Newport held on for all three points on what was a frustrating and disappointing afternoon for the 3,800 or so home fans.