Danny Webb suffered defeat in his first game as a manager. Leyton Orient suffered their fifth straight loss as ten-man Carlisle ended their winless run.
It was Orient who took the lead after 25 minutes through Gavin Massey, however, the visitors were soon back on level terms thanks to a goal from Gary Liddle.
Carlisle then took the lead with just over twenty minutes to go as Jamie Proctor found the net, however, his debut goal was somewhat soured by his dismissal eight minutes later. Despite the extra man Orient didn’t manage to find the goal to get back in it.
Danny Webb made four changes to the side that faced Mansfield last weekend. Myles Judd returned to the starting line-up at right-back replacing Teddy Mezague, Nigel Atangana came into the side in place of Sammy Moore and new loan signing Rowan Liburd took Paul McCallum’s role. The biggest call was to drop Alex Cisak, to give Sam Sargeant a start, a decision which Webb maintains was his call.
Orient made a promising start to the match, striking a balance between disciplined defending and attempts to get at the opposition. The O’s managed to win a couple of early corners but the visitors were able to deal with the deliveries.
At the other end, Sam Sargeant was tested early on by Jamie Proctor from long range, but the young O’s stopper held the shot.
Former Orient loanee Nicky Adams was starting to become more influential, creating a couple of opportunities for Carlisle with dangerous deliveries. He also laid a free-kick off to Jabo Ibehre, but the former Orient trainee blazed his shot high over the crossbar.
Despite, the visitors starting to make things happen, the O’s managed to take the lead. Sargeant’s goal kick was inadvertently flicked on by a Carlisle midfielder, playing Gavin Massey in behind the Cumbrians’ defence. Massey took one touch before unleashing a shot and his powerful drive squirmed under Mark Gillespie’s body and into the net.
Warning signs of a Carlisle equaliser came on the half-hour when Adams curled a shot wide of Sargeant’s far post. Four minutes later the visitors were back on level terms.
Jamie Devitt shot from a free-kick looked destined for the top corner of the O’s net. Sargeant managed to tip the ball on to the post but it deflected off of the keepers’ back. Gary Liddle reacted quickest and simply tapped the ball home to make it 1-1.
Orient responded well at the other end. Tom Parkes provided an aerial threat in the Carlisle box, beating Gillespie to the ball, but the O’s defender was harshly judged to have fouled the goalkeeper. Gavin Massey the
Gavin Massey had been providing the impetus for Orient with his energy and running. Towards the end of the half, he produced a good, low cross into the box towards the end of the half, however neither Dalby or Liburd could get on the end of it.
Carlisle created the first chance of the second half when Jabo Ibehre got in on goal, but Sargeant was able to save his shot.
Neither side created much during the early part of the second half, but Carlisle were looking to be in control.
The O’s had to wait until the hour mark for their first opportunity of the second period. Massey again was the protagonist, linking well with Dalby, however, the Carlisle defence was able to block the Orient winger’s attempt.
Danny Webb brought Sammy Moore on in place of Rowan Liburd as the O’s boss made the switch to a 4-3-3. However, eight minutes later the O’s fell behind.
Nicky Adams picked out George Waring, who had lost his marker Tom Parkes, with a fine cross. Waring’s header was parried by Sargeant but the ball fell for Jamie Proctor who headed home from close range to make it 1-2.
Proctor’s Carlisle debut came to a premature end as he picked up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes. Keith Curle’s side had to hold out with ten men for the last fifteen minutes.
Orient had already made the switch to a 4-2-3-1 and Victor Adeboyejo was introduced from the bench but the hosts struggled to create much of note. The O’s pushed forward but their long balls into the box were all too often ineffective. There were a couple of good crosses from the flanks but Carlisle dealt with them and Sammy Moore’s long-range shot didn’t trouble Gillespie much either.
The visitors left Brisbane Road with all three points as Orient continued their losing streak.
Webb’s men had produced a spirited but ultimately toothless performance against a good Carlisle side.
I don’t think the players’ level of effort can really be questioned and the Orient fans responded with support, creating a better atmosphere around the ground.
Danny Webb struck something of a balance between keeping things tight and putting Carlisle under pressure when the time was right. Carlisle didn’t manage to create a huge amount of clear-cut chances and their goals were somewhat fortunate in the sense that two Sargeant saves fell nicely for Carlisle. However, the marking and slow reactions of the Orient defence could also be mentioned when analysing why the goals were conceded.
While the O’s showed some spirit, confidence in the side is fragile. Orient don’t look capable of keeping a clean sheet. The O’s continue to look suspect defensively and after conceding one goal there is a sense that heads drop and Orient will concede more. This has been an issue all season. Hopefully, Webb can solve these problems, but the three managers before him haven’t been able to.
Orient didn’t look threatening enough at the other end either. Sam Dalby and Rowan Liburd didn’t see much of the ball in part due to Orient’s lack of creativity but I feel they didn’t fight for balls enough either. Gavin Massey was Orient’s biggest threat. He was closing down all over the pitch and overall produced a good performance.
The biggest talking point was the absence of Alex Cisak in the match day squad. Cisak was of course transfer listed and naturally, there are suspicions that Francesco Becchetti has made the Australian unavailable for selection. Given his track record, this wouldn’t be surprising. However, Webb has stated that it was his decision to play Sargeant instead of Cisak. Cisak added the following on Twitter:
— Alex Cisak (@alexcisak) February 4, 2017
Assuming that it was entirely Webb’s decision, it was certainly a bold call to make ahead of your first game as a manager. It is admirable that he wants to shake things up in order to change Orient’s fortunes but I’m not sure it was the best way to do it. Alex Cisak has performed well this season behind a shaky defence and while Sargeant is a promising young player with potential, Cisak is far more experienced. Orient are already having to rely on young pros in a relegation battle, so in my opinion is important to use senior players where we can and ultimately at the moment Cisak is the best goalkeeper at the club. Sargeant didn’t have a bad game, but perhaps he could’ve palmed the header for the second goal behind.
The decision has put Webb under some scrutiny on an afternoon when the mood was lifted around the ground. Again, on the assumption that he made the call, perhaps he could’ve played Cisak against Carlisle and then dropped him on Tuesday night if he so wished. Leaving him out, especially in the first game after the transfer window closed looks similar to the treatment that Jay Simpson and Dean Cox received. Unfortunately, these past events and the way the club has been run makes fans question what is going on behind the scenes.
Orient host Morecambe at Brisbane Road on Tuesday night.