Date: 30th March 2014 at 7:56pm
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Aaron McLean came back to haunt his former side as he fired the only goal of the match to condone Leyton Orient to a 1-0 defeat to Bradford City on Saturday.

The former Orient man struck the winner midway through the first-half having been left unmarked at the back-post following a Bradford corner.

Russell Slade made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Oldham midweek as Jamie Jones made his first start of 2014 in the Orient goal following Hull’s decision to recall Eldin Jakupovic whilst loanee John Lundstram was handed his debut in midfield. The England U19 international replaced the injured Marvin Bartley whilst Jamie Ness and Gary Sawyer replaced Lloyd James and Elliot Omozusi who dropped to the bench.

Orient started the match in electric fashion as they looked to put the disappointment of Oldham behind them and Kevin Lisbie came close to opening the scoring on the fifth minute when he fired a shot past Bradford keeper Jon McLaughin but defender Stephen Darby was well positioned to clear the ball off the line.

Scott Cuthbert was then presented with a brilliant chance to score for the second match in a row in the 25th minute when Dean Cox fired the ball back across the box following an Orient corner but McLaughin produced a brilliant reflex save to deny the defender from six yards and hold on to the ball.

Despite Orient’s dominance, the visitors took the lead moments later after Adam Reach had an effort blocked out for a corner. Bantams captain Gary Jones corner eluded everyone before falling to the unmarked McLean at the back post who fired past Orient keeper Jamie Jones to open the scoring.

The goal came against the run of play and referee David Phillips became an unpopular figure amongst the home side when he controversially ended the half. With seconds remaining of first-half Dean Cox fired a shot from inside the box which hit the arm of a Bradford defender just as Phillips blew for half-time. The referee’s decision sparked a furious response from the hosts which led to Orient assistant manager Kevin Nugent and Bradford manager Phil Parkinson being involved in an incident in the tunnel and both being sent-off as a result.

The O’s started the second-half as quick as the first and Lisbie was presented with a chance to level the scores with only a minute played but McLaughin came off of his line quickly to block the ball out for a corner.

Orient continued to push for an equaliser as the half went on but, like against Brentford, failed to get in behind the visitors defence and create any clear chances.

Shaun Batt and Lloyd James were brought on with 20 minutes left and Batt caused the Bradford defence several problems following his introduction.

The pacey forward eluded two challenges on the 80th minute before curling a left-footed effort over the bar from the edge of the box.

That was to be the closest Orient came to grabbing an equaliser however as the visitors came close to doubling their lead in the final moments but Jamie Jones produced several fine saves to deny substitute Gary Thompson from settling the tie.

The defeat ends a tough week for Russell Slade’s men who are now without a win in four and look to be out of the race for automatic promotion having failed to capitalise on Brentford only picking up one point from a possible six.

The O’s only have six matches remaining and travel to Sheffield United on Saturday as they look to build momentum ahead of their likely play-off battle at the end of the season.

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