Date: 16th March 2014 at 11:16pm
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Marcello Trotta’s goal on the stroke of half-time summoned Leyton Orient to a 1-0 defeat against automatic promotion rivals Brentford on Saturday.

Trotta’s strike in first half stoppage time was enough for the Bee’s to leapfrog the O’s in to second place despite being reduced to 10 men early in the second half when James Tarkowski picked up his second yellow of the afternoon.

The forward, on loan from Fulham, struck the killer blow in first half stoppage time to put the Bee’s ahead before James Tarkowski was dismissed early in the second half after referee Robert Madley issued the defender his second yellow of the afternoon.

Ahead of the top of the table clash, Russell Slade made one change to the side that won at Port Vale on Tuesday, bringing Kevin Lisbie in to the starting line up in place of Chris Dagnall to partner David Mooney up front. Orient were also boosted by having Romain Vincelot available from the start, despite the combative midfielder having to be substituted after 20 minutes in the week.

Brentford came in to the tie having only lost once in their previous 23 league fixtures and Bee’s manager Mark Warburton made two changes to the team that defeated Tranmere in midweek, opting to start Adam Forshaw and Marcello Trotta instead of Will Grigg and Jake Reeves who dropped to the bench.

In front of a sell-out crowd, the match was fiercely contested from the first whistle as both sides looked to gain an advantage in the opening exchanges, and it was the hosts who created the first opportunity.

With ten minutes on the clock, David Mooney ran on to Kevin Lisbie’s lay off just inside the box, but the Orient top goalscorer failed to trouble Brentford keeper David Button with a chipped effort that looped over the bar. Looking back on the effort, Mooney would have probably been better suited to have put his foot through the ball and aimed towards the far corner instead.

The home side continued to push for an opening goal and it was Dean Cox who had the next chance for the O’s, but the winger was only able to fire his shot narrowly wide.

Despite the hosts having the better of the chances, Clayton Donaldson was looking lively for Brentford on the right of a front three, and forced O’s keeper Eldin Jakupovic into a fine stop on the 23rd minute having raced on to a George Saville pass. Donaldson looked the place his shot under the rushing Jakupovic, but the Bosnian keeper was equal to the striker’s effort with a strong left handed stop.

Brentford continued to try and get Donaldson in behind the Orient defence down the channels, but the hosts continued to dictate the match and Bee’s keeper Button got down well to his near post to keep out another Cox effort and hold on the ball with two-thirds of the first half played.

Neither side were holding back with their challenges and with less than 10 minutes of the half to go, both sets of players had to be dragged apart following a brawl which had occurred following an incident between Gary Sawyer and Adam Forshaw. Sawyer was booked for his part in the melee whilst Donaldson also received a caution for his involvement.

With only seconds of first-half stoppage time left to play, Russell Slade was forced to scrap his half-time team talk as Marcello Trotta sparked wild celebrations amongst the travelling fans as he fired in the opening goal. Adam Forshaw back-heeled the ball in to the path of Trotta 20 yards from goal, who struck a sweetly hit first time effort with his left foot which found the bottom corner despite Jakupovic managing to get his fingers to the effort.

The goal came as a sickening blow to Orient, who had performed well throughout the half and could have arguably been ahead had they taken their chances.

The hosts started brightly after the break as they looked to get back on level terms, and with only four minutes of the second half played were handed a limelight when Brentford defender James Tarkowski was shown a second yellow card for a needless tackle on Romain Vincelot just inside the Orient half.

The sending off certainly added to the atmosphere as the Orient fans urged the hosts forward, and Kevin Lisbie had the chance to level the scores but failed to keep his first time effort on target.

With 20 minutes to go, Russell Slade decided to shuffle his pack by bringing on Shaun Batt for Gary Sawyer which saw Moses Odubajo drop into the right of defence and Elliot Omozusi move to left back.

Batt’s introduction added much needed pace to the Orient attack as they continued to try and break down the resolute Brentford back-line, and created their best chance of the second half with 18 minutes left to play. A Dean Cox cross fell to the feet of Odubajo at the back post, who controlled the ball well but couldn’t fire the ball past Bee’s keeper Button, who kept the winger’s effort out with his legs.

Chris Dagnall then came on to replace Kevin Lisbie in attack but the visitors nearly grabbed a second when Donaldson flicked a corner towards goal, only to see his effort bounce off of teammate Jonathan Douglas and drop over the bar, to relief of Orient.

As the match entered the closing minutes, Brentford continued to keep Orient at arms length, but had defender Alan McCormack to thank on the 87th minute, who was well positioned to prevent Shaun Batt’s goalwards header from creeping inside the post.

The fourth official revealed the board to show five minutes of added time was to be played, but the visitors came within an inch of putting the match to bed as they hit Orient on a counter attack only for Alan Judge to see his powerful effort bounce straight back off the post.

Brentford deservedly held on to earn the valuable three points and move two ahead of Orient into second place having played two games less. The loss appears to have hindered Leyton Orient’s hopes of automatic promotion but nothing can be ruled out at this point as the O’s still have nine matches left to play, starting with a trip to Walsall next Saturday.

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