Leyton Orient scored three unanswered goals against strugglers Swindon on Tuesday night to move up to 11th in the table.
The 3-0 win means part one of this week is done. 3 points and a much healthier league position have been achieved before we face Bristol Rovers on Saturday, which (without tempting fate) will hopefully be another 3 points based on current performances. This week’s schedule is turning out to be particularly important.
After a number of first-team players sat out last Saturday’s draw at Bournemouth, Russell Slade selected what should be considered our strongest 11. The biggest boost was the return of Ben Chorley in defence.
And the O’s made the perfect start after an even first ten minutes of the match. Scott McGleish won a free kick on the edge of the box and as the Swindon wall lined up it became clear there was a sizeable gap next to the wall for Orient to exploit. And Dean Cox did just that.
Cox found the bottom corner with a well-placed low effort, putting the O’s firmly in control of the evening.
Despite being a goal down Swindon still tried to play football. Their game was massively aided by Orient standing off their opponents, especially across the midfield. Swindon midfielder Matt Ritchie was the stand-out performer for the visitors.
And it was Ritchie who had Swindon’s best chance, hitting the post with a shot that left Jamie Jones well-beaten. With the O’s giving them room to play Swindon had a couple of good efforts on goal, mostly from long-range.
Orient carved out a few chances themselves, Alex Revell coming close with a curling effort from just outside the box. But it was a crucial two-minute period that decided the game just after the half-hour mark.
In the 31st minute a Scott McGleish header was pushed up in the air by Swindon’s keeper Phil Smith. Revell reacted first to a high-ball, outmuscling the defender to nod the ball home.
Before we had time to finish celebrating captain Stephen Dawson surged forward from the left, cutting inside a defender before calmly finding the net from 18 yards.
It was the perfect few minutes that put breathing space between us and Swindon. Despite it suddenly looking like Orient could run riot against a deflated Swindon side, it was the away side who looked most likely to add another goal to the game before half-time.
Jamie Jones was forced into a series of good saves, in particular a spectacular effort from Michael Rose which Jones superbly touched round the post.
Into the second-half the game slowed down, Orient seemingly happy to stick with their three whilst Swindon pushed for a reply with little success. Orient were lucky not to be punished, again frustratingly sitting back and letting Swindon play around them.
Whether tiredness creeped into our game (understandable after such a busy schedule) or not, it was a disappointing second-half showing.
Jones made a couple more decent saves to preserve a clean sheet whilst subs Jonathan Tehoue and Jason Crowe came close for the O’s in the second-period.
As well as tiredness, the O’s cause was not helped by losing Matt Spring in the first-half. Spring seemed to take a knock on his ankle and was replaced by Crowe after 24 minutes. We really missed Spring’s passing and ability to take control of the ball in the centre of midfield, ready to start an O’s attack.
But that was the only real bad note on a very productive evening for Orient. The run continues and despite not playing particualrly well, we finished off our chances and kept a clean sheet.
Being 11th in the League One table means we can finally look down the league, a little happier and less fearful (despite being in the top half, I don’t dare look up!).
Keeping this momentum going is key to building a healthy gap between us and the drop zone, especially with another struggling team visiting team visiting the Matchroom Stadium on Saturday, bring on Bristol Rovers!
Leyton Orient: Jones; Whing, Forbes, Chorley, Daniels; Spring (Crowe 24); Smith, Dawson, Cox; Revell (Téhoué 58), McGleish (Kane 75)
Swindon: Smith; Amankwaah, Flint, Frampton, Jean-Francois (Prutton 47); Caddis, Timlin (McGovern 64), Douglas, Rose; Ritchie, Dossevi (Obika 49)
Russell Slade told leytonorient.com:
‘I’m pleased with the scoreline, but not so pleased with the performance.
‘I thought we took our chances really well in the first period, but without the ball we weren’t so clever against what I thought was a really lively Swindon side going forward.
‘There was too much room for them to move and manipulate play, albeit in front of us.
‘But we took the chances and we got between them and behind them, particularly with the third goal, which was a cracking one.
‘Our League performances are very very important to us and we need to keep building on that week in and week out. I’m not in the business of letting that slide.’
Alex Revell told leytonorient.com:
‘I actually don’t think we played at our best, but the difference was that we took our chances, it was as simple as that.
‘We’ve got a lot of games now left and as long as we keep playing with that commitment and desire to win, and everyone stays fit and we keep the squad together, hopefully – and I’ve said this all along – I want to be in that top six. I really believe we’ve got the players to do that.’
Were you pleased with the scoreline and performance last night? Leave your thoughts below…