McAnuff wins it for Orient
17:01 06 February 2016
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Sky Bet League Two: Portsmouth 0 Leyton Orient 1
Leyton Orient earned a third League Two win under player-manager Kevin Nolan thanks to a stunning strike by Jobi McAnuff.
After a goalless first half at Fratton Park, the Jamaican international fired home in the 53rd minute with a curling effort from outside the area.
Portsmouth looked to get back level, but it was the visitors that should have scored more with Jay Simpson and Nolan missing good chances.
It wasn’t to matter, though, as the O’s held on to take the three points and move up to sixth in the table
Nolan named himself in the starting line up and made three other changes to the side that lost 3-1 against Cambridge United last weekend.
Sammy Moore returned after a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury, while recent recruits Nicky Hunt and Shaun Brisley made their debuts for the club.
Sean Clohessy, Connor Essam and Ollie Palmer all dropped to the substitute’s bench while Nigel Atangana was unavailable.
It is believed an agreement was made with Pompey, when the French midfielder signed for the O’s, that he couldn’t face his former club.
With five matches postponed in League Two, including promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers, it presented the east Londoners with a great opportunity to climb the table.
Portsmouth got proceedings underway and Marc McNulty tested Alex Cisak inside the opening minute, but the Orient goalkeeper easily saved.
In the seventh minute, a cross from Moore took a wicked deflection and nearly lopped over home custodian Ryan Fulton, but landed on top of the net.
O’s couldn’t make anything from the resulting corner, but were settling nicely at Fratton Park.
The hosts were dominating possession but doing little with it as the visitors stayed compact and worked hard.
Hunt nearly found Nolan in the 19th minute with an excellent pass from deep, but the ball was just too far ahead of the Orient player-manager.
Pompey created the first good opportunity of the match on the half an hour mark after Kyle Bennett linked up well with McNulty.
But Cisak was quick off his line and managed to block McNulty’s shot before Bennett headed a cross wide a minute later.
The O’s responded, however, with McAnuff picking out Brisley from a free kick, Portsmouth initially cleared before the ball was worked to Calaum Jahraldo-Martin.
His effort was way over the bar, but it gave the away side a bit more belief and McAnuff won a free kick in a dangerous position shortly afterwards.
Captain Mathieu Baudry could only send a header into the side netting, though, with 35 minutes played so it remaining goalless as half time approached.
Two minutes of stoppage time was added on and both teams created decent chances just before the interval with Kyle Bennett going past Jack Payne with a nice piece of skill before smashing over the crossbar from outside the box.
Down the other end, Nolan and Simpson linked up nicely before the ball was worked out wide to McAnuff.
His cross picked out Moore in the penalty area, but his header went just wide and the half time whistle followed moments later.
Orient got the second period underway and started brilliantly with McAnuff receiving the ball in space out wide.
And his cross appeared perfect for Nolan, but Christian Burgess got the slightest of touches to take it away from the O’s player-manager.
Portsmouth responded with Kieron Freeman letting fly from the edge of the box, but it deflected off his own player and went behind for a goal kick.
The action-packed start to the half continued when Jahraldo-Martin crossed in for Simpson and he knocked down for Moore.
Orient’s midfield passed back to his partner Payne and his effort was blocked by a defender and fell perfectly for Nolan.
But despite being just six-yards out, he could only turn and side foot onto the crossbar and the chance was wasted.
It was the best opportunity of the match and the O’s were now the team pressing and putting the hosts under pressure.
They made it count in the 53rd minute when Hunt won the ball and passed to Simpson, he lost the ball and it rolled out to McAnuff.
O’s number 11 didn’t even take a touch and just effortlessly curled over Fulton and into the top corner.
It delighted the 1,031 travelling fans and the east Londoners weren’t settled with that as Baudry headed wide from a corner two minutes later.
Gareth Evans, who scored twice at Brisbane Road, was introduced for Portsmouth on the hour mark.
A dangerous free kick by Bennett nearly caused problems for the visitors as Nolan failed to clear, but fortunately it rolled out of play for a goal kick.
Moore went down afterwards and needed treatment, but was able to carry on at Fratton Park.
Orient should have doubled their lead in the 66th minute when Moore crossed in for Nolan.
Fulton saved his header and the rebound came to Simpson, but the League Two top goalscorer could only volley over despite having the goal at his mercy.
The O’s continued to look a threat and had another chance to increase their advantage with 21 minutes left.
McAnuff did brilliantly on the right and crossed in for Simpson, but his diving header straight at the Portsmouth goalkeeper.
Nolan was replaced a minute later by Bradley Pritchard as Orient seeked to close out the game and seal another away success.
Clohessy was introduced for Moore in the 73rd minute and went to right midfield with McAnuff moving into the centre.
Cisak was booked for time wasting in the 80th minute before Armand Gnanduillet replaced Simpson.
Two minutes later and the visitors broke well when Payne won the ball in midfield and chipped into Gnanduillet.
Orient’s forward took too long on the ball before eventually passing out to McAnuff, he tried to find Jahraldo-Martin in space, but his cross was blocked.
Gnanduillet had the option to pass to the Hull City loanee, but failed to spot him and Portsmouth got back to halt the move.
Pompey started to increase the pressure afterwards and had the away side penned back for a lengthy period of time.
Nolan’s men defended well, however, and the seconds continued to tick away at Fratton Park.
They nearly made it 2-0 in the 88th minute when Gnanduillet and Clohessy linked up well before the latter crossed into the box.
It picked out the French forward at the back post, but his volley hit the woodwork and went out for a goal kick.
Just as five minutes of stoppage time were added on, the hosts created a good chance, but substitute Conor Chaplin headed over.
Portsmouth nearly levelled late on when Adam McGurk and Michael Doyle had dangerous shots, but Hunt blocked both brilliantly.
The full time whistle followed soon afterwards to give Orient a double over Pompey and move them back into the play-offs.
Portsmouth: Fulton, Stevens, Burgess, Doyle, McNulty (McGurk 74), Roberts, Freeman, Clarke, Smith (Evans 60), Bennett (Chaplin 74), Close.
Unused substitutes: Bass, Davies, Webster, Barton.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Brisley, Baudry, Shaw, Jahraldo-Martin, Payne, Moore (Clohessy 73), McAnuff, Nolan (Pritchard 70), Simpson (Gnanduillet 80).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Essam, Palmer, Binnom-Williams.
Attendance: 15,643 (1,031 Leyton Orient supporters).