League Two: Colchester 2 Leyton Orient 1
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
Leyton Orient fell to another slender defeat away at Colchester on Saturday and dropped to 21st place in the League Two table.
Head coach Ross Embleton made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Crewe Alexandra in midweek as he recalled James Brophy and Conor Wilkinson to replace the injured Lee Angol and Dale Gorman.
And the O's made a poor start as they found themselves 1-0 down after three minutes as Kwame Poku had his shot deflected past goalkeeper Dean Brill following a low cross into the box.
The visitors then had a chance of their own four minutes later as attackers Jordan Maguire-Drew and Louis Dennis linked up, before flicking the ball into the path of Wilkinson but his effort deflected into the hands of Dean Gerken.
In the 21st minute the O's went close once again as midfielder Josh Wright found former Bromley man Dennis in space but his dangerous cross was cleared behind.
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The U's doubled their lead in the 28th minute as Ryan Jackson thundered a shot into the back of the net past Brill before defender Tom Eastman volleyed wide from a corner shortly after.
On the stroke of half-time Orient pulled one back as Irishman Wilkinson took advantage of a defensive mistake and smashed the ball home to give the visitors a boost heading into the half-time break.
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Courtney Senior curled an effort just over the bar three minutes after the restart, but Wilkinson then produced a fine run past three players to win a free-kick on the edge of the box, with Dennis curling a shot just wide after the set-piece was half cleared and returned by Wright.
Dennis needed treatment for a head injury, before Josh Coulson collided with teammate Joe Widdowson and also required attention.
But the injured pair combined on 65 minutes as Coulson headed a free-kick into the path of Dennis, who volleyed just over.
Wilkinson was shown a yellow card on 69 minutes and O's were grateful to Brill for a vital save from Frank Nouble soon after.
Matt Harrold replaced Brophy with 10 minutes remaining and O's went close when Sam Ling's cross was taken down by Dennis, who fired a shot on the turn just over the crossbar.
The visitors went even closer in the first of six minutes of injury time when Ling's long throw-in was flicked on by Coulson and flew just wide of the post, then penalty appeals were ignored when Harrold went down in the box.
And in the fourth minute of stoppage time, a crossed dropped to substitute James Alabi, who fired goalwards and saw the ball hit a defender and look set to cross the line before Gerken scrambled back to stop it.
Colchester United: Gerken, Jackson, Bramall, Prosser, Senior (Cowan-Hall 80), Sarpong-Wiredu (Lapslie 70), Robinson (Norris 86), Comley, Eastman, Nouble, Poku.
Unused subs: Ross, Sowunmi, Brown, Stevenson.
Leyton Orient: Brill, Ling, Ekpiteta, Coulson, Widdowson, Marsh, Wright, Dennis (Alabi 87), Maguire-Drew (Clay 62), Brophy (Harrold 80), Wilkinson.
Unused subs: Sargeant, Judd, Happe, Gorman, .
Attendance: 5,519 (including 1,655 Orient fans).