Conor Chaplin’s double for Portsmouth hands brave Leyton Orient another loss
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Portsmouth 2 Leyton Orient 1
Gavin Massey’s stunning first half strike couldn’t prevent Leyton Orient losing 2-1 to Portsmouth in League Two.
A brace from Conor Chaplin earned Pompey the points and handed Andy Edwards’ team a third consecutive defeat.
The O’s performed strongly for periods of the encounter at the south coast, however, and move up to 20th after Accrington Stanley’s 3-0 loss to Cheltenham Town.
Edwards included Sammy Moore from the off at Fratton Park with Myles Judd and Sandro Semedo returning.
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Yvan Erichot missed out at Pompey with an injury while Callum Kennedy and Josh Koroma dropped to the bench.
Teddy Mezague partnered Tom Parkes and Nicky Hunt at the back with Orient surprisingly playing a 3-5-1-1 formation.
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Judd and Semedo played as wing-backs with Massey just behind Paul McCallum in a central role.
Moore was the deepest of the three midfielders with Nigel Atangana starting against his old club.
One minutes applause occurred before kick-off in memory of Paul Went, who represented both clubs, but passed away on January 5 and ex-England manager Graham Taylor after he passed away on Thursday.
Pompey got on the front foot straight away and Parkes was forced to make a block before O’s cleared their lines.
Moore made his impact felt after five minutes with a crunching challenge on Gareth Evans, who was down for some time.
Eventually play resumed and Portsmouth enjoyed the vast amount of possession, but failed to break Orient down inside the opening 10 minutes.
Soon after Moore was forced to make a fine block before Massey got back well to cover Judd and O’s were able to regroup.
The hosts were handed a good opportunity to take the lead two minutes later when referee Brett Huxtable awarded a free kick despite Evans tripping himself up.
Pompey gratefully accepted the gift and Alex Cisak had to be alert to claim Kai Naismith’s low drive.
Orient’s number one showed off his reactions in the 16th minute when Parkes sliced a clearance goalwards, which was tipped over by the Australian.
And Portsmouth should have taken the lead three minutes later when Michael Smith played in Naismith, but he fired over from 12-yards.
The south coast side were then given a great chance to break the deadlock when Moore and Enda Stevens collided and Huxtable pointed to the spot.
Chaplin stepped up and fired towards the corner, yet Cisak produced a stunning save to keep the scores level.
Several of the Orient players congratulated the ex-Pompey goalkeeper, but it didn’t remain goalless for much longer.
Less than 60 seconds after the penalty Portsmouth took the lead when Chaplin tapped home at the far post following Carl Baker’s scuffed effort.
The Pompey striker looked offside, but the goal was given and Orient were facing the prospect of a long afternoon.
Parkes prevented the hosts doubling their advantage when Baker cut inside Semedo too easily and let fly, but the O’s defender deflected his effort over.
From the resulting corner Cisak came and missed the cross and Michael Smith headed towards the empty net, yet again Parkes nodded clear.
Slowly Orient regrouped with Edwards urging them on and Semedo tried his luck in the 35th minute, but Christian Burgess made an important block.
The winger then made a strong tackle on the left and dribbled forward, though his cross was poor and Portsmouth cleared.
Edwards’ team were growing in confidence, however, and eight minutes before half time they equalised with a beauty.
McCallum held the ball up excellently and teed up Massey, who curled wonderfully into the top corner to score his first since August 16.
The Orient fans were full of noise now and Semedo, after a shaky start, was growing into the contest.
But Portsmouth were always a threat and Naismith’s corner caused O’s problems, although McCallum headed away before Michael Doyle sliced over from 25-yards.
Massey then showed his class again with a driving run from deep inside Orient’s half, which ended with him winning a throw.
The visitors then produced another good move on the stroke of half time when McCallum held the ball up and found Michael Collins.
Massey was picked out in the middle and Judd made a brilliant overlap, but his cross was behind everybody in the box and the opportunity went begging.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added on and Orient came in level despite a late effort from Naismith going wide.
And after a difficult start at Fratton Park, Edwards and his team would have been happy at the break and sensed more was possibly to come in the second period.
Pompey introduced forward Jamal Lowe at the break with right-back Evans going off and Baker moving into defence.
It was an inspired move as less than 60 seconds after the restart a Baker cross found Chaplin, who headed into the corner.
Orient’s marking left a lot to be desired, although the delivery from Portsmouth’s number seven was excellent.
The O’s were back up against it now and facing a buoyant home team and loud set of supporters.
Initially Pompey pushed for a third and Cisak had to get down low to Stevens cross, but again Orient got back into the contest.
Massey did well on the left to win the away side a corner, although Collins delivery was poor and Atangana lost the ball cheaply to kill any momentum.
Portsmouth were moving the ball around confident, yet finding it difficult to break down Orient’s defence.
And they nearly gifted the visitors an equaliser in the 66th minute after a lack of communication at the back.
Moore knocked the ball forward and Burgess, who played cricket for Wanstead a couple of years ago, headed past Forde.
Collins chased the loose ball, however fortunately for Portsmouth it went behind for a corner and the score remained 2-1.
Jordan Bowery was introduced for O’s three minutes later with Moore making way and Orient changing formation to 4-4-2.
Semedo showed his intent 16 minutes from time with an excellent run, but his final pass was lacking and Pompey cleared.
Portsmouth nearly put the game to bed in the 80th minute when Chaplin produced a stunning touch to a ball over his shoulder, but his centre was just in front of Smith.
Nerves were starting to fill some of the home crowd and McCallum won the ball well in the air before passing out to Massey.
The O’s goalscorer crossed in, but Burgess headed clear before Orient pushed nearly everyone forward for the throw.
McCallum took it and eventually the ball came for Massey, who fed Parkes, but his cross was claimed by Forde.
Pompey made their final substitution three minutes from time with Chaplin leaving to a round of applause.
Massey, who had been impressive throughout, produced another strong run to win O’s a corner off Burgess.
Edwards introduced Ollie Palmer for Semedo before the set-piece, but Portsmouth again defended it well.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added on, although Orient were unable to produce late drama.
It was another defeat, however, O’s could take a lot of positives from their second half showing.
And they are set for a huge match next weekend at home to Morecambe, who are 17th in the table.
Portsmouth: Forde; Evans (Lowe 46), Burgess, Clarke, Stevens; Baker, Rose, Doyle, Naismith (Linganzi 75); Chaplin (Bennett 87), Smith.
Unused substitutes: O’Brien, Davies, Roberts, Hunt, Bennett.
Leyton Orient: Cisak; Hunt, Mezague, Parkes; Judd, Moore (Bowery 69), Atangana, Collins, Semedo (Palmer 89); Massey, McCallum.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Kennedy, Nnomo, Pollock, Koroma.
Attendance: 16,564 (607 Leyton Orient supporters).