Dale deliver another blow to Orient’s survival hopes
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Sky Bet League One: Rochdale 1 Leyton Orient 0
Leyton Orient’s hopes of avoiding relegation took another blow as Rochdale beat them at Spotland Stadium to consign Fabio Liverani’s team to a third consecutive league loss.
The Brisbane Road outfit started well and had some decent opportunities in the first 45, but conceded just past the hour mark and were unable to find a response.
Liverani ringed the changes after the debacle against MK Dons and was given a big boost with Dean Cox fit.
The winger was one of five players coming into the O’s team, who didn’t start during the 6-1 loss at Stadium mk on Saturday.
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Elliot Omozusi, Josh Wright, Ryan Hedges and David Mooney also returning with Jake Taylor and Scott Cuthbert not included in the squad.
Cuthbert was unavailable, though, because his wife was given birth to a baby girl called Belle in hospital.
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Jobi McAnuff, Lloyd James and Jay Simpson were all among the substitutes at Spotland Stadium.
Orient started well and Marvin Bartley had a near post effort saved by Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis after seven minutes before the hosts responded.
A swift counter attack nearly resulted in Ian Henderson scoring, but he just missed Peter Vincenti’s dangerous delivery.
O’s hit back themselves with Cox’s influence on the match growing and he tested Lillis early on before Mathieu Baudry got on the end of his free kick, but once again the home stopper saved.
The 27-year-old failed to test the Dale goalie with 19 minutes gone when the ball dropped invitingly for him in the area. He, unfortunately, could only fire over the crossbar.
Liverani’s men were enjoying the better start, but they were indebted to their French defender Baudry midway through the half when he blocked Jamie Allen’s shot.
Shortly afterwards Mooney, making his first appearance since Easter Monday, found himself through on goal, but he could only lob onto the roof of the net.
Five minutes before the break Henderson was given a sight of goal, but Alex Cisak did well to tip the ball away. The same man went close again minutes later from a corner, but this time he headed off target.
Those missed opportunities ensured it was goalless at the break, but Orient started strongly after the interval and Nathan Clarke came so close to giving them the lead.
O’s skipper met Cox’s brilliant free kick delivery, but his header went inches wide and the chance was gone.
In the 51st minute Rochdale nearly made them pay when they were awarded a free kick from the right hand side of play and Rhys Bennett’s header nearly found the net before Cisak pulled off an impressive stop.
The home team were upping the ante now and Vincenti headed wide from Thomas Kennedy’s cross before Liverani introduced Bradley Pritchard for Hedges in the 64th minute.
And two minutes after that switch Rochdale took the lead thanks to a stunning finish from Henderson. He got on the end of Vincenti’s cross before firing past Cisak and into the top corner.
Orient needed to find a comeback and Lloyd James come on in place of Wright before Mooney had a shot blocked.
Liverani’s final roll of the dice was to bring on Simpson, who netted on Saturday, in place of Cox with 13 minutes remaining.
But it nearly mattered little when Allen raced through on goal, but he lost his nerve and fired wide with just Cisak to beat.
The O’s had an opportunity from a free kick with 10 minutes left, but James hit his effort way over the bar.
Dale made their first chance moments before that set piece with Calvin Andrew entering play and he nearly doubled their lead in the 84th minute.
First Henderson tried his luck and forced Cisak into an excellent save and Andrew latched onto the rebound, but Orient’s on-loan goalkeeper produced another top drawer save to keep the score 1-0.
The same duo went close to scoring again from the resulting corner as Cisak tipped Henderson’s header away before Andrew fired off target.
Time was running out for O’s, though, as four minutes were added on and they needed to find two goals to haul themselves out of the bottom four.
Unfortunately they couldn’t fashion another chance and fell to their 20th defeat of the campaign. They remain in the relegation places and could be relegated on Saturday against Sheffield United should they fail to win and Crewe Alexandra and Crawley both win.
Rochdale: Lillis, Bennett, Eastham, Lancashire, Vincenti, Tanser, Allen (Andrew 81), Rose, Cannon, Kennedy, Henderson.
Used substitutes: Rafferty, Diba Musangu, Logan, Camps, Bunney, Noble-Lazarus.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Omozusi, Baudry, Clarke, Lowry, Hedges (Pritchard 64), Wright (James 70), Bartley, Cox (Simpson 77), Mooney, Dagnall.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, McAnuff, Batt.