Gavin Massey at the double for Leyton Orient as they coast past Stevenage to earn first League Two win of the season
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 3 Stevenage 0
Gavin Massey hit a brace as Leyton Orient earned a first win of the season at home to Stevenage.
Andy Hessenthaler played Jay Simpson from the start and watched his team survive an early scare before coasting home.
Massey’s double sandwiched a sensational header from Dean Cox as the east Londoners delivered a much-improved display.
Simpson returned to the starting line-up and therefore brought an end to a confusing saga involving O’s top goalscorer from last season.
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After being deemed “unavailable” for the first three games of the new campaign in all competitions, he was included again for the visit of Stevenage.
Hessenthaler also brought in Nicky Hunt, Nigel Atangana and Harry Cornick as he rung the changes at Brisbane Road.
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Sean Clohessy, captain Robbie Weir and Ollie Palmer all dropped to the bench with Paul McCallum missing out completely.
The O’s lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Simpson up top on his own, but supported by Harry Cornick with Cox on the left and Massey out wide on the right.
Jamie Jones started in goal for Boro while Jobi McAnuff lined up on the left and the visitors made a sensational start.
With just two minutes on the clock, McAnuff was played in on goal, but Alex Cisak saved well down to his left.
Ben Kennedy was first to the follow up and let fly first time, but Liam Kelly’s pressure was enough to ensure he lashed over the crossbar.
Less than 60 seconds later and an even better opportunity was created by the away team at Brisbane Road.
Matt Godden was played through on goal and lobbed past Cisak, but Tom Parkes chased the ball down and managed to clear just off the line.
It was stunning clearance and O’s settled down afterwards with Simpson linked up nicely with Cornick, but the latter had a shot blocked by Andrew Fox.
Referee Brett Huxtable handed out the first caution of the game with eight minutes played when Atangana was caught late by Fraser Franks.
Godden was the next man in the book in the 11th minute when he tried and failed to drag down Sandro Semedo.
Both teams had made a frantic start at Brisbane Road without taking the lead, but that was soon to change.
Cox latched onto a loose ball and raced down the right before delivering a wonderful cross for Simpson.
Jones saved the Orient forward’s close range effort before Cornick followed up and headed against the post.
The ball rebounded out and Massey was first to it – firing into the net despite Stevenage having two players on the line.
Hessenthaler’s team led with 20 minutes played and a huge sense of relief filled Brisbane Road.
Five minutes later and it could have been 2-0 with Simpson played Massey through on goal.
The winger’s touch push him wide and when he tried to find a team mate in the centre, his cross was blocked.
It was end-to-end stuff now in east London with Stevenage responded themselves two minutes later.
Once again McAnuff got in down the left and tried to lay it on a plate for Godden, but got his pass wrong.
The ball rolled across to Tom Conlon at the back post, however fortunately Semedo was able to put the tackle in and O’s survived.
Jones was called into action in the 28th minute when Cox and Cornick combined wonderfully on the right.
Orient’s loanee found Simpson, he got tackled and then Massey scuffed his kick before the O’s forward shot towards the Stevenage goal, but Jones saved.
The pressure continued from the hosts with Cox putting in a sensational ball soon after, but it evaded everyone.
Hessenthaler would have been delighted with his team and in the 37th minute things got a little bit better.
Cornick controlled on the right side and had time to look up and assess the options available to him.
Simpson made the initial run to the near post, but unmarked on the edge of the box was Cox.
O’s number seven was excellently picked out by Cornick and headed sumptuously in off the post to make it 2-0.
It was a brilliant moment for Cox and his first competitive goal since he netted in a 6-1 win over Staines Town on November 7.
The east Londoners weren’t finished there, though, with Cornick having an effort blocked before Jones made a huge gaffe.
Hunt’s cross looked simple enough, but the ex-Orient custodian dropped the ball and Massey fired towards goal.
Fortunately for Stevenage former Dagenham & Redbridge defender Luke Wilkinson was able to deflect it wide.
Two minutes of stoppage time was added on, although the hosts were unable to add to their tally.
Boro responded by introducing Rowan Liburd, formerly of Billericay Town, and Dale Gorman at the break.
After six minutes of the second period, Hessenthaler decided to introduce Weir in place of Atangana.
The French midfielder received a standing ovation as he left the pitch after delivering another impressive performance.
McAnuff missed a good chance to reduce the arrears in the 61st minute when he volleyed wide from just inside the box.
Cox was replaced five minutes later and like Atangana, left the pitch to huge applause from all of the Orient supporters.
Chances were much less frequent with the tempo of the match slowing down with various substitutions.
Palmer was on next and taking the place of Simpson, who was applauded off by the O’s fans in the 74th minute.
A minutes later and they were on their feet celebrating the hosts third goal of the evening.
Bowery ran down the right and his cross took a deflection before falling perfectly for Massey to fire in from close range.
It capped a fantastic night for the Orient winger, although Stevenage nearly pulled one back two minutes later when Connor Hunte fired wide.
Hessenthaler’s men played out the final minutes with an air of confidence and three minutes of stoppage time were added on at Brisbane Road.
No more goals occurred, however, and O’s had to settle for a 3-0 win and a first clean sheet of the campaign.
With Simpson back involved and several individuals putting in strong displays, there was plenty of positives to take ahead of visiting Grimsby Town on Saturday.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Erichot, Parkes, Semedo, Kelly, Atangana (Weir 51), Massey, Cornick, Cox (Bowery 66), Simpson (Palmer 74).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Clohessy, Kennedy, Gnanduillet.
Stevenage: Jones, Henry, Wilkinson, Franks, Fox, Conlon (Hunte 67), Tongue, Lee (Liburd 46), McAnuff, Kennedy (Gorman 46), Godden.
Unused substitutes: Day, Pett, Hyde, Donnelan.
Attendance: 3,779 (304 Stevenage supporters).