Gnanduillet gets Orient back to winning ways at home
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 2 Crawley Town 0
Armand Gnanduillet scored once in each half to get Leyton Orient back to winning ways at Brisbane Road in League Two.
The January signing struck just before half time and then doubled his advantage in the 71st minute to help see off Crawley Town.
It was Kevin Nolan first success in E10 since beating Newport County on January 26 – over a month ago.
And the result was enough to move them back into the play-off positions, they are back up to seventh on 52 points.
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The O’s were without Jobi McAnuff for the visit of Crawley Town after suffering an ankle injury during the week.
Sean Clohessy came in to replace him on the right, but other than that the hosts were unchanged from the 1-0 win at Notts County.
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It meant Frazer Shaw returned to the substitute’s bench after missing out at Meadow Lane last weekend.
Nolan’s side were looking to halt a poor run of form at home where they had conceded 10 goals in their past four matches at Brisbane Road.
And they warmed up at the Tommy Johnston Stand, instead of the North end like they had for every other fixture at E10 this season.
Whether it was deliberate or not remains to be seen, but the build up to the fixture had been about Orient improving their results in front of their own supporters.
In goal for the Reds was Paul Jones, who came through the O’s youth ranks while forward Lee Barnard had enjoyed a loan spell at Brisbane Road earlier in his career.
The opening 10 minutes were extremely cagey with neither side wanting to given an inch early on.
Nicky Hunt had the home team’s first effort with quarter of an hour played when Sammy Moore picked him out from a corner.
But the former Bolton Wanderers defender curled over the crossbar from around 25-yards-out.
It was the start of a sustained period of pressure for Orient as they looked to score in the first half for the first time since Nolan’s appointment.
Moore found Simpson from a short corner and the O’s forward worked a yard of space before forcing Jones to tip over.
The east Londoners forced four more corners in the space of two minutes, but couldn’t work the away goalkeeper anymore.
Gnanduillet was involved in the 25th minute when Nolan’s intelligent pass released him away.
He ran into the box and tried to test the Crawley custodian, but his effort was blocked for another corner.
Unfortunately it again came to nothing and with half an hour gone at Brisbane Road it remained goalless.
Six minutes before half time, Hunt cross into the box and Nolan got a header on target, but it was easy for Jones to gather.
It seemed like Orient would end another first period without scoring under their new player-manager until the deadlock was finally broken.
Hunt lofted the ball forward to Gnanduilet, he controlled and didn’t have much on, but worked some space before rifling into the top corner from 20-yards.
The French forward celebrated his second goal for the O’s and Nolan had finally seen his side score in the first half.
Afterwards the hosts were keen to extend their advantage with Binnom-Williams showing good skill to get past his marker, but he failed to pick out a team mate with his cross.
Gnanduillet had another effort blocked before one minute of stoppage time was added on in east London.
But Orient were unable to add to their tally and came in at the break ahead by one goal and it was nothing less than they deserved.
While Crawley had been difficult to break down, they hadn’t tested Cisak once in the opening 45.
The visitors made a decent start to the second half, but it was the O’s that should have doubled their lead in the 52nd minute.
Gnanduillet crossed into the box and Nolan somehow volleyed over the crossbar from a couple of yards out.
Roarie Deacon then tested Cisak for the first time, firing towards goal from 20-yards, but the Australian parried wide.
Moments later and a cross into the box was scuffed by Binnom-Williams, his second attempted clearance wasn’t great either but eventually the east Londoners cleared the danger.
And then another great chance presented itself to the O’s and Simpson really should have ended his goal drought.
Nolan and Gnanduillet linked up brilliantly before the former passed into Orient’s top goalscorer.
He had Clohessy free to his right but decided to come inside before firing straight at Jones from inside the box.
It was a fantastic opportunity to double the lead and moments later Gnanduillet got through on goal, but he scuffed his effort at the Reds goalkeeper.
Again the pressure was building as Simpson had a shot deflected over by Chris Atkinson before Nolan’s volley was blocked.
Orient had Crawley camped inside their own half, but were struggling to apply the finish touch despite a number of crosses into the box.
Until the 71st minute that was when Gnanduillet got his second of the game after good work down the right.
Hunt chipped the ball into Clohessy, who controlled before crossing to the back post where O’s French forward volleyed into the corner.
They weren’t finished there, though, as Binnom-Williams picked out Simpson in space, he ran into the box but again Jones thwarted him.
Moore was replaced shortly afterwards by Calaum Jahraldo-Martin, leaving the pitch to a standing ovation.
And the Hull City loanee had an immediate impact as his shot was tipped over by Jones before Gnanduillet was replaced by Ollie Palmer.
Jahraldo-Martin was in the thick of the action again minutes later, but his effort was blocked.
He was making a huge impression, though, and had a free kick saved in the 87th minute by Jones as Orient pushed for a third.
The fourth official signalled for three minutes of stoppage time and Atkinson nearly pulled one back for Crawley, but Cisak blocked well.
And the full time whistle quickly followed as the east Londoners picked up a fifth clean sheet out of seven under Nolan.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Baudry, Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy, Atangana, Nolan, Moore (Jahraldo-Martin 76), Simpson, Gnanduillet (Palmer 79).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Shaw, Essam, Payne, Pritchard.
Crawley Town: Jones, Bawling (Della Verde 75), Yorwerth, Ashton, Bradley, Deacon, Tomlin (Fenelon 63), Bond, Atkinson, Barnard (Harrold 63), Edwards.
Unused substitutes: Preston, Oyebanjo, Young, Sutherland.
Attendance: 4,610 (301 Crawley Town supporters).