Jay Simpson double moves Leyton Orient out of League Two relegation places with 3-0 victory at local rivals Colchester United
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Colchester United 0 Leyton Orient 3
Jay Simpson’s first goals for Leyton Orient since April ensured they bounced back from their FA Cup thrashing by winning 3-0 at Colchester United in League Two.
Nicky Hunt popped up with a collectors item of a strike to help move the O’s out of the bottom three and up to 19th.
Having lost 6-0 at Sheffield United last Sunday, it was a good response by Alberto Cavasin’s team against their local rivals.
But it has to be just a start with the east Londoners still perilously close to the bottom two ahead of next Saturday’s clash at home to Blackpool.
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Cavasin said after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion in the EFL Trophy that the O’s youngsters deserved an opportunity in the league.
But the Italian failed to include one in the starting line-up at Colchester with regular Sandro Semedo, 19, dropped to the bench.
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Yvan Erichot returned in defence with Michael Collins starting and Orient fielding a 4-1-2-1-2 formation.
The former Scunthorpe United captain was at the tip of the diamond behind Simpson and Ollie Palmer.
With the rain pouring down at Colchester, it was no surprise to see several players losing their footing in the opening exchanges.
The visitors were fortunate in the ninth minute when Erichot misjudged a long ball and it allowed Macauley Bonne space to run at Tom Parkes.
Bonne played in Kurtis Guthrie, although he could only blaze over when under pressure from the ex-Bristol Rovers captain.
It was a scare for the O’s, yet two minutes later and they were celebrating after taking the lead.
Gavin Massey combined well with Palmer and Simpson before a Colchester player inadvertently knocked the ball back towards his own goal.
Simpson gratefully controlled before firing home with just Sam Walker to beat from inside the area.
Orient’s top goalscorer from last season was involved again two minutes later and tested the U’s custodian with a fizzing low volley.
Although Colchester put a couple of balls into the box, Alex Cisak remained untroubled with half an hour played.
Richard Brindley tried to test the Aussie moments later, but his long range hit was way off target.
There had been a real lack of tempo and urgency from both teams in the first half with nerves perhaps playing a part.
Any time either side did get forward and into the final third there was a distinct lack of quality which showed why both are struggling in the division.
That was particularly evident five minutes before half time when Massey did well on the right, but couldn’t picked out Simpson in the box.
Colchester’s Drey Wright then cut inside from the left and forced Cisak into a routine save in the 41st minute.
U’s were pressing for an equaliser and should have got it just as one minute of stoppage time was added on.
Brennan Dickenson delivered a wonderful ball into the box and Guthrie, five-yards-out, side footed into the ground and over.
It looked easier to score than miss, although fortunately for Orient and Cavasin it didn’t go in and remained 1-0 at half time.
The second goal of the game did occur just two minutes after the break and it came from an unlikely source.
Collins did well on the left to keep a lost ball in play and Simpson’s touch inside the box was exquisite.
U’s initially cleared the danger, yet Hunt controlled and cut inside on his left foot before curling into the corner from outside the area.
It was just the former Bolton Wanderers defenders third goal of his professional career and sparked jubilant celebrations in front of the 1,122 O’s fans in attendance.
Two minutes later and Colchester should have reduced the arrears when Guthrie side-footed wide from just eight-yards.
John McGreal’s team continued to threaten with Dickenson embarking on a great run before firing over. The U’s were lacking quality and in the 66th minute Simpson showed his ability with a sublime effort.
The ex-Arsenal striker controlled 25-yards-out and smashed into the top corner – a carbon copy of his effort at Plymouth Argyle in November 2015.
All of the Orient bench were up on their feet applauding his second and that virtually assured the three points were heading back to east London.
Massey went close to netting against his old club before he was replaced by Semedo and left the field to warm applause from both supporters.
Paul McCallum and Victor Adeboyejo were introduced late in the second half and it was a good afternoon for Cavasin in the rain.
The full time whistle followed and all of the O’s squad went over and acknowledged the travelling support, but it is only a small step towards moving up the table.
Colchester United: Walker; Brindley (Fosu 68), Eastman, Kent, Wynter; Lapslie, Karama (Slater 54), Wright; Guthrie, Dickenson, Bonne (Johnstone 54).
Unused substitutes: Barnes, Szmodics, Sembie-Ferris, Dunne.
Leyton Orient: Cisak; Hunt, Erichot, Parkes, Kennedy; Weir; Collins, Atangana; Massey (Semedo 79); Simpson (McCallum 84), Palmer (Adeboyejo 90).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Dunne, Pollock, Ochieng.
Attendance: 7,003 (1,122 Leyton Orient supporters).