Jay Simpson gives Leyton Orient home comforts at last
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 1 Accrington Stanley 0
Jay Simpson’s 65th minute strike gave Leyton Orient a 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley and a first victory at Brisbane Road since August 30.
Andy Edwards picked up his first three points in charge, yet the east Londoners only moved up to 21st in the League Two table.
Stanley’s Sean McConville saw red in the first half and eventually O’s were able to make their numerical advantage count.
Edwards made three changes from the team which started the 3-1 defeat at Doncaster Rovers on November 26.
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Nicky Hunt was fit again after recovering from an ankle injury and Gavin Massey returned following suspension.
Jordan Bowery was handed a first start since October 29 with Ollie Palmer dropping to the bench.
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Michael Collins was also among the replacements, though Aron Pollock missed out all together.
Sam Dalby was included on the bench having signed his first professional contract with the club this week.
Meanwhile summer signing Teddy Mezague was involved in the match day squad for the first time since joining O’s having only just recovered from an Achilles tendon injury.
There was a good buzz at Brisbane Road before kick-off and Orient created the first chance of note in the fourth minute.
Sandro Semedo came inside well and picked out Massey, who crossed into the area for Bowery, but his effort was blocked and Stanley survived.
It was a rare significant moment in the opening quarter of an hour with the visitors settling well in east London.
Accrington threatened in the 16th minute when Jordan Clark controlled a stray cross and picked out Scott Brown, though he side footed well wide.
The O’s custodian Alex Cisak had a moment of fortune against his old club four minutes later.
Patrick Lacey tried his luck from range and Orient’s goalkeeper spilling the effort before casually trying to grab the loose ball.
Terry Gornell pounced and appeared to get possession fairly, yet referee Darren Drysdale felt Cisak had both hands on the ball and gave the hosts a free kick.
And then in the 22nd the main in black had a big decision to make after Massey was fouled around 25-yards-out.
Simpson turned Mark Hughes sensationally near the centre circle before playing a through ball to Massey.
Stanley skipper McConville pulled down the former Colchester United winger and Drysdale awarded O’s a free kick.
The referee then took his time to discuss the incident with linesmen Stuart Butler and eventually brought out a red card.
Callum Kennedy curled the free kick wide before setting up Hunt minutes later, yet his header was easily saved by Aaron Chapman.
With half an hour played, attention turned from the pitch to the stands when Stanley supporters appeared to start fighting with each other.
Stewards and police were required before the focus turned back to the football with Orient pushing for the opener.
Atangana fired an effort over following a wonderful pass from Parkes before Edwards watched his team produce a brilliant move.
The O’s kept hold of possession well and Robbie Weir worked the ball out wide to Massey on the right.
Simpson was picked out in the area, though he could only side foot past the post, yet the move offered a sign of encouragement.
A sloppy pass by Atangana allowed Clark to run at Parkes and let fly, though Cisak saved before two minutes of stoppage time were added on.
Massey, who had been excellent in the first 45, once again beat his man, yet Atangana’s shot was blocked and it signalled the end of the half.
The visitors started the second period brightly and Clark had a couple of efforts before Edwards made a change.
Paul McCallum was introduced in the 58th minute with Bowery making way and the substitute had an immediate impact.
Semedo crossed into the box and McCallum made a nuisance of himself and the ball dropped for Atangana, who tested Chapman from 10-yards.
Accrington’s goalkeeper saved and the rebound hit one of his own defenders before he was able to gather.
But in the 65th minute Chapman was beaten and it was another good move by Orient, which resulted in the opener.
Massey played in the overlapping Judd and the young right-back chipped the ball to the back post.
McCallum, who was wrestling with Omar Beckles, managed to head down for Simpson and he slotted past Chapman and into the net.
All of the Orient players celebrated in front of the South Stand and a huge sense of relief overcame everybody inside the stadium.
McCallum needed treatment after the goal and had to wear a head bandage for the rest of the match.
Stanley, now trailing, threatened and a mistake by Parkes allowed John O’Sullivan to run into the area.
O’Sullivan picked out Clark, though Cisak made a fine save and blocked the follow up effort from Gornell, although the latter was adjudged to be offside.
Accrington upped the ante now and Clark fired into the side netting before Judd was forced off with a hamstring problem.
Mezague was introduced for his debut with 11 minutes remaining and nerves filling Brisbane Road.
Weir had a good chance to put Orient two up in the 80th minute, but he fired over when well placed.
Edwards next decision was to replaced Semedo with Michael Collins with the seconds ticking away.
The O’s were their own worst enemy in the 89th minute when Mezague gave the ball away and Atangana committed a foul around 22-yards-out.
Seamus McCartan stepped up and curled the effort over much to the relief of everybody associated with the hosts inside the ground.
Five minutes were then added on and cries of ‘Come on Orient’ were roared from the home supporters.
Stanley pushed to find an equaliser, though Edwards side held firm and managed to claim a first win at Brisbane Road since August 30.
The run of eight consecutive defeats at home had been ended and O’s move up to 21st in the table and three points off the bottom two.
Leyton Orient: Cisak; Judd (Mezague 79), Hunt, Parkes, Kennedy; Massey, Weir, Atangana, Semedo (Collins 87); Bowery (McCallum 58), Simpson.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Palmer, Nnomo, Dalby.
Accrington Stanley: Chapman; Pearson, Beckles, Hughes, McConville; Davies (Boco 69); Clark, Lacey, Brown, O’Sullivan; Gornell (McCartan 69).
Unused substitutes: Little, Vyner, Taylor-Fletcher, Hewitt, Conneely.
Attendance: 3,964 (152 Accrington Stanley supporters).