Leyton Orient give leaders a fright
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO
Sky Bet League One: Leyton Orient 1 Bristol City 3
Leyton Orient were unable to topple leaders Bristol City, despite an encouraging display at Brisbane Road.
Fabio Liverani’s side rocked the visitors with an early goal from Chris Dagnall, his 11th of the season, but the table-toppers overcame that shock to take all three points back to the west country.
Liverani named an unchanged side for the first time this season, following Saturday’s 2-0 win at Walsall.
City, meanwhile, made only one change from their side after a 1-0 victory at Rochdale, as Joe Bryan came in for Greg Cunningham.
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The visiting fans were in good voice at kick-off, as well they might be with their side eight points clear at the top of the table.
But Ryan Hedges showed a nice dummy to Derrick Williams on the right inside the first minute and his cross reached Jobi McAnuff, whose mishit shot then fell to Dagnall before the visiting defence cleared their lines.
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And Orient took the lead with less than four minutes played as McAnuff stole possession from Mark Little and David Mooney played a perfect through ball for Dagnall to clip past Frank Fielding and inside the far post.
A nice cushioned header from Hedges almost created another shooting chance for Dagnall on seven minutes, but the ball was deflected behind for Orient’s first corner of the night, which came to nothing.
And the visitors were back on terms on 12 minutes when Kieran Agard laid the ball back for Luke Freeman, whose left-footed shot was deflected in by Josh Wright.
The goal ended a shutout streak of over four hours for Alex Cisak, since James Hanson’s strike for Bradford.
But Orient had a glimpse of a second goal not long after through McAnuff, who dragged his left-footed shot wide from the corner of the box.
And Andrea Dossena’s excellent long ball almost put Dagnall through on goal, following a City free-kick, but Korey Smith was back to tidy up the danger for the visitors.
Mathieu Baudry was booked for a foul on Freeman wide on the left on 20 minutes, as Orient continued to concede a string of free-kicks.
And Freeman’s delivery to the far post picked out Aden Flint, whose bullet header flew into the roof of the net past a stunned Cisak.
Shane Lowry sent a 25-yard free-kick straight at Fielding at the other end moments later, before Hedges drew another foul on the right side and Wright’s delivery fell for Dagnall, whose close range effort was deflected up and over the crossbar.
Hedges had his name taken by referee Iain Williamson for a body check on Little, who saw a shot from Bryan’s deep cross almost rebound into the net off Kieran Agard on 29 minutes.
And City captain Aaron Wilbraham followed into the book for a needless challenge on Wright tight to the right touchline.
The visitors might have extended their lead on 37 minutes when Agard got to the right byline and dug out a cross to the far post, where Bryan and Freeman got in each other’s way and sent the ball past the post.
But McAnuff tested Fielding with a left-footed shot from 20 yards, after a strong run from halfway, and Hedges fired over from Dagnall’s chest down seconds later.
There was another warning for O’s as Little raced onto Marlon Pack’s pass, skipping past Dossena, only to flash the ball across the face of Cisak’s goal.
But McAnuff and Hedges then combined well and Luke O’Neill’s low drive was turned behind at the near post as Dagnall looked to profit again.
And after McAnuff had penalty appeals ignored, as he tried to get the ball down on the edge of the box for a shot during first-half stoppage time, Romain Vincelot flashed a header over from Dossena’s corner.
Both sides returned unchanged for the second half and Pack had Cisak scrambling to his right to push a low drive wide four minutes after the restart, after O’Neill had conceded possession.
Orient had another let-off as the inswinging corner from Pack skimmed a home head and the outside of the far post and Freeman then flashed a long-range effort narrowly wide on 53 minutes as the visitors looked to kill Orient off quickly.
But Dossena tested the fingertips of Fielding with a stunning 35-yard drive, before McAnuff’s driven ball into the box from a short corner deflected off Baudry into the keeper’s grateful arms.
O’s fell 3-1 down on the hour, though, as Bryan whipped in a superb low ball from the left flank and Wilbraham stole in at the far post to turn it into the roof of the net.
Cisak had to dive to his right to smother Pack’s low drive through a crowd, after Wright became the third Orient player to be shown a yellow card.
And Liverani sent Dean Cox and Jay Simpson on for Hedges and Mooney in an attempt to get his side back into the match midway through the second half, before the last throw of the dice 11 minutes from time, when Gianvito Plasmati was sent on for McAnuff.
Cox bent a shot beyond the far post from Vincelot’s short pass, but Orient were struggling to make much of an impact in the final third until time was almost up, when Plasmati’s acrobatic effort was tipped over by Fielding.
Simpson’s close-range header was also kept out by England under-21 international Fielding at the start of stoppage time, while Plasmati headed straight at the keeper from a free-kick, but the visitors were worth their win as they strengthened their promotion claims.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Vincelot, Baudry, Mooney (Simpson 70), McAnuff (Plasmati 79), Lowry, Wright, Dagnall, O’Neill, Dossena, Hedges (Cox 67). Booked: Baudry, Hedges, Wright. Unused subs: Cuthbert, Clarke, Bartley, Woods.
Bristol City: Fielding, Little, Williams, Flint, Smith, Freeman (Saville 87), Wilbraham (Emmanuel-Thomas 89), Agard (Wagstaff 90), Pack, Ayling, Bryan. Booked: Wilbraham, Ayling. Unused subs: Elliott, Richards, Cunningham, Tavernier.
Shots on target (Orient first): 8-5.
Shots off target: 7-3.