Leyton Orient stunned by Halifax Town, as the Shaymen hand O’s a first home defeat of the campaign
- Credit: Archant
National League: Leyton Orient 0 Halifax Town 3
Leyton Orient suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since the end of last season, as Halifax Town stunned the east Londoners at Brisbane Road.
First-half goals from Tom Denton and Adam Morgan put the Shaymen in control before Matthew Kosylo added a third after the break.
It was another bitterly disappointing night for Steve Davis’ team, as they saw their strong form in E10 come to an end.
With nine games now played in the National League, the O’s find themselves out of the play-off places and suddenly in a questionable run of form.
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Davis made five changes after the disappointment of Saturday’s defeat away to Boreham Wood.
Josh Coulson (groin) and George Elokobi (hamstring) missed out with injury and were replace by Jamie Sendles-White and Michael Clark.
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Both were making their first starts of the season with the former making his full debut for the club.
James Dayton also missed out due to a tight hamstring, so Rommy Boco was given another chance on the right.
Henry Ochieng and David Mooney dropped to the bench as well with Alex Lawless and Matt Harrold coming into the starting XI.
The former wore the captain’s armband at Brisbane Road, while the latter made his full debut against the Shaymen.
After making a host of changes, Davis would have hoped for a strong start, but got the complete opposite!
Halifax took the lead with five minutes on the clock, as Denton flicked on for former Liverpool striker Morgan to smash home.
It was a dreadful start for the O’s, but they should have equalised soon after when Jobi McAnuff crossed in for Matt Harrold, yet he headed wide from close range in the eighth minute.
Four minutes later and Orient created another opportunity when Jake Caprice forced Sam Johnson into a decent save.
The rebound only fell as far as Boco, though he fired over from close to the penalty spot and an excellent chance had been squandered.
Macauley Bonne was the next home player to try his luck, but he was unable to beat Johnson just before the clock had hit 15.
Orient’s top goalscorer then headed wide in the 18th minute after a dangerous corner from McAnuff before Halifax started to get back into the contest.
Billy Heath’s Shaymen were beginning to threaten again when they doubled their lead just before the half an hour mark.
The O’s failed to defend a free kick and giant forward Denton headed past Grainger to silence the home supporters.
Halifax’s second goal knocked Davis’ team and Morgan dragged an effort wide with 32 minutes gone.
The one-time Rotherham United loanee went close again seconds later, but he again drilled off target.
Bonne offered Orient some brief respite eight minutes before half time when he was picked out on the left, but he couldn’t get enough power on his shot to beat Johnson.
Grainger was then called into action to prevent Halifax going three up, as he pushed away Denton’s header after he had got away from Sendles-White to connect with Kosylo’s cross.
Orient could have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t their night in the 42nd minute when they went within a whisker of pulling one back.
McAnuff produced a sensational 25-yard strike, but saw his effort cannon off the inside of the post and away from danger.
Although two minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the first half, O’s came in trailing at the break.
It had been a terrible half for Davis’ team and they needed to respond after the break, but struggled.
With the rain lashing down, Kosylo got away from Clark before testing Grainger with a right-footed effort.
A moment of magic from McAnuff in the 52nd minute got Orient back on the front foot, as he drilled past a couple of opponents before forcing a corner.
Halifax managed to defend a succession of balls into the area, however, until Harrold headed over.
The visitors demonstrated their threat soon after though, when Kosylo forced home custodian Grainger into another save.
McAnuff dragged a shot wide just past the hour mark before Davis made his first change of the evening.
Boco made way with 61 on the clock and Mooney came on, as Orient looked to find a response at Brisbane Road.
Craig Clay tried his luck moments later, yet drilled over from 25-yards before he was involved again in the 67th minute.
The former Motherwell man got to the ball ahead of Johnson and despite Bonne getting in, he was unable to find the net.
Substitution Mooney tried his best to make an impact with two shots in quick succession before O’s were hit with a sucker-punch.
Clark was adjudged to brought down Denton inside the penalty area and referee Christopher Pollard pointed to the spot with 17 minutes remaining.
Kosylo stepped up and sent Grainger the wrong way to spark chants of ‘we are top of the league’ from the away fans.
Orient still pushed for a way back into the game and Mooney and Bonne failed to hit the target from promising positions.
Davis introduced Josh Koroma in the 86th minute with Harrold coming off, but it was too little too late.
The youngster did flash an effort across the face of goal during three minutes of stoppage time, but referee Pollard soon blew the full time whistle.
It brought an end to a terrible evening for O’s in the pouring rain, as they lost their undefeated record at Brisbane Road.
Orient’s fourth loss of the campaign sees them drop to ninth in the table ahead of hosting resurgent Hartlepool United on Saturday in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Leyton Orient: Grainger; Caprice, Sendles-White, Clark, Widdowson; Boco (Mooney 61), Lawless, Clay, McAnuff; Harrold (Koroma 86), Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Ochieng, Happe.
Attendance: 3,600 (153 Halifax Town supporters).