Leyton Orient suffer another defeat after struggling to create chances at Tranmere Rovers
- Credit: Archant
National League: Tranmere Rovers 2 Leyton Orient 1
Leyton Orient fell to another disappointing defeat after losing 2-1 at Tranmere Rovers in the National League this evening.
Matt Harrold put the O’s ahead, but Steve Davis’ team could only hold onto their lead for four minutes at a rain-soaked Prenton Park.
In the end, Rovers deserved the victory and the result increases the building pressure on the Orient head coach, who hasn’t won for over a month now.
Even with all the problems at the club in recent times and under the previous ownership, the east Londoners were expected to do a lot better than they are at present and it is safe to say the honeymoon is well and truly over.
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The BT Sport cameras were present at Prenton Park for the clash between two clubs recently in the Football League.
Davis made one change to the side which lost 2-1 at home to AFC Fylde on Saturday, as Harrold came in for his second start since joining from Crawley Town.
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David Mooney, meanwhile, dropped to the bench after only just returning from a shoulder issue at the weekend.
Orient went into the contest in a poor run of form, which had seen them lose four of their last five games.
Tranmere were also struggling prior to Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bromley, which was a timely boost for boss Micky Mellon.
It was Rovers who created the first opening of the match after two minutes, as Ben Tollitt cut inside Jake Caprice and won a free kick just outside the area.
James Dayton was harshly adjudged to have made the foul, although he didn’t appear to actually touch the Rovers winger.
Adam Buxton took the free kick and saw his effort deflect behind for a corner, but O’s settled afterwards.
Orient were passing the ball around with confidence at a slick and wet Prenton Park, yet the hosts were looking a threat when they were in possession.
Tollitt was making his presence felt and he was involved in a move, which eventually saw James Norwood go down inside the area after tangling with Mark Ellis.
Referee Adam Bromley waved away the home appeals and the visitors breathed a big sigh of relief with 12 minutes played.
Tranmere were growing in confidence and Tollitt tested the palms of O’s custodian Charlie Grainger five minutes later.
Orient’s number one was called into action again in the 21st minute and it proved a crucial moment.
A Norwood cross found Andy Cook at the back post and his effort hit James Brophy’s hand and looked to be heading in, but Grainger got down low to parry his shot away from goal.
Then less than 60 seconds later, O’s punished that wasted opportunity by the hosts, as they took the lead.
Orient countered quickly and Jobi McAnuff saw a shot blocked before the ball rolled to Dayton and his centre was swept home by Harrold for his second goal for the club.
With 22 minutes played, Davis’ team had the lead and now it was crucial they held onto that advantage.
Unfortunately, it took Tranmere just four minutes to get back on level terms when O’s back four was slicked open.
Jeff Hughes played in Norwood and though Grainger managed to deny the Rovers attacker, Cook was on hand to tap into the empty net and level the scores.
It was harsh on Orient’s young goalkeeper, but the visitors managed to regroup after conceding in the pouring rain.
Dayton went close on the half an hour mark when he turned away from his marker and curled just wide from 25-yards.
Three minutes later and O’s went even closer, as McAnuff crossed in for Ellis and he nodded an effort against the outside of the post.
Mellon’s team were handed another blow in 41st minute when the dangerous Tollitt picked up an injury and was forced off with Dylan Mottley-Henry replacing him.
Two minutes of additional time were added on at the end of the first 45, but they went by without note and Orient came in level with Tranmere at the break.
The second period started slowly with both sides taking their time to adjust to the increasingly wet conditions at Prenton Park.
Ollie Norburn had the first chance after the restart, but he drilled a low free kick into Grainger’s side netting with 53 played.
It was the only real chance of note during the opening 15 minutes of the second half with McAnuff wasting a decent opportunity from a central free kick when he hit the wall in the 59th minute.
Grainger was then called into action three times in quick succession just past the hour mark and he answered every question.
First of all he pushed a Norburn curler past the post and then brilliantly tipped a Cook header over the crossbar.
Orient’s young goalkeeper was involved again from the resulting corner, but the away side were awarded a free kick anyway.
Davis was dealt another blow moments later when Jake Caprice pulled up with an injury and had to be replaced.
Jamie Sendles-White came on and slotted into the centre of midfield with captain Alex Lawless dropping to right-back.
Despite the enforced change, Orient were still looking solid, though lacking some required movement up front.
But O’s were hit with some bad luck in the 71st minute and Tranmere took full advantage to take the lead.
Mottley-Henry fortunately wriggled away from Brophy on the right and his cross took a big deflection and came for Norwood, who headed into the empty net from close range.
Orient, to their credit, responded well after going behind with their left-back winning a corner, which Sendles-White headed wide at the back post with 76 played.
Dayton then won a free kick on the right and although McAnuff’s delivery was good, no O’s player could make the most of it.
Boss Davis made a double substitution moments later with Mooney and Rommy Boco coming on for Harrold and Dayton.
The first contribution from O’s club captain was to pick up a yellow card after going down easily inside the area.
Orient were enjoying plenty of possession as the game entered the final exchanges, but Tranmere were still looking a threat.
They really should have made it 3-1 in the 82nd minute when Buxton picked out Connor Jennings in the area, but he headed wide when unmarked.
It was an excellent opportunity for the hosts and O’s were hoping it would be a key missed chance.
Orient, despite plenty of possession, were struggling to create openings and it was Rovers who went closes next, but Dan Happe blocked Cook’s effort with three minutes to go.
Five minutes of additional time were added on at the end of the 90, but O’s were still looking short of confidence and ideas.
And in spite of so much possession, it finished 2-1 to Tranmere and Orient’s problems only increased.
The O’s remain 16th in the table and are now five points off the play-off positions and nine off the leaders Macclesfield Town.
Davis’ side are six games without a win and will be desperate to halt that on Saturday away to Barrow.
Leyton Orient: Grainger; Caprice (Sendles-White 65), Ellis, Happe, Brophy; Dayton (Boco 79), Lawless, Clay, McAnuff; Harrold (Mooney 78), Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Dalby.
Attendance: 4,145 (157 Leyton Orient supporters).