Leyton Orient suffer another home defeat as Hartlepool United punish more set-piece woe for O’s
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
National League: Leyton Orient 1 Hartlepool United 2
Leyton Orient suffered a third consecutive defeat in the National League after losing 2-1 at home to Hartlepool United this afternoon.
Jobi McAnuff gave Steve Davis’ team the lead, but they switched off from two set-pieces and it proved the different.
After going behind at the start of the second half, Orient were never able to recover and fell to their fifth loss of the campaign.
Davis made three changes from the 3-0 defeat to Halifax Town with Matt Harrold dropping out of the squad with a calf problem.
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Michael Clark and Rommy Boco were on the bench with David Mooney, Dan Happe and Josh Koroma handed starting roles.
It was a big day for 18-year-old Happe, who had only made two previous appearances for O’s – at the back end of last season.
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Orient were missing Josh Coulson (groin), George Elokobi and James Dayton (both hamstring), as well as Harrold and Charlie Lee (knee) due to injury.
As a result, Davis had to name an inexperienced bench with Sam Dalby returning and part of the match day squad for the first time this season.
Hartlepool immediately put O’s on the back foot from the kick-off and a loose pass by Koroma eventually saw Jonathan Franks teed up, but he scuffed his effort wide with two minutes on the clock and Orient were able to regroup.
Two minutes later and the hosts threatened for the first time when McAnuff won the ball from Carl Magnay and played Macauley Bonne in on the right.
The O’s forward looked up and tried to pick out Mooney in the centre, but his cross was over-hit and the chance went begging.
Defensively, Orient were continuing to look shaky, as Rhys Oates nearly embarrassed the home back line in the seventh minute.
Happe played the ball back to Charlie Grainger and his pass was slightly short, but O’s goalkeeper also took too long.
Fortunately for the hosts, Grainger’s clearance, which rebounded off Oates, spun across the face of goal and away from danger.
Going forward, Orient still looked dangerous and McAnuff was causing the Monkey Hangers problems, while Mooney tested Scott Loach for the first time in the 15th minute.
Four minutes later and the Hartlepool goalkeeper was called into action again, but this time he couldn’t prevent O’s taking the lead.
Koroma played a wonderful initial ball into Mooney’s path and he fired towards goal, but was denied by Loach.
The ball rolled out to McAnuff, though, and he slotted home from 20-yards to give Orient the lead and score his first goal for the club since March 2016.
It was deserved reward for the former Jamaican international after impressing during recent defeats.
Davis nearly saw his team double their advantage with 25 minutes played when Alex Lawless picked out Bonne.
Bonne let the ball bounce before rifling his effort towards goal, but his shot smashed off the post and went away to safety.
Hartlepool immediately responded with Franks firing over and they then won the first corner of the match, though it eventually came to nothing.
Mooney was the first man in the book when he handled on the half an hour mark and referee Carl Brook spotted the incident.
Orient’s stand-in captain was struggling, having taken an early whack to his shoulder, and despite already taking some painkillers, needed treatment in the 32nd minute.
He was able to resume, although Hartlepool’s Ryan Donaldson then went down and needed some attention from the physio with 34 on the clock.
The two stoppages in quick succession were not necessarily a bad thing for O’s, as it allowed them some more time to regroup as a team.
Donaldson was able to continue and Orient failed to make the most of two corners in quick succession in the 38th minute.
Less than 60 seconds later and Grainger had more difficulty with a back pass, as Jamie Sendles-White’s pass lacked pace and Oates was able to slightly block the goalkeepers clearance, though it deflected to a home player.
With four minutes of the half remaining, Orient produced a wonderful move, which should have ended with a goal.
Grainger and Sendles-White remained calm at the back and found Lawless, who did brilliantly to turn away from danger and pick out Koroma.
The teen passed into Mooney’s path and he played in Joe Widdowson down the left and despite Bonne being free at the back post, he looked to find a player in red near the six-yard area and the cross was cleared for a corner.
As the first 45 drew to a close, the play between both teams started to become a little bit erratic and you sensed Orient wanted to get into the changing room.
Hartlepool’s final opportunity of the first half came when they won a free kick around 35-yards-out.
Although Nicky Deverdics’s delivery failed to threaten O’s too much, they also didn’t clear at the first time of asking and Lewis Hawkins chipped back into the area.
Orient, again, were unable to get the ball away and Keith Watson nodded down for Franks and he volleyed home emphatically.
It was a kick in the teeth for Orient, having impressed for much of the first 45, and they had to come in level at the break.
After a disappointing finish to the first half, Davis would have hoped to see his team begin the second period strongly.
Orient didn’t, however, and with just over a minute of the second half played, the Monkey Hangers took the lead.
Another Deverdics set-piece caused the hosts problems and Oates got the faintest of touches to nod past Grainger and into the corner.
Hartlepool nearly made it 3-1 in the 53rd minute when Lawless and Craig Clay had a mix up in the middle and Donaldson got on the ball and saw his low effort hit the post.
Following a slow start to the second half, Orient did soon get back on the front foot and Bonne was denied by Loach with 57 gone.
With an hour played at Brisbane Road, McAnuff began to try and force the issue and caused panic in the Hartlepool penalty area with several set-piece deliveries.
From the final corner, the ball came to Koroma, but he could only smash over and O’s were forced to make a change minutes later.
Mooney, after battling through the pain, was eventually replaced by Dalby, who came on for his first appearance since April 22.
The substitute had an immediate impact, as he combined with Bonne before playing Koroma through on goal.
Orient’s number 19 slotted past Loach, but much to his disappointment and the home fans, it was ruled out for offside.
It was a frustrating moment for O’s, especially as the decision seemed a close one, but offered the east Londoners plenty of encouragement.
Davis’ team huffed and puffed as the seconds ticked away and put a number of balls into the area, yet couldn’t test Loach.
As the minutes passed, the frustration inside Brisbane Road increased with Orient just looking void of ideas.
The final roll of the dice by Davis was to bring Boco on and he helped boost the tempo of the home side.
Five minutes of additional time were added on at the end of the 90 and suddenly O’s began to lump it forward.
A McAnuff corner was headed away from goal by an off-balanace Happe and Lawless swung the ball back in, but Bonne could only head wide.
It seemed that might be Orient’s big chance, yet they still pushed for another chance and Bonne had a header deflect over off substitute Devante Rodney.
In the end, that was the last real opportunity for O’s, as the full time whistle came soon after and it meant Orient had lost for a third consecutive match.
After a decent start to the campaign, Davis now has problems and takes his team to high-flying Aldershot Town next.
Leyton Orient: Grainger; Caprice, Sendles-White, Happe, Widdowson; Koroma (Boco 86), Lawless, Clay (Ochieng 79), McAnuff; Mooney (Dalby 65), Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Clark.
Hartlepool United: Loach; Magnay, Watson (Laing 90), Ledger, Deverdics; Featherstone; Donaldson, Woods, Hawkins, Franks; Oates (Rodney 72).
Unused substitutes: Munns, Donnelly, Newton.
Attendance: 3,867 (208 Hartlepool United supporters).