Leyton Orient suffer final-day defeat, but fans make their voices heard throughout at Blackpool
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Blackpool 3 Leyton Orient 1
Leyton Orient ended their 112-year stay in the Football League with a 30th defeat of the season, but their fans made the most of the occasion in Blackpool by singing until the full time whistle.
Omer Riza’s team struggled against the Tangerines throughout and only enjoyed a couple of sustained spells of pressure.
But the large travelling O’s support got behind the team at Bloomfield Road and once the final whistle sounded, the players were able to show their appreciation to the fans.
Freddy Moncur and Henry Ochieng returned to the starting XI for O’s final game in the Football League for at least a season.
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Tom Parkes and Paul McCallum were the men to miss out and weren’t included in the matchday squad.
Riza fielded several youngsters on the bench with Teddy Perkins and Sam Alderson alongside Victor Adeboyejo and Josh Koroma.
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Blackpool included ex-O’s loanee Jack Payne in their starting team with old forward Armand Gnanduillet among the substitutes.
Kyle Vassell had the first effort of the match after four minutes, but Sam Sargeant was easily able to save his weak shot.
Four minutes later and Brad Potts fired towards goal, but saw his strike deflect wide for a corner.
Although the Orient fans were in fine voice, the team looked like they were still on the team coach.
The hosts were dominating the middle of the park and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 11th minute.
Payne produced a wonderful curling cross from the right and Neil Danns outjumped Jens Janse and nodded into the corner.
It was not the start O’s would have hoped for and Blackpool continued to press for a second at Bloomfield Road.
Mark Cullen tried his luck with just over quarter of an hour played, but could only curl over the crossbar.
Even despite the early goal, it failed to deflate the travelling Orient support who kept up the partisan atmosphere inside the stadium.
Slowly O’s inexperienced side grew into the contest and they had their first attack in the 28th minute, but Sandro Semedo’s cross was cleared.
The Orient fans continued to go through their full repertoire of songs about the EFL and Francesco Becchetti.
And just as Riza’s team looked to have got a decent foothold in the game, Blackpool doubled their lead.
Andy Taylor played the ball into Cullen’s path and he drove forward before firing into the corner from 20-yards.
With 36 minutes played at Bloomfield Road, Orient trailed by two goals and were set for a 30th league loss of the campaign.
O’s responded positively to the goal by winning their first corner of the game in the 37th minute, but it came to nothing.
The visitors had their first shot of the game soon after when they were awarded a free kick in the 42nd minute.
Callum Kennedy stepped up and curled over the wall, but Sam Slocombe got across well to tip wide.
A brief stoppage of play occurred just before the break when Aron Pollock landed awkwardly after battling with Will Aimson in the air.
Three minutes of additional time were added on at Bloomfield Road and the teenage centre back was able to carry on.
Despite more Blackpool pressure, they were unable to add a third before half-time, despite Tom Aldred going close, so O’s went in just two goals down.
The Tangerines should have added to their tally just two minutes after the restart, but Sargeant excellently denied Vassell.
Ochieng then had Orient’s second shot on target, though his low, tame effort was easy for Slocombe.
But in the 50th minute, O’s stunned everyone inside the stadium by reducing the deficit and the goalscorer was even more surprising.
Ochieng played a neat through ball and Janse got in behind the Blackpool defence and slotted through the legs of Slocombe to score his first goal for the club.
It sparked great celebrations from the travelling support and out of nothing the O’s were back in the game.
Riza introduced Adeboyejo five minutes after the goal with Moncur the man to make way to warm applause.
Blackpool nearly made it 3-1 seconds after the substitution, as Vassell squared for Potts, but he blazed over with just Sargeant to beat.
The hosts were keen to establish their two-goal lead again and Potts tried to drive past Michael Clark, but the teenage won the ball back beautifully to continue his excellent outing at Blackpool.
Vassell showed his class in the 62nd minute, as he turned away from Pollock, but O’s Sargeant got down well to save the powerful strike.
The next change by Riza was to introduce Koroma for Abrahams with 26 minutes remaining at Blackpool.
But the subsequent attack after the substitution resulted in the hosts adding a third through Taylor.
Blackpool’s captain drilled into the corner from inside the area to virtually secure the three points.
Orient’s young guns pushed for another way back into the match with Steven Alzate doing his best, but just being unable to fashion an opening.
Vassell wasted two decent opportunities before Blackpool introduced Gnanduillet for the final 10 minutes.
Fancy footwork by Koroma won O’s a free kick around 25-yards-out, but Kennedy could only hit the wall.
Pollock was replaced with six minutes left after battling on bravely with Happe coming on for his second Orient appearance.
The O’s fans were singing loud and proud during the final exchanges and were applauded by the home supporters.
Vassell forced Sargeant into a stunning low save on the stroke of full time before he wasted another great chance.
And once the three minutes of stoppage time had passed, referee David Webb brought the game to an end.
Every Orient player and member of staff applauded the away support in touching scenes at Bloomfield Road.
Kennedy and Pollock were among the O’s fans to give away their shirts while various others embraced the Brisbane Road faithful.
Orient’s time in the Football League is over for now, but this club will come back stronger in the future.
Blackpool: Slocombe; Aimson, Aldred, Robertson; Mellor, Danns (Black 70), Potts, Payne, Taylor; Vassell, Cullen (Gnanduillet 80).
Unused substitutes: Lyness, Flores, Philliskirk, Osayi-Samuel, Delfouneso.
Leyton Orient: Sargeant; Janse, Pollock (Happe 84), Clark, Kennedy; Ochieng, Moncur (Adeboyejo 55), Collins; Alzate, Semedo; Abrahams (Koroma 64).
Unused substitutes: Janata, Dalby, Alderson, Perkins.