Sutton end O’s unbeaten start to season with professional display
- Credit: Archant
National League: Leyton Orient 0 Sutton United 1
Leyton Orient lost their unbeaten record in the National League this season after Sutton United produced the perfect away performance to win 1-0 in E10.
The U’s scored early into the second period and defended excellently against Justin Edinburgh’s team to continue their encouraging run.
It was a frustrating result for Orient, but they did have chances late on to level and on another day, could have claimed a point.
After breaking a club record at Braintree Town on Tuesday night, by making it 13 games without a league defeat to start the season, Edinburgh stuck with the same XI which have served the O’s so well over the past 10 matches.
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The only change he did make was to the bench with Sam Ling returning and taking the place of Dan Happe, who had a slight ankle problem.
Orient got the game underway on a bright, sunny day where they were celebrating 10 years in Leyton.
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After a slow start, the most action in the opening minutes took place off the pitch as Edinburgh and opposite number Paul Doswell exchanged words.
U’s midfielder Kenny Davis shoved James Dayton into the concrete by the touchline in the seventh minute and picked up a yellow card for his troubles.
Sutton boss Doswell was unhappy with Edinburgh’s reaction and it led to some cross words between the pair.
Nine minutes later and Josh Coulson was called into action when Tommy Wright chased after a long back.
Orient’s experienced defender show his knowhow to hold off the U’s attacker and get the ball away from danger.
It took 19 minutes for O’s to create some goalmouth action as Dayton’s corner was cleared and Jobi McAnuff gave the ball back to the wide-man.
Dayton whizzed past his marker and looked to find a team-mate inside the area, but his low cross evaded everyone and Sutton cleared.
The game was beginning to get going now and O’s almost opened the scoring in the 24th minute.
Joe Widdowson did well on the left to not given a foul away and force Dale Bennett to give away a corner.
From the set-piece, McAnuff picked out Widdowson and his header seemed destined for the back of the net, but Ashwad Thomas managed to clear the effort off the line and over the crossbar for another corner.
After a quiet opening period, both sides were into their stride now and the visitors attacked again with 26 played, but Wright volleyed a Bennett cross wide.
Less than 60 seconds later and Sutton were awarded a free kick in a dangerous area when Jonah Ayunga was brought down right on the edge.
Although the U’s wanted a penalty, a free kick was all they got and their frustration was compounded when Nicky Bailey, formerly of Southend United and Charlton Athletic, side-footed the free kick well wide.
It was still goalless in E10, but Orient and Edinburgh wouldn’t have been happy with what they had seen so far.
Sutton had taken the sting out of the match by pressing well and also being their usual physical and direct self.
Edinburgh sensed something needed to change and tried to get O’s playing with more of a quick tempo as we approached the last 10 minutes of the half.
The U’s were countering this by taking their time with free kicks and throws and away goalkeeper Jamie Butler was being very laidback when taken goal kicks.
Orient, to their credit, responded to their manager and began to move the ball about a little bit quicker and Bonne saw an effort deflected wide in the 40th minute after good play by Dayton.
From the corner, Dayton won a free kick on the edge, but wasted the opportunity by blazing an effort well wide.
Two minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the half and O’s did create one last chance of the first period.
A counter-attacker saw Dayton chip into the area, but Bonne’s header lacked pace and Butler saved easily to ensure it was goalless at the interval.
Edinburgh’s message at half time would have been to see a lot more urgency from Orient after the break in the way they were pressing and passing.
Unfortunately for O’s, the first attack of the second period went to the visitors and they took the lead.
Clay gave the ball away near the halfway line and Sutton spread the play out wide to Ayunga, and he cut inside Judd, who had been caught up pitch, and drilled in from 22-yards – beating Dean Brill at his near post.
Just three minutes into the second half and Orient were behind and now facing up to the prospect of suffering their first defeat of the campaign.
O’s centre back Marvin Ekpiteta needed treatment with 52 on the clock when he got a blow to the thigh, but after some time to recover, he was fine to continue and the hosts could begin to try and get back on track.
The next Orient player in the wars was Charlie Lee, who was fouled by Sutton skipper Craig Eastmond in the 58th minute and the U’s player went into the book of referee Carl Brook as a result.
Lee was able to resume, but it again halted the hosts from building up ahead of steam and getting any momentum into their play.
Soon after Bonne had a shot from 25-yards yet it went wildly off target and more time could be wasted by the away side.
Another opportunity occurred in the 63rd minute and Orient had a let-off as Brill come for a cross, but got blinded by the sun and needed Judd to clear.
The right-back, also unsighted by the light coming into the stadium, could only kick to Ayunga and had to close down the forward to prevent him scoring a second.
Edinburgh had seen enough and decided to introduce Dale Gorman and James Brophy in the 65th minute with Lee and Dayton making way.
Sutton also made a change as Wright limped off slowly, much to the annoyance of the home supporters, and was replaced by Tom Bolarinwa.
Immediately Orient tested the visitors as Brophy cut inside his man and saw a cross put behind by Butler for a corner.
The set-piece was cleared and more time was taken out of the game when Davis left the pitch to be replaced by Wayne Brown.
O’s made their last roll of the dice with quarter of an hour remaining when James Alabi come on for Judd, who had looked tired in the second period
A fine move occurred with 12 minutes left when Brophy played into Koroma, he let the ball roll through his legs and Bonne set up the substitute for a chance.
Even though Brophy cut inside one opponent, his shot lacked power and Butler was not called into action.
It was an encouraging sign, however, and showed Orient there were gaps opening in the Sutton defence.
O’s were trying to find a way back into the contest, but Doswell’s visitors were still defending admirably as the game approached the final 10 minutes.
Groans could be heard when a couple of free kicks were overhit and went out for goal kicks as the seconds ticked away in east London.
The frustration doubled when Orient were inches away from equalising on the stroke of full time.
Koroma, now playing out wide, cut the ball back for Gorman and he curled towards goal, but saw his effort hit the crossbar and bounce away to safety.
It boosted O’s spirits and more encouragement arrived when the fourth official signalled for five minutes of stoppage time.
In the first of them, Orient should have levelled when Koroma got to the byline and chipped into Alabi’s path.
The substitute rolled centre back, but with the whites of the goal net in his sights, he blazed wide.
It was a fantastic chance and Edinburgh’s men pushed some more and forced two late corners, but Sutton defended well and claimed an impressive win to end O’s unbeaten record.
The result sees Orient drop to second, but there is plenty to be positive about and they were clapped off the pitch after giving their all at the Breyer Group Stadium.
O’s will look to bounce back next weekend when they make the relatively short trip to Maidenhead United.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Judd (Alabi 75), Coulson, Ekpiteta, Widdowson; Dayton (Brophy 65), Clay, Lee (Gorman 65), McAnuff ©; Bonne, Koroma.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Ling.
Sutton United: Butler; Bennett, Beckwith, Clough, Thomas; Eastmond ©, Bailey, Davis (Brown 71); Wright (Bolarinwa 65), Ayunga (Wilshart 76); Drinan.
Unused substitutes: Lafayette, Beautyman.
Attendance: 5,627 (308 Sutton United supporters).