McAnuff strike helps O’s pass Oxford test
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Oxford United 0 Leyton Orient 1
Jobi McAnuff scored for Leyton Orient 16 minutes from time to give them a fantastic 1-0 win at Oxford United in League Two.
Kevin Nolan’s men defended excellently throughout at the Kassam Stadium and thoroughly deserved all three points.
Mathieu Baudry was shown a harsh straight red deep into stoppage time, but it failed to stop the visitors taking all three points.
McAnuff made his first start of the month following injury and lined up on the left as O’s went with a 4-4-2 formation.
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Hull City loanee Calaum Jahraldo-Martin partnered Jay Simpson up front while Sean Clohessy continued on the right side of midfield.
After being knocked unconscious against Luton last Saturday, Shaun Brisley was surprisingly given the all clear to play at the Kassam Stadium.
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New loan goalkeeper David Gregory was on the bench after youngster Charlie Grainger underwent surgery on an ankle problem during the week.
Ollie Palmer was among the replacements, after starting against the Hatters, while Sammy Moore missed out all together through illness.
President Francesco Becchetti sat with the away fans as Orient got proceedings underway.
It was a quiet opening between two teams pushing for promotion with neither able to get a foothold in the game early on.
The first effort of note occurred in the 14th minute when Clohessy crossed into the box, but Simpson flashed a header wide of goal.
Nolan’s men were slowly growing into the contest and created another decent opportunity five minutes later.
Jahraldo-Martin worked the ball out wide to Jerome Binnom-Williams, who crossed first time into the box.
Simpson beat Oxford goalkeeper Benji Buchel to the ball, but his knock down to the O’s player-manager was cleared by Johnny Mullins.
Kemar Roofe was the hosts most dangerous player in the opening half an hour, but even he lacked quality in the final third.
Michael Appleton’s side had enjoyed a fair amount of possession, but the east Londoners were defending well.
The game become end-to-end briefly as Nolan kept the ball smartly near the corner flag before playing back to McAnuff.
He tried to go past his marker, but was stopped and it allowed the Yellows to break forward with Roofe.
And his cross found Danny Hylton in the box, but Nolan got back to make a strong tackle inside the penalty area.
Oxford pushed once more a minute later and strung a couple of passes close to the Orient goal, but the visitors again managed to withstand the danger.
In the 39th minute, Binnom-Williams got forward and had his cross blocked by the hand of Chris Maguire.
The away side were given a free kick on the edge and McAnuff’s ball in was headed goalwards by Brisley.
But the defender, who was wearing a head bandage, had his effort cleared off the line by Mullins and it remained goalless.
Appleton’s men responded and Roofe flashed an effort well wide of goal two minutes later, but Orient were looking comfortable.
Baudry made a stunning sliding tackle a minute before the break to prevent Jordan Bowery getting on the end of Maguire’s cross.
And then the referee blew for half time, not even adding any stoppage time at the end of the first 45.
Oxford had appeals for a penalty waved away four minutes after the restart when Liam Sercombe went down.
Binnom-Williams needlessly slide into the Yellows midfielder, he went down, but referee David Coote gave a goal kick surprisingly.
The Yellows continued to push forward and Nicky Hunt brought down Roofe in the 55th minute just outside the penalty area.
He stepped up to take the set piece and got it past the wall, but Alex Cisak was equal to it and parried away from goal.
Moments later and despite Bowery sitting on the ball, the referee allowed play to continue and Hylton was played though.
But Hunt came out of nowhere to make a stunning tackle and prevent the home forward having a shot at goal.
Armand Gnanduillet was introduced two minutes after the hour – replacing Jahraldo-Martin, who had struggled against Cheyenne Dunkley all afternoon.
The French forward nearly made his impact felt five minutes later and should have really scored.
He did well originally to knock the ball down for Simpson, who held it up well and passed back to Nolan.
Orient’s player-manager played a lovely pass to Gnanduillet, but his attempted chip over Buchel was weak and the Yellow custodian saved.
And then in the 71st minute the visitors had an even better chance to open the scoring at the Kassam Stadium, but didn’t.
Gnanduillet passed into McAnuff and the Jamaican did brilliantly to skip past two opponents before passing back to the O’s forward.
The French ace brought the ball into the box, got to the byline and cut back for Clohessy.
He somehow scuffed his first effort from a few yards out and Oxford cleared, it came back to Clohessy again though and although he got a better connect second time, it was again cleared.
Orient could sense blood now, though, and carried on pressing forward before they finally got their reward 16 minutes from time.
Clohessy’s first ball into the Yellows area was cleared back to him and his second attempt hit Dunkley.
It came to McAnuff inside the box, though, and he brought it down before rifling into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead.
Oxford stepped up a gear after the goal and immediately looked to find a response at the Kassam Stadium.
Substitute George Waring fired over the crossbar under pressure from Hunt before Palmer replaced Simpson with six minutes remaining.
Two minutes later and Cisak was forced out of his goal before Binnom-Williams made a fantastic block.
And then the hosts created their best opportunity of the match as Sercombe was played through on goal, but he scuffed his effort wide with two minutes remaining.
The fourth official put four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the 90 and O’s captain Baudry received a straight red during time added on for bringing down Roofe.
It was a cynical challenge but certainly didn’t deserve to be a straight red, but the visitors had to play the last few moments with 10 men.
Connor Essam was introduced for Gnanduillet and made a crucial block before the full time whistle was blown.
Orient registered a potentially massive result in the race for promotion and move back up to seventh in the table.
Oxford United: Buchel, Kenny, Mullins, Dunkley, Skarz, Maguire (O’Dowda 59), Lundstram, Sercombe, Roofe, Hylton (Waring 63), Bowery (MacDonald 81).
Unused substitutes: Slocombe, Ruffels, Ashby, Evans.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Baudry, Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy, McAnuff, Nolan, Atangana, Jahraldo-Martin (Gnanduillet 62, Essam 90), Simpson (Palmer 84).
Unused substitutes: Gregory, Payne, Turgott, Pritchard.
Attendance: 7,102 (788 Leyton Orient supporters).