More home woes for Nolan’s men as Hartlepool take the points

Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 0 Hartlepool United 2

Leyton Orient’s hopes of finishing in the League Two play-offs took a massive hit after losing at home to Hartlepool United this afternoon.

The O’s welcomed the Monkey Hangers hoping to get back to winning ways after suffering a 1-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley on Good Friday.

But after a goalless first half, the visitors scored two impressive goals and eventually earned a routine win at Brisbane Road.

It is a big blow for Kevin Nolan and his team with the loss seeing them remain in eighth, but lose ground on the chasing pack.

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Jack Payne started for the first time since the 2-2 draw at Carisle United on March 1 taking the place of Sammy Moore.

He dropped to the bench while Shaun Brisley missed out all together injury and Ollie Palmer replaced him.

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It resulted in the O’s reverting to the diamond formation that was so successful at the start of the campaign under previous head coach Ian Hendon.

Sean Clohessy went to right-back with Nicky Hunt moving into the centre of defence alongside Peter Ramage.

Nigel Atangana was the deepest out of the four midfielders with Payne and Nolan further forward and Jay Simpson just behind Palmer and Armand Gnanduillet.

On the substitutes bench for the hosts was first year scholar Josh Komora, who has impressed for the academy this season.

A mistake by Nicky Featherstone created the first opportunity of the match for the east Londoners in the fourth minute.

The Pools midfielders pass was intercepted by Palmer, around 25-yards-out. He brought it down and looked to find his strike partner.

He passed into Gnanduillet’s path, but the Frenchmen could only deflect the ball over the crossbar from outside the area.

But the visitors responded when Nathan Thomas’ swung a free kick to the back post, but Adam Jackson could only send his header well wide.

It had been an open start to proceedings at Brisbane Road with both sides keen to attack and Pools won four corners in quick succession with 17 minutes played.

Orient were able to defend them all, however, and survive the danger, but the Monkey Hangers weren’t going to go down without a fight in east London.

Gnanduillet and Nolan linked up well midway through the half when the French forward brought the ball down just outside the area.

He traded passes with the O’s boss before curling an effort towards goal, but away custodian Trevor Carson saved with ease.

The hosts took confidence from that and began to pile the pressure on with Jerome Binnom-Williams crossing in for Gnanduillet, but he headed over.

It was a decent chance and in the 28th minute Palmer beat his man before running into the box and seeing a low drive deflected wide.

Payne’s set piece was cleared out to Atangana and his strike took a touch before going behind for another corner.

Even though that was cleared, the chances kept on coming as Simpson had a volley blocked before more good play by the hosts.

Payne played a lovely ball into Clohessy and his cross was headed to the back post where Nolan could only scuff his close range effort and Carson saved.

It was a good opportunity for Orient to take the lead and the game settled down again afterwards with Hartlepool’s Jackson having another header, but Cisak was able to easily save.

The visitors thought they had taken the lead two minutes before half time when Jake Carroll swung a free kick into the box.

Billy Paynter met the cross and thundered a header past Cisak and into the net, but fortunately for the hosts the offside flag was up.

One minute of stoppage time was added on at the end of the 45, but it went by without anything of note and it remained goalless at the break.

Palmer nearly got through on goal in the 47th minute, but fell to the ground just as he got inside the box and despite wanting a penalty – his appeals were correctly waved away by referee Nick Graham.

And then two minutes later things got even worst for the O’s as the visitors took the lead at Brisbane Road.

Jake Carroll burst forward on the left and did well to get into the penalty box and cross towards the back post. Waiting, ready to pounce, was Paynter and this time he wasn’t to be denied.

The forward slide the ball in and suddenly Nolan’s men were facing the prospect of back-to-back defeats at a critical time of the campaign.

Just past the hour mark the coaching team of Andy Hessenthaler, Andy Edwards and Lee Harrison had seen enough as they made a double substitution.

Blair Turgott and Frazer Shaw were introduced in place of Gnanduillet and Nolan departing. Some O’s fans sarcastically cheered their player-manager leaving the field.

Shaw went to left-back with Bimmom-Williams pushed further up the pitch and Blair Turgott went to the right as Orient lined up in a tradition 4-4-2.

But things went from bad to worst in the 69th minute following a lovely piece of skill from Pools winger Thomas.

He collected the ball on the left, faced up Shaw and went past him with ease before composing himself and smashing past Cisak to make it 2-0.

Some home fans decided to leave after that goal, but the Brisbane Road outfit nearly reduced the arrears 17 minutes from time.

Palmer knocked the ball down for strike partner Simpson, he work a yard of space, but Matthew Bates excellently blocked his effort.

A minute later and it was nearly 3-0 when Lewis Hawkins left fly from 30-yards, but Cisak scrambled to his left and made a superb diving stop.

Lloyd James replaced Payne with 15 minutes remaining and he had an immediate impact as his dangerous cross just evaded Palmer.

Moments later and a corner from James found the head of Turgott, but Featherstone blocked it on the line with what looked like a hand.

A second set piece was won following that incident and the ball eventually fell for Binnom-Williams. His powerful header, however, was excellently tipped away from goal by Hartlepool custodian Carson.

Orient looked to find a way back in the game and Clohessy did well with four minutes left, but his shot was deflected and easy for the away goalkeeper.

Simpson then turned smartly inside the area and volleyed towards goal, but once more Carson was equal to the task and it remained 2-0 with just minutes left.

The fourth official signalled that four minutes of stoppage time would be added on and Pools substitute Michael Woods should have made it three.

He ran through on goal and got past Ramage, but Cisak was able to block well and even though Simpson side footed wide minutes later the full time whistle shortly followed.

It was another poor result at Brisbane Road and Wycombe, in seventh, are now two points ahead of them prior to next weekend’s trip to York City.

Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Hunt, Ramage, Binnom-Williams, Atangana, Nolan (Shaw 61), Payne (James 75), Simpson, Gnanduillet (Turgott 61), Palmer.

Unused substitutes: Gregory, Moore, Pollock, Koroma.

Hartlepool United: Carson, Magnay, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Featherstone, Hawkins (Woods 76), Gray (Walker 83), James (Bingham 87), Paynter, Thomas.

Unused substitutes: Bartlett, Oates, Richards, Jones.

Attendance: 5,543 (359 Hartlepool United supporters).

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