Orient keep 100 per cent league record with victory against Rovers
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 2 Bristol Rovers 0
Leyton Orient maintained their 100 per cent record in League Two with a 2-0 win against Bristol Rovers at Brisbane Road.
Lloyd James opened the scoring midway through the first half from the penalty spot and Jay Simpson doubled that lead with a strike on the 250th appearance of his career just before the break.
Although the away side pushed to get one back in the second half, Ian Hendon team’s held firm and kept a third consecutive clean sheet at home.
Orient, for the fifth league game in successions, named the same starting team and Hendon once again resisted the temptation to select Blair Turgott or Ollie Palmer, despite both impressing off the substitutes bench in recent weeks.
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Alan Dunne was back among the O’s replacements, after missing the trip to Newport County through injury, and he was joined by Joe Maguire.
Maguire, 19, signed for the club yesterday (Friday) on an initial one-month youth loan and can play anywhere across the back four, but is predominantly a left-back.
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Sam Ling (tonsillitis) and Montel Agyemang dropped out of the match day squad for the visit of Rovers.
The visitors got the game underway and there was a stoppage after just two minutes when Lloyd James got caught, but he was fine to carry on.
It wasn’t until the ninth minute when either goalkeeper was test but Orient’s Alex Cisak was forced to make a fine save.
Rovers captain Chris Lines started the move by showing great composure inside his own half, he brought the ball forward and passed into Ellis Harrison.
The away forward, cut inside home captain Mathieu Baudry and fired towards goal, but Cisak got down to parry it wide for a corner.
Referee Darren Dryslade gave Bradley Pritchard a yellow card two minutes later despite the Zimbabwean appearing to do little wrong.
Although the visitors had made a decent start, neither side was dominating the game with 20 minutes played at Brisbane Road.
Two minutes later and the O’s were given the opportunity to take the lead when referee Dryslade pointed to the spot after Paul McCallum was pushed to the ground by Tyler Lyttle, who was making his debut for Rovers.
James stepped up and slotted into the net to score against his hometown side to give Hendon’s men a 23rd minute lead.
But just five minutes later and the Orient midfielder was complaining after being shown a yellow card. The encounter at Brisbane Road was turning into a fierce one with both sides very physical in the opening half an hour.
The first real quality of the half was displayed in the 41st minute when McCallum brilliantly chested the ball down for Pritchard. He passed into Dean Cox, but the midfielder’s cross was claimed by Rovers goalkeeper Aaron Chapman with Simpson in close proximity.
On the stroke of half time the away side nearly equalised when Cisak came for a cross and missed it. The ball dropped for Tom Lockyer, but Baudry blocked with his head.
Two minutes of stoppage time were added on at Brisbane Road and the O’s doubled their advantage with virtual the last kick of the half.
Cox’s crossfield pass was excellently controlled by Simpson, who had been quiet up until this point. The former Arsenal man left his marker on the ground, composed himself before finding the bottom corner.
It was a great finish and a great goal by Simpson, his fourth strike of the season, and even though Orient hadn’t been at their best, they had a comfortable lead at the interval.
Hendon was forced to bring off skipper Baudry at half time, though. The Frenchman went through a fitness test at the break, but couldn’t continue and Dunne replaced him.
Rovers made changes of their own, however, with former West Ham youngster and one-time Dagenham & Redbridge loanee Cristian Montano coming on alongside Jeffrey Monakana.
The O’s nearly added to their tally in the 51st minute when James picked out Simpson with a wonderful pass, but the Rovers goalkeeper Chapman was able to save by standing up tall and claiming the attempted lob.
Pritchard went close minutes later with a volley that was blocked before Simpson was once again thwarted by the away custodian.
The deficit was nearly reduced in the 55th minute when Rovers began to up the ante and put more pressure on the Orient goal.
First Simpson put in a heroic last ditch tackle on Lee Brown with the full back ready to shoot. Moments later and Cisak was forced to save an effort by Monakana with his feet.
But the hosts appeared to survive the storm and soon they came close to doubling their advantage at the other end.
A sloppy pass in midfield was picked up by Pritchard, he drove at the Rovers defence and passed into Simpson. He cut back and teed up Cox, but his effort was deflected over the bar.
Pritchard whizzed an effort wide of the post in the 64th minute too as Hendon’s side pushed to get the third, which would clinch the points.
A free kick by Rovers Brown went inches wide of Cisak’s post as the game edged towards the final 20 minutes.
Simpson left the field shortly afterwards, coming off to a standing ovation and being replaced by Palmer.
The game was beginning to peter out with the visitors struggling to break down the O’s defence and Dunne and Connor Essam looking strong.
Hendon slowed down the match by bringing on Turgott for Pritchard with 11 minutes remaining and the winger was straight into the action, closing people down and causing a nuisance.
A dangerous corner by Montano nearly helped Rovers pull one back, but James Clarke volleyed over the bar from close range.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added on but the threat of the away side had been snubbed out already and the full time whistle came to confirm the O’s status at the top of the table.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Shaw, Essam, Baudry (Dunne 46), Clohessy, James, Moore, Pritchard (Turgott 79), Cox, Simpson (Palmer 70), McCallum.
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Kashket, Maguire, Moncur.
Bristol Rovers: Chapman, Brown, Lockyer, Parkes, Clarke (Montano 46), Harrison, Lines, Clarke, Easter (Taylor 61), Sinclair, Lyttle (Monakana 46).
Unused substitutes: Mildenhall, Mansell, Gosling, Bodin.
Attendance: 5,777 (1,023 Bristol Rovers supporters).