Orient’s relegation worries deepen after suffering Dons drubbing

O's captain Nathan Clarke (pic: Simon O'Connor)

O's captain Nathan Clarke (pic: Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Sky Bet League One: MK Dons 6 Leyton Orient 1

Leyton Orient conceded four times in 15 first half minutes to fall to the same fate as Manchester United did in August and suffer a thrashing at the hands of MK Dons.

The hosts ran riot after a quiet opening 22 minutes with Rob Hall the star of the show – helping himself to a hat-trick.

Jay Simpson pulled one back for Fabio Liverani’s side, but this heavy defeat pilled more misery on the Brisbane Road club and relegation seems all the more likely now.

Liverani once again made changes to his team and surprisingly handed a start to Simpson, with Darius Henderson ruled out with a hamstring injury.


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It was the first time Simpson had started under the Italian, and his first for the club since the 3-2 defeat against Gillingham on November 15 – Mauro Milanese’s last in charge of Orient.

Reading’s on-loan midfielder Jake Taylor was also recalled alongside Shane Lowry and Lloyd James.

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Andrea Dossena missed out with a hamstring injury, whilst Ryan Hedges and Josh Wright dropped to the bench.

O’s kicked off, but Simpson was disposed immediately and Dons attacked through Hall, and he tested Alex Cisak with a low drive after just 16 seconds.

That wasn’t a sign of things to come, though, as neither side was able to build up ahead of steam and it was a quiet start to proceedings at Stadium mk.

Mathieu Baudry made an excellent challenge on Will Grigg with 15 minutes on the clock after he dribbled past Scott Cuthbert and into the box, but the pace of the match had been slow.

That all changed in the 22nd minute and unfortunately, from Orient’s point of view, MK Dons wouldn’t look back from this point onwards.

Hall and Dele Alli traded passes before Grigg received the ball in the box, and had all the time in the world to slot across goal for Dean Bowditch to fire into the roof of the net and finish off an excellent team move.

O’s needed to regroup quickly, but they didn’t and conceded again two minutes later as panic took over.

Hall controlled the ball on the right and put the ball into the box, Grigg dummied the cross, and it fooled Cisak and rolled into the net.

Orient players called for offside, and Grigg did seem in an offside position, but they were waved away and Liverani’s team found themselves two goals down.

Worse, unfortunately, was to come. As in the 29th minute Alli displayed lightening quick feet inside the box and a combination of Chris Dagnall and Jobi McAnuff brought the MK Dons midfielder down.

Referee Christopher Kavanagh had no hesitation about pointing to the spot and awarded the home team a penalty. Grigg stepped up and sent Cisak the wrong way to make it 3-0 to the hosts.

It had been disastrous seven-minutes for the O’s, who had looked equal to the Dons before they conceded the first.

It was one-way traffic now and Karl Robinson’s team had all the momentum going their way. Confidence was sky high and their fourth goal reflected that.

Hall passed into Bowditch, who tried to flick the ball around the corner to Grigg. That pass was blocked, but the ball bounced up and Hall lashed it home from 25-yards-out to give Cisak no chance.

The volley from Hall took a slight deflection, but it was a stunning strike and Orient found themselves four goals behind with 53 minutes remaining.

Simpson did have an opportunity two minutes before MK Dons scored their fourth, but he could only fire straight at David Martin after Marvin Bartley’s smart pass.

It was now a case of O’s trying to make the best out of a horrible situation and they were at least able to prevent any further damage before half time.

Boos rung out from the away supporters and Liverani responded by introducing Shaun Batt for Taylor at the interval.

It was nearly an inspired change as McAnuff attacked from the right and forced Dons keeper Martin to parry his effort. It came to Batt at the back post, but his shot was weak and the home stopper easily gathered.

The visitors looked to reduce the arrears and they nearly did 10 minutes into the second period through Simpson.

Firstly James, Nathan Clarke and Baudry passed the ball around well in midfield before Simpson got the ball in the centre circle.

He brought it forward and ran towards the MK Dons defence, he twisted and turned his marker before working a shooting opportunity. However he could only curl past the post.

It was a brief moment of respite for O’s, but Robinson’s team soon got back into their stride and Hall was proving to be a constant threat.

Shortly afterwards Hall, the former West Ham United youngster, curled past Cisak from the edge of the area after Lewis Baker’s lay-off to make it 5-0.

It completed his hat-trick and the man on-loan from Bolton Wanderers had literally been a threat since the first whistle.

Orient’s goal difference, which had always seemed like being their saving grace, was suddenly not looking great.

Gianvito Plasmati entered the field just past the hour mark and immediately had an opportunity following a corner by James. The Italian, however, could only head straight at Martin from close range.

O’s did manage to get on the scoresheet, though, when Simpson scored his eighth goal for the Brisbane Road club.

Batt ran at the Dons defence before passing through to Simpson, he cut inside and lashed into the top corner to give Orient’s travelling faithful something to cheer about.

In good humour they changed ‘we want two’ shortly afterwards, which was soon following by the home supporters calling for six.

Ryan Hedges was introduced soon afterwards, and the hosts nearly got number six in the 73rd minute when Baker was given too much time on the ball and he fired towards goal, fortunately it smashed off the post and O’s were able to clear.

In the 81st minute MK Dons did give their fans a sixth goal and it was another wonderful strike.

Ali controlled a pass on the edge of the area following a corner, and easily shifted past Plasmati before curling into the corner via the post.

Baker nearly made it seven a minute from time when once again he was afforded too much space, but luckily Cisak tipped his curling strike over the bar.

Four minutes of stoppage time was added on at Stadium mk, but most of Orient’s 905 supporters had departed already.

Fortunately no seventh goal was forthcoming for the home side, but when referee Kavanagh blew for full time it concluded a truly abysmal day for O’s.

The loss sees them drop into the bottom four and they trail Crewe in 20th by two points ahead of Tuesday’s fixture at Rochdale – a game which they realistically need to win.

MK Dons: Martin, Lewington, McFadzean, Kay, Potter (Cole 64), Bowditch (C Baker 78), Grigg (Hitchcock 64), Spence, Alli, L Baker, Hall.

Used substitutes: Burns, Hodson, Green, Powell.

Leyton Orient: Cisak, Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Lowry, Taylor (Batt 46), Bartley, James, McAnuff (Hedges 70), Dagnall (Plasmati 61), Simpson.

Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Omozusi, Mooney, Wright.

Attendance: 10,137 (905 Leyton Orient supporters).

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