Orient win Boxing Day cracker with Portsmouth
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 3 Portsmouth 2
Leyton Orient edged a brilliant five-goal thriller with Portsmouth at Brisbane Road to give their supporters a late Christmas present.
Jay Simpson scored the opener from the spot after the visitors had been reduced to 10 men to level it up in E10 after Pompey had taken an early lead.
Ollie Palmer took centre stage afterwards scoring twice for Ian Hendon’s men to put them 3-1 up - his first League Two goals since August.
But captain Mathieu Baudry had received his marching orders by this point to set up a tense finish.
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That only got worst when Portsmouth reduced the arrears with over 20 minutes remaining, but Orient held on to earn a first win since November 21.
The O’s made four changes from the team that started against Yeovil Town last weekend as Connor Essam made his return from injury.
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Essam played in a friendly at Bishop’s Stortford during the week and was back involved for the visit of Pompey.
Palmer and Jobi McAnuff, after impressing off the bench last time out, started with Sean Clohessy fully recovered from illness.
Lloyd James missed out completely with an ankle injury, but Jack Payne was surprisingly available despite being stretched off last Saturday.
Blair Turgott and Scott Kashket dropped to the bench with Frazer Shaw and they were joined by John Marquis, back fit again after struggling with a knee injury of late.
Hendon’s team lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with Clohessy playing right midfield and captain Baudry behind him.
Jean-Yves M’voto and Essam were in the centre of defence with Cole Kpekawa at left-back as Portsmouth got the match underway.
Essam was immediately into the action, passing back to Alex Cisak, but leaving it short for the Orient number one.
Fortunately the Australian was able to boot the ball clear under pressure, but with four minutes played things were even worst for the hosts.
Kyle Bennnett played a wicked ball into the box, Pompey’s Gareth Evans got a slight touch and then Essam deflected it into the net giving Cisak no chance.
It was not the start the O’s would have wanted, but the home fans immediately started urging their team on.
Orient responded when Clohessy’s ball into the box was met by Simpson, but he hooked over the crossbar with five minutes gone.
The chances continued coming for the visitors, though, as three minutes later and Cisak was called into action again.
Bennett was picked out inside the box and unleashed a fierce drive that the Aussie did well to parry.
It came to Caolan Lavery, around eight-yards-out, and his header was excellently tipped around the post by Orient’s number one.
Hendon’s men continued to try and respond, however, and good play between Bradley Pritchard, Clohessy and Baudry created a chance.
The skipper got in down the right, had the ball inside the penalty box, but his cross went out of play.
It offered an encouraging sign for the O’s, who were playing Clohessy at right midfield for the first time this season.
And in the 22nd minute at Brisbane Road, Orient were given a late Christmas present by the away team.
Danny Hollands’ back pass took a slight deflection and looped up in the air, Jobi McAnuff followed it in and got himself on the wrong side of Adam Webster.
The Portsmouth defender tried to head the ball back to his goalkeeper, but could only bring the Jamaican international down inside the are and give away a penalty.
McAnuff used all his experience to get in a great position and referee Graham Horwood showed a red card to Webster.
Simpson stepped up and rifled the ball past Brian Murphy in the Pompey goal to score his 17th of the season and lift the hosts.
The visitors made a change afterwards with Marc McNulty making way to be replaced by Adam Barton.
Orient were in the ascendancy now and really looking in the mood with Simpson linking up smartly with McAnuff, before the Jamaican had a shot tipped wide of goal.
Hendon’s men carried on creating opportunities with Palmer heading the ball down for the O’s top goalscorer inside the Portsmouth penalty area.
Just as Simpson was about to shoot it appeared that Barton dragged him to the floor, but a second spot-kick wasn’t awarded.
Palmer was having a good game and he was involved again eight minutes before half time controlling Baudry’s pass.
The big forward turned marker Hollands brilliantly before shooting at goal, but his tame effort was easily saved by Murphy.
Once again it offered an encouraging sign for the O’s as the former Mansfield Town striker was winning his individual battles and having a big influence on the encounter.
A free kick by Kpekawa caused problems in the Portsmouth box a minute before the interval, but a foul was given against Palmer.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added on at Brisbane Road and in the first of them the O’s took the lead.
Kpekawa’s long ball didn’t appear to be too dangerous, but Palmer again made a nuisance of himself and managed to flick it past Murphy and into the corner.
It was nothing more than the big forward deserved and gave him just his second league goal of the season and first since August.
The half time whistle shortly followed and the O’s left the pitch to cheers and applauses – against Yeovil last weekend it had been boos, but what a difference a week makes!
Orient started the second period and after six minutes were reduced to 10 men when Baudry was sent off.
The home skipper reacted to a challenge on him by raising his fist and catching Portsmouth captain Michael Doyle.
It left referee Horwood with no choice but to dismiss the French defender and give the visitors some hope.
But from the resulting free kick, Clohessy’s ball into the box found Palmer and the forward headed into the corner to spark wild celebrations.
Palmer wheeled off with all the Orient players following him before embracing with Hendon on the touchline.
The visitors nearly reduced the arrears on the hour mark when Ben Davies’ corner was met by Evans, but Cisak clawed his header away from the top corner and it remained 3-1 to the hosts.
Portsmouth were looking to get back in the game and enjoying lots of possession and did pull one back in the 66th minute.
Bennett played a wonderful through ball, Evans ran off Essam before slotting past Cisak, who didn’t come off his line quick enough.
The Pompey fans were in fine voice, but were nearly silenced when Simpson latched onto a poor pass with 70 minutes played.
Orient’s top goalscorer skipped past two challenges and tried to get into the box, but was finally halted in his tracks.
A minute later and Portsmouth again piled the pressure on, the ball eventually came to Davies, but his drive from inside the area was excellently tipped away from goal by Cisak.
He was involved again two minutes later as Davies caused more problems, crossing into the box and Cisak parried away from goal.
The ball fell to Evans but the Portsmouth midfielder fired over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
It was a big let off for the O’s and Shaw was introduced shortly afterwards, replacing Simpson and going to left-midfield.
Hendon’s men were continuing to work hard and Palmer after running himself into the ground was replaced with eight minutes remaining by Marquis.
McAnuff, like Palmer, left the pitch to a standing ovation with two minutes remaining as Turgott took his place.
Cisak needed to be called upon again, but he comfortably held Davies free kick as the seconds ticked away at Brisbane Road.
Unfortunately seven minutes of stoppage time were added on with Orient desperate to get a first win since November 21.
The O’s supporters were nearly celebrating in the second minute as Marquis latched onto a poor back pass.
He rounded Portsmouth goalkeeper Murphy, but the away custodian managed to deflect Marquis’ effort onto the post.
The ball came back to the Millwall loanee and Doyle somehow blocked his second shot on the line.
Portsmouth nearly made the hosts pay for that in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Evans was picked out in the box, but his low shot was brilliantly saved by Cisak.
In the end it was enough as the O’s earned all three points following a fantastic display.
President Francesco Becchetti was a happy man at full time as he came onto the pitch to celebrate before waving to supporters.
The win for Orient moves them up to eighth in the League Two table ahead of Monday’s clash at Bristol Rovers.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Baudry, M’voto, Essam, Kpekawa, Clohessy, Payne, Pritchard, McAnuff (Turgott 88), Palmer (Marquis 82), Simpson (Shaw 73).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Dunne, Kashket, Moncur.
Portsmouth: Murphy, Davies, Webster, Clarke, Stevens, Hollands (Roberts 87), Doyle, Evans, McNulty (Barton 24), Bennett (Chaplin 87), Lavery.
Unused substitutes: Bass, Close, Tollitt, McGurk.
Attendance: 5,848 (1,316 Portsmouth supporters).