Paul McCallum brace inspires routine English Football League Trophy win for Leyton Orient against Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
English Football League Trophy Southern Group G: Leyton Orient 3 Stevenage 1
Leyton Orient earned another comprehensive victory over Stevenage after Paul McCallum hit a brace to seal a 3-1 success in Southern Group G of the English Football League Trophy.
The three points for Andy Hessenthaler’s team moved them top of the table with Southend United beating Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s 2-0 in the other fixture in Group G.
Harry Cornick delivered a sensational performance at Brisbane Road to help give the O’s a confidence boost ahead of Saturday’s trip to League Two leaders Morecambe.
Orient made six changes to the team that started against Mansfield Town at the weekend.
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Sam Sargeant, Aron Pollock, Callum Kennedy and McCallum all made their second starts of the campaign.
Jordan Bowery and captain Robbie Weir were brought in for their third starts of the season.
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Yvan Erichot, Gavin Massey and Dean Cox missed out completely while Alex Cisak, Liam Kelly and Ollie Palmer dropped to the bench.
Again there was no Jay Simpson but Hessenthaler’s starting XI offered plenty of positives not least Sandro Semedo being given a chance to play in his usual left midfield role.
Pollock was alongside Tom Parkes this time having partnered Erichot in his prevous start while Kennedy was given an opportunity to impress.
Jamie Jones, after a horror display in E10 two weeks ago as O’s won 3-0 against Boro, was in goal again for Stevenage.
The visitors created the first chance of note in the fourth minute when Jake Hyde controlled in the box, but could only fire straight at Sargeant.
It was a slow start at Brisbane Road, however, although Orient did produce some good play in the 12th minute.
Weir was imposing himself on the match early on and started a move which ended with Semedo coming inside and testing the palms of Jones.
A minute later and Hessenthaler’s team were given a man advantage when Dean Wells was sent off.
The Boro midfielder jumped with McCallum and caught the O’s striker with an elbow which referee Gavin Ward deemed to be deliberate.
With a numerical advantage, Orient began to dominate in east London and created chance after chance.
First Semedo tested Jones again in the 17th minute before Bowery was played through, but the Stevenage custodian saved well.
Less than 60 seconds later and Cornick embarked on a mazy run and created another opportunity.
Bowery was played in again, although this a tighter angle, and once more Jones blocked his effort.
After the flurry of chances in quick succession, it was Stevenage who created the next moment of note when Hyde pinched the ball off Nigel Atangana and fired goalwards, but Sargeant comfortably gathered.
Hessenthaler’s team hit back, however, when Kennedy’s long ball was midjudged by Charlie Lee and controlled by Cornick.
The AFC Bournemouth loanee brought it down and tried to beat Jones from the tightest of angles and did, but unfortunately his strike hit the post just past the half an hour mark.
Just two minutes later and Orient were threatening again and this time they managed to find a way past Jones.
McCallum and Cornick linked up on the right before the latter took his time and crossed into the box.
Bowery controlled neatly, tapped back for McCallum and the O’s forward smashed home the opening goal of the game.
Five minutes before half time and Cornick nearly produced a majestic goal to double the hosts lead.
The winger picked the ball up on the right, glided past one opponent before ghosting past another.
After tapping past a third, Cornick curled towards the top corner from 20-yards and narrowly past the post.
Orient were brimming with confidence and McCallum was the next to try the spectacular as he attempted an overhead kick from Nicky Hunt’s centre, but fired over the crossbar in the 42nd minute.
Cornick let fly again in the second minute of stoppage time and was thwarted by Jones as it remained only 1-0 at half time despite the east Londoners producing some wonderful football at times.
Kelly was introduced in place of Atangana after the break and received a caution inside the opening minute for dissent following a foul.
The second period began slowly but the 876 fans in attendance witnessed a lovely move in the 54th minute.
Kennedy sprayed a superb ball out to Cornick on the right and he got the better of Andrew Fox before standing up a cross to the back post.
Semedo ran in and met it on the volley with his strike taking a slight deflection and beating Jones.
It was the Portuguese youngsters first goal for the club and an impressive effort to open his O’s tally.
But Stevenage hit back just four minutes later when Harry Cowans floated free kick caught out Sargeant and Fraser Franks headed into the empty net.
Suddenly it was game on and the Hertfordshire club, despite being down to 10 men, had their tails up.
It wasn’t a sign of things to come, however, as with 20 minutes remaining Orient restored their two-goal lead.
Bowery controlled a long ball forward, passed into Cornick’s path and the winger again dribbled past his opponent.
After getting his head up, the AFC Bournemouth loanee squared for McCallum to slide in his second of the night.
Once more it was brilliant wing play by Cornick and another reminder of McCallum ability in front of goal.
Bowery made way four minutes later with teenage forward Sam Dalby replacing him up front and making his debut.
Cornick made way with 12 minutes remaining and left the Brisbane Road pitch to a standing ovation after a vintage display.
Josh Koroma was brought on in place of the AFC Bournemouth loanee – in the process playing for the first time this season.
He was straight into the action, twisting and turning his way into the box before having an effort blocked by a defender.
Three minutes of additional time were added on, but Orient were unable to add to their tally and had to settle for a 3-1 triumph.
Although the English Football League Trophy has received a large amount of criticism, it enabled O’s to get back to winning ways and allowed various members of Hessenthaler’s squad a chance to show why they should be including in the starting XI for Saturday’s clash at Morecambe.
Leyton Orient: Sargeant, Hunt, Pollock, Parkes, Kennedy, Cornick (Koroma 78), Atangana (Kelly 46), Weir, Semedo, McCallum, Bowery (Dalby 74).
Unused substitutes: Cisak, Palmer, Moncur, Alzate.
Stevenage: Jones, Henry (Kerr 77), Wells, Franks, Fox, Pett, Lee, King, Cowans, Hyde (Hunte 58), Godden (Liburd 69).
Unused substitutes: Day, Schumacher, Tongue, McKee.
Attendance: 876 (47 Stevenage supporters).