Simpson hits late penalty to earn O’s more success under Nolan
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 1 Newport County 0
Kevin Nolan’s winning start to life as Leyton Orient player-manager continued, but only after a scrappy 1-0 success against Newport County.
The 33-year-old had to wait until the 85th minute to see his team take the lead when he played a part as they won a late penalty.
Jay Simpson stepped up to score his 22nd goal of the campaign and earn the Brisbane Road outfit back-to-back victories in League Two.
Nolan named an unchanged side from the team that won 2-0 at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
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He was forced to make an altercation to his substitute’s bench with young Aron Pollock coming in with Cole Kpekawa and Alan Dunne out injured.
The O’s won the earlier meeting 3-2 back in August, but that was under the management of Ian Hendon and when Terry Butcher was in charge of the visitors.
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Orient got proceedings underway and immediately looked to pass the ball around in midfield.
Watching from the stands was West Ham forward Andy Carroll and he saw the hosts nearly create a good chance in the third minute.
Jobi McAnuff beat his marker down the left and crossed into the middle, but Ollie Palmer couldn’t connect and the opportunity was gone.
Another cross from McAnuff, this time from a free kick, caused more problems for the Exiles in the ninth minute.
Newport failed to clear the set piece properly and the ball dropped nicely for Calaum Jahraldo-Martin just inside the box, but his low effort was blocked.
The visitors began to grow into the match afterwards and kept possession well despite the O’s pressing them.
A good cross by Yan Klukowski caused brief problems for Nolan’s men, but first Mathieu Baudry and then Connor Essam headed away the danger.
Orient then broke quickly in the 19th minute when Jack Payne and Simpson won the ball in midfield.
McAnuff broke, cut inside his marker before he was upended outside the box by Klukowski, who received a booking for the foul.
Simpson stepped up to take the set piece, but his effort hit the wall before going behind for a corner, which the visitors defended well.
Five minutes later and Nigel Atangana imposed himself on the encounter by winning possession in midfield before trying to find McAnuff.
His first pass was blocked, but his second found the Jamaican international and his centre was just inches away from Simpson.
The first opportunity was created until the 28th minute when McAnuff won the ball back after initially giving it away.
Simpson carried it forward towards the Newport defence and could have passed to McAnuff or Jahraldo-Martin.
But League Two’s top goalscorer went for it along and forced Mitchell Beeney to parry his effort before the away side managed to clear.
It was the best piece of play by the hosts in the opening half an hour and was a result of them pressing high up the pitch.
The Exiles began to control possession afterwards and were ending the half strongest until Orient nearly took the lead in the 40th minute.
Sean Clohessy whipped a wonderful cross into the penalty area and Simpson was waiting to tap home, but Newport defender Andrew Hughes got the slightest of touches and the visitors were able to clear.
Two minutes later and Ollie Palmer passed into Jahraldo-Martin, he cut inside and curled an effort towards goal, but it went just over the crossbar.
During one minute of stoppage time the away side created one final opportunity and they would have been wondering how they didn’t go into the break ahead.
A dangerous ball into the box dropped nicely for Conor Wilkinson and he lashed an effort towards goal.
O’s goalkeeper Alex Cisak brilliantly tipped his strike over the crossbar, though, to ensure it remained goalless at half time.
Nolan’s men began the second period brightly and McAnuff feed Simpson in the 47th minute, but his curled effort went just wide of the post.
It wasn’t a sign of things to come, however, as the game mirrored the first half with little quality on display from either side with an hour played at Brisbane Road.
In the 68th minute new signing Armand Gnanduillet was introduced and the O’s fans were cheering loudly when Nolan began to warm up on the touchline.
A minute after coming on, Gnanduillet was played in by Jahraldo-Martin, but he could only fire just wide of goal.
But Newport were constantly looking a threat and Wilkinson curled over the bar with 20 minutes remaining before the hosts started to up the ante.
Chances continued to evade both teams and with 10 minutes remaining, Orient’s player-manager had seen enough.
Nolan substituted himself on to huge applause from the home fans and three minutes later made his impact felt.
He crossed into the box and McAnuff was pushed to the ground, which convinced referee Andy Davies to point to the spot.
It was a soft penalty but the hosts weren’t complaining and Nolan picked the ball up and gave it straight to Simpson.
After missing two spot-kicks in his last match at Brisbane Road, the O’s top goalscorer could be forgiven for feeling nervous.
But he stepped up and sent Beeney the wrong way to give Orient the lead with five minutes remaining.
Four minutes of stoppage time were added on as the east Londoners eyed up back-to-back wins for the first time since August.
And they managed to hold on to keep consecutive clean sheets under their new manager and move up to sixth in the table.
The O’s also completed a first double over a club of the season to continue their successful start to life under Nolan.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry, Essam, Shaw, Jahraldo-Martin (Nolan 80), Payne, Atangana, McAnuff, Palmer (Gnanduillet 68), Simpson (Pritchard 90).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Turgott, Kashket, Pollock.
Newport County: Beeney, Holmes, Jones, Davies, Elito, Klukowski (Ayina 54), Wilkinson (Boden 77), Hughes, Rodman, Smalley, Byrne.
Unused substitutes: Green, Barrow, Taylor, Owens-Evans, Dymond.
Attendance: 4,209 (154 Newport County supporters).