Simpson scores again as Nolan wins first game as Orient boss
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Leyton Orient 2
Leyton Orient started life under Kevin Nolan with an excellent win as two second half goals earned them all three points at Wycombe Wanderers.
The O’s defended excellently in the first 45 at Adams Park and attacked with great intent after the break.
Jay Simpson scored his 21st goal of the campaign before Calaum Jahraldo-Martin added a stunning second to seal the points.
Nolan named himself among the replacements at Adams Park alongside new forward Armand Gnanduillet.
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Nigel Atangana, after signing from Portsmouth during the week, was straight in the team as the O’s made four changes from the side beaten by Exeter City.
Jean-Yves M’voto has departed the club and captain Mathieu Baudry was back in the centre of defence after his suspension.
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Queens Park Rangers defender Cole Kpekawa was on the bench as Frazer Shaw came in and took his place.
While Jahraldo-Martin made his first start for Orient with Blair Turgott and Bradley Pritchard – two starters last weekend – among the replacements.
Sammy Moore was left out of the squad as the east Londoners went with a flat 4-4-2 formation against the Chairboys.
It was the hosts who began strongly with Garry Thompson hitting a free kick over the crossbar with three minutes played at Adams Park.
Sam Wood then had a shot deflected wide before Anthony Stewart headed a corner wide with quarter of an hour played.
The away fans had been in fine voice up to this point as the O’s defended well in the opening exchanges of the match.
Jahraldo-Martin was causing Joe Jacobson problems down the right and the Hull City winger was brought down in the 20th minute.
But Jobi McAnuff’s set piece came to nothing. It did boost the visitors and they passed the ball around with confidence moments later.
Atangana played it out wide to Shaw and his delivery found Ollie Palmer at the back post, but Wycombe were able to clear his dangerous knock down.
Nolan had been very animated on the touchline, questioning the fourth official about any decisions not given the way of his team.
In the 26th minute Simpson chased a long ball into the box, the home custodian Alex Lynch managed to gather it eventually, but only after Orient’s top goalscorer appeared to get a shove.
No penalty was given, however, despite calls from the away fans and their player-manager on the touchline.
The best opportunity of the half for the visitors came 10 minutes before the break when Palmer won a free kick.
McAnuff swung it into the Wycombe box and O’s number nine headed it towards goal, but it went well wide of the target.
Chairboys manager Gareth Ainsworth was furious two minutes later when Luke O’Nien controlled Paul Hayes’ knock down inside the penalty area.
Just as O’Nien was about to shoot, Atangana managed to poke the ball away and make what appeared an excellent tackle.
Referee Darren Bond agreed as well but the Wycombe boss was furious on the touchline and it added to the atmosphere inside Adams Park.
The home fans were appealing for everything, but the O’s supporters hit back too – much to the amusement of both managers.
Both sets of supporters started chanting ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ at Bond afterwards.
A nice move involving Jack Payne and Shaw released Jahraldo-Martin into the box and he forced Lynch to tip over the crossbar.
But a goal kick was given by referee Bond and the Orient fans voiced their frustration towards the man in the middle.
Nolan’s men were starting to look more threatening and McAnuff put a dangerous ball into the box before the half time whistle was blown.
It was a first 45 to forget for most in terms of chances, but the O’s had looked a lot more solid with Atangana impressing.
The east Londoners began the second period excellently and nearly went ahead inside the first two minutes.
Palmer knocked down McAnuff’s threatening cross and Simpson chested the ball down before seeing his close range volley blocked.
It gave Orient real impetus and they piled the pressure on Wycombe at the start of the half.
Ainsworth’s men were pinned back and couldn’t get out of their penalty area for a good minute before Simpson sliced an effort wide.
Nolan’s team didn’t let up there, though, as Palmer won a free kick near the corner flag and another McAnuff delivery caused panic in the home box.
They defended it again well, however, and it remained goalless with 10 minutes of the second half played.
Orient had enjoyed the better of proceedings after the break and in the 64th minute deservedly took the lead.
Simpson was the man to score the first goal of Nolan’s reign and his 21st of the campaign for the O’s.
A long free kick into the Wycombe box was won by Baudry, Simpson controlled and fired into the corner to spark jubilant celebrations.
League Two top goalscorer pulled out the chicken dance to mark his goal and surely the new Orient player-manager would have approved.
The hosts did immediately look to respond, but the east Londoners defended strongly and managed to clear the danger.
Atangana pulled up minutes later and was forced off in the 71st minute with Pritchard coming on to replace him.
When Pritchard went down after a challenge from Sido Jombati, the O’s supporters were calling for their player-manager to make his debut.
But he resisted the urge as the game entered its final 10 minutes with Gnanduillet replacing Palmer to make his first appearance for his new club.
Wycombe began to pile the pressure on and Pritchard cleared Aaron Pierre’s header away from goal with seven minutes remaining at Adams Park.
Jacobson had a great chance four minutes later, but fired well over the crossbar as the seconds ticked away.
With one minute remaining the O’s sealed the points, however, with a wonderfully worked goal.
Jahraldo-Martin controlled the ball near the halfway line, waiting for Simpson to make a run before playing in the forward.
The Hull City man then pealed off and made an excellent run, which Orient’s top goalscorer spotted.
Simpson played the ball inside and Jahraldo-Martin showed wonderful composure to poke into the corner and virtually confirm the points.
Nolan’s men nearly made it three just as five minutes of stoppage time was added on when McAnuff controlled a loose ball and raced down the wing.
He cut back for new man Gnanduillet and his effort was deflected wide – it failed to dampen the spirits of the away supporters.
They were in fine spirits and urging their team on as most Wycombe fans headed for the exit door.
Referee Bond flew for full time shortly afterwards to confirm a first win for Orient in the division since Boxing Day and a first clean sheet in League Two since October 24.
Nolan begins life with a victory and his side looked very impressive against a team expected to make the play-offs come the end of the season.
Wycombe Wanderers: Lynch, Jombati, Pierre, Stewart, Jacobson, Wood, McCarthy, O’Nein, Harriman (Udumaga 83), Hayes (Cowan-Hall 57), Thompson (Ugwu 71).
Unused substitutes: Richardson, McGinn, Bean, Kretzschmar.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry, Essam, Shaw, Jahraldo-Martin, Payne, Atangana (Pritchard 71), McAnuff, Simpson, Palmer (Gnanduillet 80).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Turgott, Kashket, Kpekawa, Nolan.
Attendance: 4,432 (805 Leyton Orient supporters).