Simpson scores twice to help Orient win and relegate Daggers
- Credit: Simon O'Connor /LOFC/TGS Photo
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 2
Jay Simpson scored twice to help Leyton Orient end a turbulent week with three points against rivals Dagenham & Redbridge.
The hosts lead 2-0 at half time but the visitors fought back and scored twice within the space of a minute.
But Armand Gnanduillet hit the winner and despite chances for both sides, it finished 3-2 to O’s.
Mathieu Baudry returned to the Orient starting team to face his old club and replaced Peter Ramage, who was among the substitutes.
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The Coventry City man had his loan extended until the end of the season earlier in the afternoon, but had to settle for a place on the bench.
Blair Turgott and Gnanduillet were included in the side as well with Kevin Nolan officially ruled out through injury.
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Calaum Jahraldo-Martin was on the bench with Sean Clohessy taking his starting place and Ollie Palmer was harshly among the replacements.
The forward was probably the only person to impress at Barnet last weekend, but was surprisingly dropped.
Alongside him was Scott Kashket, back from his loan at Welling United, and fellow youngsters Josh Koroma and goalkeeper Sam Sargeant.
In the Daggers team was former O’s striker Jamie Cureton, who scored in reverse meeting at Victoria Road – which finished 3-1 to Orient.
The hosts got the game underway and some supporters in the South Stand were chanting ‘Kevin Nolan’s Red and White Army’.
It wasn’t long before those same fans were celebrating the opening goal as Simpson ended his drought.
Orient’s top goalscorer hadn’t found the net since the away match at Carlisle United on March 1 – seven games without a goal.
But that was ended when Gnanduillet flicked on Nicky Hunt’s throw and Clohessy raced onto it in space.
The right midfielder passed the ball across the face of the Daggers goal and Simpson side footed into the roof of the net with three minutes played.
After seven minutes some home fans walked into the stadium as Leyton Orient’s Fans Trust group had called on supporters to protest by taking to their seats in the seventh minute.
They had missed the opener, but nearly saw a goal two minutes later when Lloyd James linked up with Turgott and Simpson.
O’s top goalscorer worked a yard of space, but his effort was scuffed and Mark Cousins easily saved in the away goal.
It was all Orient but they did appear to get a bit of fortune in the 10th minute when Christian Doidge and Shaun Brisley come together in the box.
No penalty was given and the hosts broke forward with Gnanduillet, but despite having Simpson free to his right, he tried his luck from 25-yards and it went well wide.
A minute later and the hosts created another opportunity when Baudry ventured forward with the ball.
The skipper passed into Turgott and he chested it out to Simpson, but O’s forward dragged his strike well wide and almost hit the corner flag.
Daggers grew into the contest after quarter of an hour and midway through the first half created a decent opening.
Justin Hoyte brought the ball forward, got a lucky ricochet and tried his luck from the edge of the box. Alex Cisak spilled it initially before recovering to gather.
It was turning into more of a battle now and Baudry suffered a head injury moments later which required treatment. He was able to continue, but was sporting a head bandage.
John Still’s side certainly weren’t disgracing themselves and created a good opportunity in the 32nd minute. Joss Labadie let fly from 30-yards, Cureton deflected it into the path of Doidge and the Welsh forward brought the ball down.
He managed to get a shot off, but Cisak had come off his line quickly and blocked his effort well. Six minutes later and the visitors had another shot when there was two mix-ups at the back for the O’s.
First Baudry and Jerome Binnom-Williams went for the same ball and then Orient’s captain collided with James. Cureton was able to pounce and curled towards goal, but again Cisak got down saving comfortably.
It seemed like it would remain 1-0 at half time and one minute of stoppage time was added on at Brisbane Road. During the extra 60 seconds, the hosts appeared to put the game to bed following another swift move.
Turgott was played in down the left and did well, squaring the ball for Simpson to tap in his 25th of the campaign. The half time whistle followed and it seemed like Orient would be completing a league double over their local rivals.
Daggers began the second period strongly and had a great chance to reduce the arrears in the 49th minute. Labadie ran forward and had Matty Cash out to his right, although he passed to the Nottingham Forest loanee it sent him wide and he could only lash way off target.
Simpson should have put the game to bed three minutes later when Turgott passed to him on the edge of the area. The former Arsenal youngster cut inside and curled towards goal, but hit the post before the visitors cleared.
It was the same two men creating problems for Still’s team as again Turgott passed into Simpson. Cousins this time producing a fine save before Turgott headed off target from close range.
And then, from almost nothing, Daggers pulled one back in the 59th minute through Cureton. He raced onto a long ball, rounded Cisak and tapped in to reduced the arrears.
Less than 60 seconds later and unbelievably the relegation strugglers were level at Brisbane Road. A free kick into the area wasn’t only cleared to Clevid Dikamona, 20-yards-out, and he fired a wonderful volley into the top corner.
It shell shocked the O’s and they got ready to make a change in the 64th minute as Palmer was prepped to come on and replace Gnanduillet. But Turgott again got in down the left and was able to pick out the French forward perfectly – giving him the simple task of tapping in.
He was replaced after the celebrations and soon Palmer was thrush into the action, having a header blocked well by Cousins.
Orient were always looking a threat and Palmer had another chance in the 77th minute, but his chip was cleared off the line. Jack Payne was introduced with eight minutes remaining for Nigel Atangana as the hosts looked to close out the game.
The fourth official signalled five minutes of stoppage time would be added on and Daggers went close through a free kick. Matt Richards tested Cisak before Dikamona headed a decent opportunity wide at the back post.
That wasn’t the last chance, though, as Labadie had a volley from six-yards, but O’s goalkeeper somehow managed to deflect it wide. From the resulting corner, Palmer won the ball deep inside his own half and carried it all the way into the Dagenham box.
Simpson then had an effort saved before the full time whistle followed to give Orient a first win since March 19. It moves the hosts up to 10th in the table and they are only two points off the play-off positions.
But for Daggers it is the end of the road as Stevenage’s 2-1 win against Newport County means they are relegated.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Baudry, Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy, James, Atangana (Payne 82), Turgott, Simpson, Gnanduillet (Palmer 66).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Kashket, Jahraldo-Martin, Ramage, Koroma.
Dagenham & Redbridge: Cousins, Hoyte (Pennell 66), Dikamona, Hyam (Taylor 46), Widdowson, Cash (McClure 76), Labadie, Richards, Hemmings, Doidge, Cureton.
Unused substitutes: Moore, Boucaud, Chambers, Hawkins.
Attendance: 5,696 (444 Dagenham & Redbridge supporters).