League Two: Cambridge United 2 Leyton Orient 3
PUBLISHED: 17:01 21 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 21 December 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
Leyton Orient gave their supporters an early Christmas present with a first win in 11 matches at Abbey Stadium on Saturday.
All three of their goals came in the first half, but both sides finished with 10 men as O's extended their unbeaten run to four matches.
They were forced into a late change just before kick-off, with James Brophy coming into the side in place of Conor Wilkinson.
And Jamie Turley flicked wide at the near post from an early corner for the visitors, who saw George Marsh booked on the quarter-hour mark for a late challenge.
The hosts enjoyed a dominant spell of possession around the midway mark, but Orient kept battling well and took the lead on 29 minutes through Turley, who slammed the ball home when a Jordan Maguire-Drew free-kick was headed across goal.
And, buoyed by their goal, they enjoyed a good period of pressure, winning a penalty on 35 minutes when Lee Angol was brought down in the box.
Josh Wright saw his spot-kick saved by Dimitar Mitov, but the rebound fell nicely for the midfielder to convert and double the advantage for O's with his seventh goal of the campaign.
Craig Clay was booked on 38 minutes, but Reggie Lambe was then shown a yellow card for the hosts for a nasty foul on Turley.
And O's went close to a third when Maguire-Drew turned in the box and fired just wide, before Angol was booked in the last minute of the half, then saw an effort from a Brophy cross deflected behind.
The visitors did get their third goal of the half, though, when Maguire-Drew produced a stunning finish, curling the ball into the top corner in the third minute of stoppage time.
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Sam Sargeant was called into action six minutes into the second half to push away a shot from Knibbs and a fingertip save kept out a Cambridge header as Turley received treatment for a cut to the face.
But O's could have had a fourth just before the hour as Angol raced onto Brophy's pass but was denied by Mitov.
Orient's Ross Embleton and Myles Judd were both shown yellow cards as tempers began to flare, with Brophy having his name taken soon after.
Sam Smith had an effort ruled out for offside midway through the half, but the hosts pulled a goal back on 69 minutes thanks to a lovely strike from Jack Roles.
And Smith then sent a header straight at Sargeant soon after as they went looking for a second goal, before Embleton sent on Hector Kyprianou and Matt Harrold on for Marsh and Maguire-Drew respectively.
Cambridge were awarded a penalty on 80 minutes, with Turley adjudged to have fouled a home attacker, and Smith slotted home to set up a nervous finale.
But they were reduced to 10 men when Lambe was shown a second yellow card and sent off following a bad challenge on Angol, with Judd dismissed for a second bookable offence of his own just a minute later.
Josh Coulson was sent on to replace Brophy for the last two minutes of normal time and seven of stoppage time as O's looked to protect their slender lead, which they managed to do to bank three welcome points.
Orient: Sargeant, Ekpiteta, Clay, Brophy (Coulson 88), Maguire-Drew (Harrold 77), Judd, Happe, Angol, Marsh (Kyprianou 77), Turley, Wright.
Unused subs: Gorman, Dayton, Sotiriou.