Early goal helps Maidenhead United steal National League points from Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road
PUBLISHED: 21:50 24 April 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
National League: Leyton Orient 0 Maidenhead United 1
Leyton Orient’s encouraging home form came to an end as Maidenhead United were able to claim a 1-0 win following an almost perfect away display.
Ryan Upward scored the only goal of the game in the sixth minute and it proved enough to give the Magpies all three points.
It ended up being a really frustrating night for Justin Edinburgh’s team, as despite enjoying lots of possession, they were hardly able to test Maidenhead’s goalkeeper throughout the 90 minutes.
This result also means Orient can only finish as high as 13th in the National League as their recent run of three straight victories at Brisbane Road came to a shuddering halt.
Edinburgh kept faith with the same starting XI which defeated Wrexham 1-0 last weekend and the bench remained unchanged as well.
It meant O’s young back four, which had an average age of 20, were given another opportunity to show their worth.
Although the play-offs were long gone and relegation was no longer a worry, this was an important match in the battle for a top-half finish.
Maidenhead were 12th going into the fixture on 58 points – one place and one point better off than the O’s in 13th position.
The Magpies got proceedings underway at Brisbane Road and started the better of the two teams as they won two corners in quick succession.
Alan Devonshire’s side won the second thanks to a sliced clearance by Myles Judd and it proved costly as with five minutes played the visitors took the lead.
Nana Owusu swung the set-piece in and Dean Brill came and failed to claim the ball leaving his goal open and after an unfortunate rebound, the ball fell for Upward to tap home from six-yards.
It was the worst possible start for Orient and in complete contrast to Saturday’s calm showing at the back.
Edinburgh’s team did respond fairly well and won a corner in the 11th minute, which nearly produced their first clear-cut opportunity.
Macauley Bonne managed to flick Jobi McAnuff’s cross on and the ball fell for Dan Happe, but his effort was blocked by a Magpies defender.
In the same minute, the 12th, O’s then nearly fell two goals behind when Happe let the ball roll through to Brill, but it stopped short and Sean Marks snuck in.
Orient’s number one managed to block his effort, however, and Judd was there to clear the loose ball.
The O’s were not exactly building up ahead of steam, but were certainly increasing the pressure on the visitors.
A third corner was won in the 17th minute and this one was clawed away from the goal line by Carl Pentney.
Maidenhead defended the next corner well and showed if Orient were going to break them down, they were going to have to work hard to do so.
O’s were struggling to handle the physicality of the visitors and James Comley demonstrated this perfectly in the 28th minute when he won the ball from Josh Koroma and then held off Judd’s challenge before finding Sam Barratt.
Eventually the ball was worked infield to Upward and he let fly again, but this one was easy for Brill and he saved comfortably from 25-yards.
The Magpies continued to press and threatened again on the half an hour mark when Owusu took a short corner to Comley and he whipped the ball in.
Brill could only manage to punch a few yards away from his six-yard area and Sean Marks diverted an effort towards goal, but it was easily saved by Orient’s custodian.
Adams tried his best to get O’s going and produced a neat piece of play in the 33rd minute when he played a one-two with James Brophy and found McAnuff.
McAnuff’s cross came back to the Norwich City under-23 loanee, but he sliced well wide from 25-yards, but it at least showed his attempt to get on the ball and push the hosts forward.
After a slight lull, Orient got back into the swing of things when they kept possession patiently and won a free kick 30-yards-out thanks to a mazy run by Brophy.
It came to nothing, though as McAnuff could only lift his effort over the wall and also over the crossbar with 38 played.
O’s remained patient and Koroma was finishing the half strongly and turned away from Comley neatly in the 45th minute before letting fly from range, but Pentney held his shot comfortably.
A minute of stoppage time was added on and despite more pressure, Orient trailed by the odd goal at the break.
It had been a desperately dull first 45 and Edinburgh’s frustration on the touchline had been visible throughout the first half.
Orient’s head coach reacted to the scoreline by introducing first-team skipper Charlie Lee for his second appearance since returning from anterior cruciate ligament damage he suffered in August.
Craig Clay was the man to make way and O’s won a corner 60 seconds after the restart, yet again they couldn’t do anything from it.
It wasn’t a sign of things to come as Maidenhead went close to doubling their lead on two occasions after the break.
First Owusu got away on the right and crossed in for Barratt at the back post, but his weak header was easy for Brill in the 52nd minute.
Orient lost possession almost immediately though, and Comley tried his luck from outside the area, but fortunately it was blocked with Brill out of his goal.
Maidenhead attacked again less than a minute later when Barratt’s free kick forced O’s experienced goalkeeper to parry up into the air before claiming the rebound.
It wasn’t clicking for the hosts and so Edinburgh changed formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 with Koroma on the left, McAnuff behind Bonne and Brophy on the right.
Straight away it had an impact when Koroma beat Rene Steer, but his centre was not able to find Bonne inside the area with 56 on the clock.
A minute later and Brophy put the afterburners on and beat a couple of opponents before back heeling into McAnuff’s path, but the captain was stopped in his tracks by opposition skipper Alan Massey.
Referee Adam Penwell was unmoved though, and with the game approaching the hour mark Maidenhead goalkeeper Petney had yet to be seriously tested.
Lee nearly did with 60 played when Sam Ling’s long throw was cleared to the sub, but he volleyed over when leaning back from 22-yards.
Edinburgh made a second change soon after as Brophy made way for Lamar Reynolds with 29 minutes left at Brisbane Road.
Slowly but surely Orient were increasing their urgency and Devonshire reacted by bringing off Marks for ex-Romford attacker Adrian Clifton.
Tempers became heated in the 67th minute when Lee caught the impressively Comley late and high in the middle of the park.
Maidenhead’s bench and their players were furious and for a moment it looked like the referee would bring out a red card.
After much deliberation, a yellow was eventually shown to Lee and play got underway again with 19 minutes left.
McAnuff almost produced a moment of magic three minutes later when he turned away from a couple of opponents, but his effort went harmless over the crossbar.
Having tried various different methods, Orient next’s option of attack was through the long throws of Lee and they caused the Magpies some problems in the 79th minute, as Happe saw an effort blocked.
Once again O’s were unable to do much with the resulting set-piece and Maidenhead maintained their advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
The game was nearly put to bed in the 85th minute when Comley brushed past Adams too easily inside the area and cut back for Barratt, but his fierce effort hit the crossbar and Orient survived.
O’s supporters were furious minutes later when referee Penwell let an obvious back pass go as the rain continued to fall in E10.
Frustration was beginning to get the better of the hosts as the seconds ticked away and a first home defeat since March 13 was starting to look a definite as the clocked edged closer to 90.
Lee was almost the saviour in the 89th minute when Happe knocked down McAnuff’s free kick and the first-team skipper slide in, but a Maidenhead defender cleared.
When the fourth official signalled for six minutes of stoppage time, Orient’s hopes of getting a draw were boosted.
They got more positive news soon after when Upward was shown a yellow card for getting in the face of the referee after McAnuff had been fouled.
Referee Penwell pointed for the Maidenhead goalscorer to leave the pitch and he was eventually shown a second yellow and a red card, although when he picked up his first caution remained a matter of debate.
After the sending off, McAnuff had the chance to test Pentney from 25-yards, but saw his effort go over.
O’s continued to push and did eventually create a significant chance in the 95th minute of the match.
Reynolds did well on the left and cut the ball back for Adams, but he leant back and side-footed over from close range and with that Orient’s hopes of salving a draw were all but gone.
A couple more minutes were played before the full time whistle followed and it meant the east Londoners finished their home campaign with a defeat, which also means they can no longer finish in the top-half.
Orient will aim to end the season as a whole on a high at Gateshead on Saturday for a 12.30pm kick-off.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Ling, Ekpiteta, Happe, Judd; McAnuff, Clay (Lee 46), Adams, Brophy (Reynolds 61); Koroma, Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Mooney, Clayden.
Maidenhead United: Pentney; Kilman, Goodman (Emmanuel 77), Massey, Steer; Owusu (Smith 90), Comley, Upward, Odametey, Barratt; Marks (Clifton 65).
Unused substitutes: Peters.
Attendance: 3,145 (67 Maidenhead United supporters).