Leyton Orient drop into League Two relegation zone after Mansfield Town defeat
PUBLISHED: 17:05 28 January 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Sky Bet League Two: Mansfield Town 2 Leyton Orient 0
Leyton Orient suffered a 2-0 loss at Mansfield Town, their fourth consecutive defeat in League Two, and dropped into the relegation zone as a result.
Andy Edwards’ team were second best throughout at Field Mill and struggled to create chances against a rampant Stags.
By the full time whistle they had fallen into the bottom two and O’s have a massive fight on their hands to get out of this situation.
Edwards made two changes to the Orient team which started the 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth on January 14.
Callum Kennedy and Sam Dalby returned to the starting XI with Myles Judd and Nigel Atangana dropping to the bench.
Orient had several academy graduates or current youth-team players involved at Field Mill with Sandro Semedo and Dalby included from the off.
Meanwhile Sam Sargeant, Freddy Moncur, Victor Adeboyejo, Myles Judd and Michael Clark were among the substitutes.
With academy manager Richard Thomas leaving Brisbane Road yesterday to join Notts County as Kevin Nolan’s assistant, his legacy was on show for everybody to see with seven current or former academy players in the O’s squad today.
Liam Kelly was part of the travelling party, although he’s still not fit enough to be involved for Edwards’ team just yet.
Mansfield included ex-Orient loanee Shaq Coulthirst in their starting team at a cold and windy Field Mill.
The hosts made a bright start and after four minutes nearly took the lead when Nicky Hunt left Alex Cisak short.
O’s captain for the day sliced his back pass and Coulthirst nipped in, the ball ricocheted to Danny Rose, but Tom Parkes put him under significant pressure and the Stags striker could only poke wide.
It was a let-off for the visitors, although they managed to see off the rest of the opening 10 minutes with little threat.
A quick free kick in the 12th minute by Mansfield played in left-back Mal Benning, but Cisak made an excellent low save.
Less than nine minutes later and a bizarre incident occurred where Stags goalkeeper Jake Kean appeared to go down injured.
As Mansfield’s physio ran onto the pitch, home defender Krystian Pearce sprinted down the tunnel.
Kean received treatment, though was fine to continue and a minute later Pearce remerged after apparently needing a toilet break.
Orient attacked significantly for the first time moments later with Gavin Massey and Dalby combining on the right.
The O’s teenage striker was played in, yet Benning came across well and blocked to keep the game goalless.
Stags boss Steve Evans was getting frustrated on the touchline and was nearly even unhappier in the 31st minute.
Semedo’s crossed deflected to Paul McCallum and he brilliantly flicked into Dalby’s path, but Mansfield’s Pearce cleared just in the nick of time.
Three minutes later and Orient produced their move of the match with play being speared from the left to the right.
Sammy Moore found Hunt and O’s captain picked out Massey who was unmarked in the Mansfield area.
Orient’s number 11 appeared to be caught in two minds whether to shoot or try to pick out a team-mate.
Massey’s effort flew just past the post with McCallum and Dalby trying their best to get on the end of it.
It offered O’s a sign of encouragement and after stifling the hosts, they were now starting to get on top.
The heavens began to open at Field Mill and Stags were soon back on the front foot and creating chances.
Cisak got down well to push Benning’s effort away from goal before Callum Kennedy gave away a foul near the corner flag.
The ball came into the box and pinned around before Rose fired into the ground and over under pressure from Parkes in the 41st minute.
Back down the other end, Orient won a corner following some hard work from Dalby and Kennedy went over to take.
McCallum got on the end of his delivery, but saw his header blocked before the hosts cleared despite O’s forward having his shirt blatantly grabbed.
The fourth official signalled for two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the 45, but Orient managed to see it out and reach half time with the score goalless.
Having conceded early second half goals against Portsmouth and Exeter City already this month, O’s needed to keep focused after the restart.
Unfortunately Mansfield did open the scoring just three minutes into the second half, although it was a fine strike.
Joe Byrom delivered a free kick in and Orient cleared to the edge of the area where Ben Whiteman curled into the corner.
It was a brilliant effort, though the worse possible start to the second half and Edwards’ team were up against it now.
Mansfield very nearly made it 2-0 just four minutes later when Coulthirst let fly from range and smashed an effort against the post.
Ollie Palmer was soon told to get ready to come on, which prompted the home fans to give their former player some stick.
But before Orient’s number nine was introduced, the Stags doubled their lead with 56 minutes on the clock.
CJ Hamilton’s low cross went all the way across the O’s goal and Rose was able to fire home at the back post.
Palmer was introduced straight after with Dalby making way after a difficult afternoon for the 17-year-old.
Orient looked void of ideas, however, and Mansfield appeared the more likely to grab the third goal of the game.
With the Stags fans in fine voice, Edwards’ team were struggling to keep the ball with several aimless long balls just coming straight back at the back four.
The O’s did create a decent opportunity 16 minutes from time when Palmer broke forward and found Michael Collins.
Semedo was played in down the left and he crossed into the area for McCallum, but he could only head over the crossbar.
Orient continued to struggle and nearly gifted Mansfield a third in the 86th minute when Sammy Moore, who didn’t have hardly any options, tried to pass the ball back to Mezague.
Coulthirst nipped in and ran through on goal, but Cisak stood up well and blocked his effort to keep the score 2-0.
McCallum then won O’s a free kick just on the edge of the area, although it looked like he was inside.
But the Orient striker remained on the floor and needed a stretcher to take him off the pitch after suffering what appeared another serious injury.
Victor Adeboyejo replaced McCallum and Kennedy took the free kick and fired it into the wall before shooting just past the post from the rebound.
Six minutes of stoppage time had been added on at this point and Matt Green came close to adding a third in the final exchanges of the match.
With Notts County scoring a 90th winner close by, it meant Orient were dropping into the bottom two.
Despite some more pressure from Mansfield, the full time whistle soon followed to hand O’s a fourth consecutive defeat.
The task for Edwards’ looked a hard one anyway, but if McCallum is set to be out for a lengthy period of time, Orient look in even more trouble.
Carlisle United visit next weekend and O’s know they need a positive result to move out of the relegation zone.
Mansfield Town: Kean; Benning, Pearce, Bennett, White; Collins; Hamilton, Byrom, Whiteman (Baxendale 85); Coulthirst (Arquin 90), Rose (Green 73).
Substitutes: Shearer, Hoban, Thomas, Hemmings.
Leyton Orient: Cisak; Hunt, Mezague, Parkes, Kennedy; Massey, Moore, Collins, Semedo; McCallum (Adeboyejo 90), Dalby (Palmer 57).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Atangana, Moncur, Judd, Clark.
Attendance: 3,925 (279 Leyton Orient supporters).