More home woe for Leyton Orient as Cheltenham Town make Danny Webb's team pay the penalty
PUBLISHED: 16:59 25 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 25 February 2017
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Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 0 Cheltenham Town 1
Leyton Orient’s poor form at Brisbane Road continued after they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Cheltenham Town and this loss could be one of the most pivotal of their League Two campaign.
The Robins, who are also batting relegation, claimed all three points with a first half goal and Callum Kennedy had a spot-kick saved after the break.
O’s had plenty of chances, but failed to beat Scott Brown and survival looks a long way away for the east London club now.
Danny Webb named the same starting XI which began the 3-2 defeat to Notts County last weekend with Tom Parkes fit to play.
Parkes left the Brisbane Road pitch on a stretcher against the Magpies after suffering what seemed a fractured pelvis injury.
Scans later confirmed it was only bruising, but it was still a surprise to see the former Bristol Rovers defender starting.
The only change to the squad was the inclusion of Aron Pollock after he had fully recovered a groin problem.
Orient got proceedings underway after a lengthy huddle where stand-in captain Paul McCallum spoke.
Brisbane Road, like last weekend, was again noisy and buoyant, but it was the Robins who started brightly.
They should have taken the lead in the 10th minute when Tin Plavotic brought down a free kick inside the O’s area, but then sliced well wide.
Kyle Wootton tried his luck less than 60 seconds later, but lashed over the crossbar from 25-yards.
But three minutes later and Orient nearly made the breakthrough when Josh Koroma did well on the right and picked out Massey.
The O’s attacker fired towards goal, but Cheltenham custodian Brown saved and thwarted the follow-up effort too.
Orient went even closer with quarter of an hour played when Myles Judd crossed in and McCallum headed back across goal with the angle tight.
Nigel Atangana ran in, yet couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball enough and fired wide with the goal at his mercy.
The succession of chances lifted spirits in E10 and in the 20th minute O’s had three chances to score.
Kennedy floated a fine ball into the area and Atangana volleyed goalwards, but Brown saved.
Atangana went for the rebound and yet again the Cheltenham goalkeeper saved before he stopped McCallum putting in the loose ball.
It was a case of so near, yet so far for Orient, but shortly afterwards the breakthrough did occur.
Billy Waters controlled on the edge of the area and teed up Carl Winchester who fired low and hard into the corner.
It was cruel on O’s, although a wonderful effort and once again they had to find a way of coming from behind.
Atangana had another effort in the 25th minute, but blasted over and Webb’s team kept on plugging away.
Koroma then tested Brown when Semedo’s cross dropped for the teenager, but again Cheltenham’s goalkeeper couldn’t be beat.
Orient had the upper-hand, although Parkes looked to be struggling and was holding his bruised hip.
The defender carried on and O’s should have levelled with four minutes of the first half remaining.
Kennedy fired a free kick into the wall, though Orient kept the ball and eventually Michael Collins dribbled into the area.
He cut the ball back for the unmarked Koroma, but he could only curl over and the chance was wasted.
Two minutes of additional time were added on at the end of the first half, but at the break it was 1-0 to Cheltenham.
Webb was forced to make a change at the break with Michael Clark replacing Parkes and making his senior debut.
The young centre back had impressed at East Thurrock United earlier in the season and was now thrust into a high pressure situation.
Cheltenham started the second half strongly and Wootton fired just wide before Winchester tested Sargeant.
It was not the start Webb would have wanted and if anybody was going to score next, it looked like being the Robins.
But Orient soon got back into their stride when Kennedy brilliantly played in Massey down the right.
Massey got to the byline and tried to pick out a team-mate, but could only fizz a ball across the area.
Two minutes later, in the 57th minute, and O’s were handed a perfect chanced to get back on level terms.
Massey controlled a short corner and was tripped just inside the penalty area and referee Nigel Miller point to the spot.
Kennedy ran to the ball and picked it up signalling his intentions despite McCallum being the usual penalty taker.
After some deliberation between the two, it was the left-back who placed the ball on the spot in the 57th minute.
Unfortunately for Orient, Kennedy’s low penalty was saved by Brown and the Robins remained ahead.
The miss knocked O’s spirit and Webb responded by bringing on Sam Dalby with the bright Koroma making way.
A well-timed tackle by Clark got Orient back into the swing of things as he played in Massey and he won a corner.
Even though the first set-piece was easily cleared, O’s managed to win another corner and Semedo’s second delivery was better.
Teddy Mezague could only head wide and another decent opportunity had been wasted by the hosts.
McCallum was replaced soon after with Rowan Liburd coming on for the final 14 minutes at Brisbane Road.
Frustration was growing in E10 and with time ticking away, there was a sense that the game was getting away from Orient.
Massey was next to try his luck from outside the area, although his shot was tame and easy for Brown to save.
With eight minutes left Cheltenham nearly doubled their advantage, but Sargeant got down well to save Liam Davis’ fierce shot.
Time was running out, but Semedo nearly produced a stunner in the 86th minute, but Brown tipped his 25-yard effort over.
The Portuguese winger took the resulting corner, but Kennedy headed wide and yet another chance had gone.
Only two minutes of additional time were added on at the end of the 90 and Orient spent most of that time defending.
The full time whistle soon followed to consign them to their 14th league defeat of the season at Brisbane Road.
Orient have a chance to bounce back on Tuesday night at Stevenage, but it feels like their 102-year stay in the Football League could be coming to an end.
Leyton Orient: Sargeant; Judd, Mezague, Parkes (Clark 46), Kennedy; Koroma (Dalby 65), Atangana, Collins, Semedo; Massey, McCallum (Liburd 76).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Moore, Pollock, Alzate.
Cheltenham Town: Brown; Barthram, Onariase, Boyle, Plavotic; Pell, Rowe (Storer 61), Winchester, Davis, Waters, Wootton.
Unused substitutes: Kitscha, Wright, Munns, Dayton, O’Shaughnessy, Holman.
Attendance: 4,747 (317 Cheltenham Town supporters).