Depleted Leyton Orient suffer defeat at Tranmere Rovers

Leyton Orient manager Kenny Jackett 

Leyton Orient manager Kenny Jackett - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Leyton Orient suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers thanks to a Jay Spearing goal.

O’s manager Kenny Jackett was forced into a number of changes due to suspension, injuries and COVID cases among the squad including recalling Jayden Sweeney from his loan spell at Wealdstone.

This was evident from Orient’s bench, with just the four players named on the bench – but a positive in seeing forward Paul Smyth return.

The game started evenly, Tranmere threatening first, before pressure from The O’s saw them gain a foothold.

Drinan chasing down his man opened up a chance for his strike partner, when the ball fell kindly to Smith almost 25 yards from goal.

Smith opted to try and lob the keeper, who was out of position, but the effort with his weaker foot was always drifting over.

Orient were certainly on top in the opening 30 minutes, although had yet to have a clear cut chance to show for it – Adam Thompson having the ball taken off of his toe, after breaking to him from a long throw.

Most Read

The O’s kept pushing with some neat play, but it was almost the hosts who would nudge ahead; Josh Hawkes with a good effort coming in from the left flank, but Vigouroux was equal to it.

The half ended, with Orient having had the better of the bout, but crucially, no goal to show for it.

After a close start again in the opening exchanges of the second half, it was Tranmere who would fire themselves ahead.

Experienced midfielder Jay Spearing made no mistake when he was given time and space on the edge of the box, and fired a blistering strike into the top corner that Vigouroux had no chance with.

Orient looked to respond – Kenny Jackett introducing the returning Paul Smyth from injury, who made a near instant impact.

Smyth looked dangerous on the ball, drifting across the pitch and picking it up in behind the strikers, looking to make things happen.

A one-two with Drinan saw him open up plenty of space in the box, but his strike low and powerful was well held by Doohan, in what could have been an awkward one.

Tranmere had chances to extend their lead, but a smart stop again from Vigouroux denied this – building a platform for a late equaliser.

Harry Smith fired a half volley which looked destined for the back of the net, but a superb stop from Doohan denied him – and Drinan, racing in, skied the rebound.

With added time underway, The O’s had arguably their best chance at goal. Drinan’s cross into the box picked out Smith unmarked.

Smith waited, before aiming his header to the top corner – but saw it glide agonisingly wide of the target, and with it Orient’s chance of an equaliser.

Tranmere Rovers: Doohan, Dacres-Cogley, MacDonald, Davies, Morris, Spearing, Jolley (Watson 88’), Hawkes (Merrie 90’) , Nevitt, O’Connor, Clarke (C).

Subs unused: Murphy, Feeney, Maynard, Duffy, Maguire.

Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Wood, Happe, Thompson, Clay (C), Smith, Kemp (Smyth 66’), Drinan, Young, Sweeney, Ogie.

Subs unused: Byrne Sotiriou, Papadopoulos.