Sheffield United 3 - 1 Leyton Orient
npower League 1
SHEFFIELD UNITED came from behind to keep their automatic promotion charge on course and leave the O's with relegation worries still hanging firmly over their heads.
Orient briefly held hope of causing an upset when Kevin Lisbie rifled home with 12 minutes on the clock, but Lee Williamson's equaliser just before the break gave the hosts the foothold they needed to take over.
Michael Doyle fired United into the lead for the first time not long after the restart, and then it began to unravel for the O's.
Ryan Dickson was sent off for a reckless tackle, putting him out for the rest of the season, and Ched Evans wrapped it up late on with United's third.
Orient's gameplan looked to be going perfectly when they snatched a lead early on.
Lisbie's finish for his 10th goal of the season was one of real quality too as he drilled into the top left hand corner of the net with his weaker left foot after judging Jamie Jones' long kick better than the defender.
As expected, the O's had to soak up heavy pressure from the home side, who were looking to extend a pre-match two-point lead over their city rivals Wednesday as the pair battle it out for second place.
But Orient were looking a threat on the break and almost doubled the advantage on 29 minutes when Lisbie again found space on the edge of the Blades area but this time dragged his effort across goal.
Jones did well to tip Stephen Quinn's bouncing volley over the top, but again Orient went close four minutes before the interval when Dean Cox fired just wide after being teed up by Lisbie 12 yards out.
United didn't have to wait long after that for their leveller, as Williamson swept home from close range after Evans collected a clearing header from Ben Chorley to cut back.
You felt Orient had to hold their lead until the interval to have a chance, but the real turning point came nine minutes after the break when United took advantage of Solomon Taiwo conceding possession in midfield.
Doyle took over, driving deep into the O's half and picking his spot in the bottom right corner with his 20-yard shot.
If that was a hammer blow to the visitors, worse was to follow seven minutes later when Dickson flew into a tackle on Williamson and was sent for an early bath.
It was the second sending off of the Southampton defender's loan in E10 and his four-game ban will put him out for the rest of the season.
United were by now well in command and Evans hit the post on the turn as they looked for a third.
Ryan Flynn curled inches wide just after coming on from the bench and the home side eventually settled it seven minutes from the end.
Evans has been in irresistable form for the Blades this season and he powered through the O's challenges to stroke home his 35th of the season.
Cox just failed to get on the end of George Porter's drilled low cross with two to play, but the game was long gone by then as Orient fell to a fifth straight loss.
Sheffield United: Simonsen; Lowton, Collins, Maguire, Hill; Williamson, Doyle, McDonald, Quinn (Flynn 76); Evans (O'Halloran 89), Cresswell (Porter 24)
Subs: Howard (GK), Williams
Goals: Williamson 42, Doyle 54, Evans 83
Booked: Maguire, Evans
Leyton Orient: Jones; Ben Youssef, Chorley, Forbes, Dickson; Taiwo (Campbell-Ryce 58), Leacock; Mooney (Porter 81), Spring (Reed 81), Cox; Lisbie
Subs: Andrew, Laird
Goal: Lisbie 12
Booked: Leacock, Lisbie, Campbell-Ryce
Sent off: Dickson
Referee: Tony Bates