Swindon Town 0 – 1 Leyton Orient
npower League 1
LEE COOK ended Orient’s five-and-a-half-hour goal drought and gave the Londoners their first points of the season with a 1-0 win at Swindon Town on Saturday.
Cook struck 14 minutes into the second half, finishing off a Leon McSweeney cross and becoming the first O’s goalscorer since Michael Symes in the final minute of the opening day defeat at Tranmere.
It was a deserved success for the O’s, who defended solidly and created far more than in the previous three League games.
The three point haul also gave Swindon a rare feeling – they hadn’t lost at their County Ground home since last August and hadn’t even conceded a goal at home since February.
Orient adopted a change in style for the trip to the County Ground, as manager Russell Slade switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Dean Cox wide on the right and Cook deployed on the opposite flank.
And it was the O’s who settled better, creating an opening early on when Kevin Lisbie wriggled clear in the left channel and semt over a dangerous low cross that Federico Bessone had to clear.
The early signs were good, and it wasn’t until the 19th minute that Swindon exerted any pressure, and Leon McSweeney was up to the test, covering the far post area well to get a block on Raffaele De Vita’s shot and send it bouncing over the crossbar.
Martin Rowlands and Cook brought a calming influence to the O’s midfield and allowed the visitors to use the ball better than they have managed to date this season.
Coox was looking particularly dangerous on the left and the former QPR man had a chance on 26 minutes when he was left in acres of room and was picked out by Michael Symes, but he failed to hit the target as he entered the penalty area.
He turned provider seven minutes later when he ran clear of Joe Devera and pulled back for Symes, but the O’s striker didn’t get hold of the shot and Swindon escaped.
Orient were getting closer and closer, with the next chance falling to Kevin Lisbie – again as the result of a delicious Cook delivery – whose glancing header dropped just the wrong side of Wes Foderingham’s post.
It was an encouraging opening period for the O’s, with the only nagging worry that they hadn’t managed to find the back of the net in an echo of the previous week’s first half at Crawley.
Ryan Allsop had to field a couple of Matt Ritchie efforts at the start of the second period, but 14 minutes after the restart Orient were rewarded for their enterprising play with the opener.
Cook was the goalscorer, tucking home neatly at the far post after McSweeney charged into space down the left and sent the ball into the box for Cox to touch into a dangerous area.
Swindon brought on Adam Rooney from the bench as they looked for a leveller and he was involved immediately, prodding wide of the near post under pressure from McSweeney, after he skipped away from Ben Chorley and bore down on Allsop’s goal.
At the other end Cox sent a free kick inches over the top, but the visitors’ advantage was a narrow one and they could not afford to rest on their laurels.
With seven minutes to play Swindon weren’t far away from an equaliser when the O’s defence found themselves overloaded on the right hand side and full back Devera took advantage by bombing into the box, although his shot was directed into the side netting, and with that the home side’s challenge was over as Orient were able to celebrate their first win of the campaign.
Swindon: Foderingham; Devera, Flint, McCormack, Bessone; Ritchie, Navarro (Ferry 51), Miller, De Vita; Collins (Rooney 65), Williams (Benson 76)
Subs: McEveley, Ward, Bedwell (GK), Bostock
Leyton Orient: Allsop; McSweeney, Clarke, Chorley, Sawyer; Cox, Griffith, Rowlands, Cook (Odubajo 87); Lisbie, Symes (Brunt 80)
Subs: Baudry, Smith, Laird, Grainger (GK), Obafemi
Goal: Cook 59
Booked: Chorley, Lisbie
Referee: Dean Mohareb
Attendance: 8,076 (276 away)