Leyton Orient 2 – 1 Walsall
npower League 1
ORIENT got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Walsall at a sodden Brisbane Road on Saturday.
Following a two-week break without a game due to postponements, the O’s had to stew over their defeat to Scunthorpe for longer than they would have liked, but goals from David Mooney and Moses Odubajo gave them the points.
Odubajo’s strike came late on after Sam Mantom’s long-range stunner threatened to derail the O’s.
But Russell Slade’s men picked themselves back up to notch the winner and move back up to 14th in the table.
Heavy rain throughout the week had put this game in doubt, but a drier Friday night gave the surface a chance to recover and referee Gavin Ward passed the pitch fit for play in his 8am inspection.
It was Walsall who looked more tuned into the conditions in the opening period as Orient struggled to get going.
The Saddlers’ play was neater, and they fashioned a chance on 10 minutes when Jamie Paterson’s shot was blocked on the edge of the box by Ben Chorley and Craig Westcarr’s follow up was gathered by Jamie Jones, back in the team in place of Ryan Allsop.
11 minutes later the lively Paterson turned away from Martin Rowlands in midfield and sent a curling effort not far past the right hand post.
On 24, Jones made an excellent save, changing direction quickly to tip Febian Brandy’s header over the crossbar after Paterson crossed from the left.
All the chances were coming from the visitors and Jones had to be alert again to deny Westcarr after a long pass forward drifted over Mathieu Baudry and let the Walsall man in on goal.
But two minutes before the break, Walsall were left to regret not making more of their opportunities when Orient edged in front.
Mooney’s seven goals this season before Saturday had all come away from home, but he broke his E10 duck when Lloyd James’ header forward found him in behind the Saddlers’ backline.
Andy Butler came across to tackle, and as the crowd claimed a penalty, Mooney took advantage of the confusion to slot through keeper Aaron McCarey’s legs.
Having taken the lead, Orient were better in the second half and ten minutes after the restart McCarey had to get down sharply to his right to keep out Lee Cook’s deflected effort by his near post.
Then a peach of a move saw Mooney spread play to Dean Cox on the right. He crossed instantly, but just out of the reach of Kevin Lisbie, who couldn’t get the vital touch.
Midway through the half Mooney had a great chance to double the lead when he beat McCarey to the ball inside the box. Cox was on for the square pass, but Mooney opted to take the shot on and his effort was blocked on the line.
Shortly afterwards Jones had to make his first save of the second half, diving to his right to beat away Manton’s 25-yard effort.
Mantom was merely lining up his next shot, which was a stunning 79th minute equaliser as he was left in too much space to pick his spot from 30 yards with a screaming effort into the top right hand corner.
The O’s weren’t done though and after Cox tested McCarey with a free-kick, they made sure of the points in the 87th minute.
Cox was involved with a fine cross from the left which Mooney flicked on at the near post for Odubajo to ram home at the far.
It was Odubajo’s third goal of the season and a great way to close a year which has ended so well for the Londoners.
Leyton Orient: Jones; Odubajo, Baudry, Chorley, McSweeney; Cox, James (Cuthbert 90+2), Rowlands, Cook (Griffith 75); Lisbie (Brunt 83), Mooney
Subs: Symes, Allsop (GK), Obafemi, A Smith
Goals: Mooney 43, Odubajo 87
Mooney, Rowlands, Griffith
Walsall: McCarey; Purkiss, Downing, Butler, Taylor; Westcarr, A Chambers, Mantom, Paterson (Hemmings 90); Brandy (Cuvelier 66); Grigg (Bowerman 73)
Subs: Grof (GK), Benning, Baxendale, J Chambers
Goal: Mantom 79
Booked: Brandy, Purkiss
Referee: Gavin Ward
Attendance: 3,865 (216 away)