Orient celebrated a new kit and a newly laid pitch as they overcame the New York Cosmos in an exhibition friendly at the Matchroom Stadium.
A first half goal from David Mooney and a second half penalty from Kevin Lisbie were enough to give the O’s the victory before Sebastian Guenzatti pulled one back for the infamous Cosmos.
Russell Slade named another experienced side for the O’s penultimate pre-season game as the O’s lined up with captain Nathan Clarke returning to the starting XI alongside Mooney and Jamie Jones – the only three changes from the weekend’s draw with Southend United.
The evening began with an impeccably observed minute’s silence in dedication to O’s legend Phil Woosnam who sadly passed away last week.
Lisbie drew a foul midway inside the Cosmos half with four minutes gone and last year’s top scorer escaped his marker at the far post to get on the end of the resultant freekick however his header went just over.
Cosmos had their first effort on goal after after eight minutes when Jemal Johnson fired over from a cross from the right.
Shaun Batt, who signed a two-year deal with the O’s in June, was looking lively on the right wing causing Cosmos left-back Hunter Gorskie plenty of problems and fired a powerful effort just over from 20 yards on 13 minutes.
After finishing last season as the O’s top scorer, Lisbie seems hungry to pick up where he left off – getting into good positions seeing two more efforts just miss the target before the quarter-hour mark.
Johnson had cut in from the right to hit a low shot into Jamie Jones’s side netting on 17 minutes but this sparked a period of sustained attack from the home side.
A series of corners and balls in to the box ended when Mooney grabbed the opener.
James’s delivery from the right sparked a goalmouth scramble before Mooney latched on to a loose ball and guided the ball goalwards. Cosmos thought they had managed to escape the danger but referee Stuart Attwell said the ball had already crossed the line.
The Cosmos forced Jones into his first save of the night on 26 minutes when Ayoze struck a powerful shot from distance and the O’s ‘keeper did well to turn it behind for a corner.
Just after the half-hour mark Lisbie played a ball across the face of goal which found Moses Odubajo at the far post, but last season’s Young Player of the Year was denied by Jimmy Maurer in the Cosmos goal.
The Cosmos came close to equalising on 36 minutes after Spain veteran Marcos Senna broke into the box and won a corner. The delivery was met by the head of substitute Alessandro Noselli whose effort struck the angle of the post before two more attempts were blocked and saved in the O’s six-yard box.
The Cosmos ended the half stronger than they started it but it remained 1-0 to the O’s heading into the interval.
The two teams were unchanged for the second period and clearly relishing playing on the new surface throughout, keeping the ball on the floor while also playing at a good tempo.
On 56 minutes, Lisbie latched on to a long ball forward from James and played it inside to Mooney who hit an accurate low shot which was well saved by Maurer.
Just a minute later the O’s extended their lead as Mathieu Baudry was pulled down in the box from a corner and Attwell pointed to the spot.
Lisbie picked up the ball and fired it low into the bottom left corner, sending the Maurer the wrong way. It was the third penalty he had taken during this pre-season, and he will be pleased to have found the net after missing the first two despite scoring on the rebound against Tamworth.
A spell of indiscipline from the Cosmos just after the hour mark was almost taken advantage of by James who curled a stunning free-kick goalwards only to be denied by the Cosmos goalkeeper who pushed the ball away from danger.
But they regained their composure soon after and enjoyed their best period of the game.
And it was the Cosmos who managed to do this the most successfully. Ayoze picked up the ball on 74 minutes before unleashing a long range shot beyond Jones – an effort the O’s keeper will feel he might have done better with.
Both sides continued to exchange neat passing moves towards the end but the O’s held on for another victory against their unlikely opponents.
ORIENT: Jamie Jones; Gary Sawyer, Scott Cuthbert (Omozusi – 69), Nathan Clarke, Mathieu Baudry (Vanderhyde – 84); Moses Odubajo, Lloyd James (Lee – 69), Romain Vincelot, Shaun Batt; David Mooney (Adda Djaziri (trialist) 86), Kevin Lisbie (Georgiou – 76).
SUBS: Jake Larkins (GK), Jack Sheratt.
Goals: Mooney (23), Lisbie pen (59)
NY COSMOS: Jimmy Maurer; Hunter Freeman, Hunter Gorskie (Veeder – 69), Carlos Mendes, Joseph Nane; Ayoze, Roversio, Marcos Senna, Diomar Diaz (Lopez – 69), Satoru Kashiwase (Noselli – 36), Jemal Johnson (Guenzatti – 54).
SUBS: Peri Marosevic, Chad Calderone, Danny Szetela, Dane Murphy, Stefan Dimitrov, Chris Reed, David Diosa, Juan Gonzalez, Kyle Reynish, Hagop Chirishian, Paulo Mendes
Goals: Guenzatti (74)