Orient brushed aside bottom of the table Notts County to record their second 5-1 victory of the season on Tuesday evening, stretching their lead at the top of League One to five points.
A first half brace from Kevin Lisbie gave Orient a well-deserved 2-0 lead at half-time before Dean Cox fired in another shortly after the break.
County managed to pull one back through Danny Haynes but never really threatened to make it uncomfortable for the home side, and the O’s netted a further two late on through substitutes Shaun Batt and Jayden Stockley.
O’s boss Russell Slade decided to name an unchanged starting XI for the fifth league game in a row, having taken maximum points so far this season. In contrast, Chris Kiwomya made four changes to his side after County’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of MK Dons at the weekend.
The two clubs could not have experienced more differing starts to the 2013-14 season coming into this fixture, with Orient sitting top of the table and boasting the only 100% record in the football league while Notts County look stranded at the bottom with just a single point to show.
And Orient looked in no mood for an upset on the night, bursting out of the blocks by closing down their opponents in every area of the pitch and using the wet surface – having endured a solid day’s rain before stopping just before kick off – to get their passing game on its way.
Despite the high tempo start, the game had to wait until 13 minutes before either team made a move worthy of seeing a goal at the end of it.
It began with a superb pass from top scorer David Mooney who found Moses Odubajo in a familiar position on the right touchline and the youngster whipped in an early cross for Lisbie who couldn’t direct his header goalwards.
Two minutes later and the O’s had their first shot on target, this time Mooney finishing the move when he struck a venomous effort towards the top right corner but goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski got across well to turn the ball behind for a corner.
The away side had began the game with three at the back and this allowed O’s wide men Cox and Odubajo to get plenty of joy down the flanks, both sending a number of dangerous crosses in the direction of lethal front pairing Mooney and Lisbie but County’s defence were dealing well with the threat.
That was until 28 minutes when Enda Stevens’s poor challenge through the back of Odubajo, which earned him a booking, afforded Lloyd James a great opportunity to send in a trademark out-swinging freekick.
The ball curled beautifully in behind the opposition’s defence and Lisbie won the battle with his marker to power a header down into the ground before it zipped off the surface into the top right corner.
The visitors did manage a decent spell of pressure towards the back end of the first half, winning a series of free-kicks which got gradually closer to the O’s penalty area but their delivery was not of the same quality of the host’s.
Orient soaked up the pressure well and, in the first minute of stoppage time, went on a rampaging counter-attack which ended in Lisbie grabbing his second of the night and sixth league goal of the season.
The striker had been the catalyst of the move, breaking down the left from inside his own half and despite being blatantly fouled, referee Rob Lewis played an excellent advantage to allow Mooney to continue moving forward with the ball.
After holding it up brilliantly he played Cox clean through on goal but his shot could only force a stunning one-on-one save from the keeper. Lisbie, however, had regained his footing and sprinted up in support to pounce on the rebound, striking it low and away from the defenders on the line to double his side’s advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Notts County made a bright start to the second period with the tricky Jack Grealish looking dangerous every time he broke through the middle with the ball at his feet. And the visitors were the first team to call either keeper into action, when David Bell’s drive from the right needed a good low save from Jamie Jones to keep it out.
However the visitors’ hopes of a comeback all but ended on 56 minutes.
James picked the ball up on the edge of the County area after a neat move down the left and slid an inch-perfect pass through to Cox who took the ball in his stride to fizz a shot straight into the far right corner.
The visitors almost pulled a goal back immediately when Alan Sheehan’s 20-yard effort stung the fingertips of Jones but O’s team spirit really shone through when Lisbie – on a hat-trick – got back to defend and clear the resulting corner.
Orient were comfortably in control of the game now and this was epitomised when defenders Nathan Clarke and Scott Cuthbert found themselves far enough forward to have strikes at goal – the latter’s effort forcing a save from the keeper and coming much closer than the captain’s slightly wayward volley.
County did threaten on the rare occasion they broke forward, with Callum McGregor sending a warning signal when he clipped the outside of Jones’s right post with a good effort shortly after the hour mark.
And on 71 minutes, substitute Danny Haynes made the score 3-1 when he got on the end of a Sheehan cross to loop the ball into the far left corner, well out of the reach of the O’s keeper.
However Orient did well to nullify County’s attempts to get themselves back into the game any further and, with 10 minutes left on the clock, broke away to seal the game.
The impressive Lloyd James was not content two assists and made it a hat-trick when he played a good ball over the opposition fullback into the path of Batt who opened up his body and bent a shot beyond Bialkowski’s outstretched left hand. The striker had replaced Lisbie on 62 minutes and his fresh legs were causing problems for County’s weary-looking backline.
And the O’s weren’t finished there, with Batt turning provider soon after his goal.
On 83 minutes he nodded the ball down into the path of Jayden Stockley, who had replaced Mooney only moments earlier, and the on-loan man remained composed enough to slot a low finish beyond the advancing keeper to notch his first senior goal.
ORIENT: Jones, Omozusi, Clarke (C), Baudry, Cuthbert, Cox, James, Vincelot, Odubajo (Lasimant, 86), Mooney (Stockley, 82), Lisbie (Batt, 62).
SUBS: Larkins, Lee, Sherratt, Gorman
GOALS: Lisbie (28, 45+1), Cox (56), Batt (80), Stockley (83)
BOOKINGS: Vincelot (77)
NOTTS: Bialkowski, Sheehan, Liddle, Leacock (C), Grealish, McGregor, Bell, Haber (Haynes, 65), Fotheringham (Arquin, 45), Stevens (Smith, 45), Boucard.
SUBS: Dumbuya, Labadie, Spiess, Tempest
GOALS: Haynes (71)
BOOKINGS: Stevens (27), Boucaud (43) Sheehan (90+1)
ATTENDANCE: 4,092 (154)
REFEREE: Rob Lewis