Orient caused a shock upset in the second round of the Capital One Cup as Romain Vincelot’s late header dumped Premier League Aston Villa out of the competition.
It was a fantastic away performance from the O’s who defended doggedly and passed the ball with patience before seizing their opportunity when it presented itself.
Russell Slade rotated his squad as the O’s began another gruelling week of travelling. The star of the previous round, Gary Woods, was back between the sticks, whils It was a new look back four as stalwarts Scott Cuthbert and Nathan Clarke dropped to the bench and Shane Lowry came in to face his former club with Gary Sawyer coming in at left back.
It was a lopsided midfield for the O’s with Bradley Pritchard taking up a narrow right position alongside Marvin Bartley, Lloyd James and Dean Cox with David Mooney wearing the captain’s armband in attack alongside Jay Simpson.
Villa have started their Premier League campaign well and it was a daunting looking line up with almost 2,000 top flight appearances shared between their starting XI including the likes of former England stars Joe Cole and Darren Bent.
Orient certainly didn’t look phased by the surroundings of the famous Villa Park as they knocked the ball around neatly in the opening exchanges. There wasn’t much to choose between the two sides as both enjoyed spells of possession with Lloyd James pulling the Orient strings in midfield.
Villa started to gently control the possession stats, though Orient looked adequately equipped to deal with the home side’s forward marches. Carlos Sanchez looked one of the livelier threats from Paul Lambert’s side and he combined well with Cole on the 20 minute mark to bring Woods into action but it was only to gather a cross as the former England star failed to get any conviction on his delivery.
Villa continued to probe though and called Woods into action properly just before the 30 minute mark. Cole slipped in Bent who got beyond the Orient backline and ran through on goal but Woods stood up tall and saved well with his feet.
James was dictating the play for fun at times for Orient and he helped carve out the first good opportunity for the O’s 10 minutes before the interval. The midfielder switched the play to Omozusi who took a touch and crossed for the arriving Mooney, but the Irishman mistimed a header that flashed wide.
The chance seemed to spur Orient on and five minutes later they crafted a move of quality down the right hand side which enabled Mooney to cross into the path of Dean Cox. The O’s winger, making his 200th start for the Club, had two bites at a shot that were both charged down as Villa cleared the danger to send the sides in level.
Orient started the second period well as Simpson flashed a ball across the face just in front of Mooney before the O’s wanted a penalty a minute later when Pritchard tumbled in the box.
There was a much more livelier tempo to the second period and Villa edged closer to the opening goal as Grealish won a corner that Nathan Baker headed a whisker over the bar.
Orient responded with their best spell of the game as they twice came within a whisker of taking the lead, both times coming from a Cox corner. The first was met perfectly Mathieu Baudry, only for Given to pull off a stunning save to push it onto the bar, whilst a minute later, Baudry again won a header which Simpson tucked home. However the striker had strayed offside and it was duly chalked off.
It looked like a set-play might settle it as Baker went close again from a corner, but with seven minutes to go Bent had the best chance of the game when he broke free from the O’s defence but slammed his effort into the side netting with only Woods to beat.
Orient made them pay though as with just three minutes to go they got grabbed a winner. Having only been on the park for a matter of minutes, Romain Vincelot leapt brilliantly at the back post to head Pritchard’s cross past Given to send the travelling fans wild.
VILLA: Given (C), Baker, Bacuna, Cole (Weimann 62), Senderos, Westwood, Richardson, Bent, Hutton, Sanchez, Grealish
Subs: Guzan, Clark, Agbonlahor, Delph, Herd, N’Zogbia
Orient: Woods, Omozusi, Sawyer (Cuthbert 62), Baudry, Cox, James, Mooney (C) (Dagnall 66), Lowry, Pritchard, Bartley (Vincelot 83), Simpson
Subs: Legzdins, Clarke, Lee, Henderson
Goals: Vincelot 87
Bookings: Lowry 27, Bartley 48,
Ref: C. Boyeson
Attendance: 17,918 (976)