Orient got back to winning ways at Glanford Park with an excellent away performance. The O’s were in front from almost the word go after Scott Cuthbert gave them the dream start and though they were pegged back by an excellent finish from Matt Sparrow, Jobi McAnuff sealed the win only a minute later with his first goal for the club.
Russell Slade kept the same back four from the draw at Meadow Lane, whilst it was a more creative looking midfield with Lloyd James returning to the middle of midfield flanked by Dean Cox and Jobi McAnuff. In attack, David Mooney dropped to the bench for the first time this season as Darius Henderson was preferred in attack with former Scunthorpe player Chris Dagnall.
There was barely time for the vocal travelling fans to take their seats before Orient got off to the perfect start. A Nathan Clarke long throw was headed behind for a corner that Dean Cox whipped in from the left. In the week that Scotland said ‘no’ to independence, Scottish defender Cuthbert ran off screaming ‘YES’ as he rose highest to thump a header past Bobby Olenjnik.
The O’s, sporting their new black strip, were on top and looked dangerous in attack though were aided by more than the occasional early mistake by the home side.
Iron skipper Gary McSheffrey flashed a shot narrowly wide with a dozen minutes played in the first attack of note by the home side.
Orient would have been disappointed on Tuesday evening to have not made more of their ample free-kicks and corners, but they looked for more threatening on this outing with the deliveries of McAnuff and Cox causing problems.
The rain started to drizzle and surface an extra zip and it seemed to suit the O’s who started to string some moves of quality together with Dagnall coming close with a header after a great interchange between Cox and McAnuff.
Orient were pressing and harrying Scunthorpe high up the pitch and Dagnall almost double their lead when they once more robbed possession in the home side’s half before the striker wriggled into the box and was denied well by Olejnik.
Iron striker Paddy Madden showed his ability with 34 minutes gone when he tried a spectacular volley which dropped only narrowly wide from the angle.
There was a better balance to the O’s midfield than in recent weeks and McAnuff continued to grow in form off of the back of a good performance at Meadow Lane and he led a dangerous counter attack and cross that came to nothing before James – in his 100th Orient appearance – flashed a shot over the bar.
Slade’s side headed down the tunnel with the lead and will only have been disappointed that it was only by one.
Orient started the second period in the same manner they finished the first and with just two minutes played, James should have doubled the O’s lead but slotted his effort just wide of the upright from 20 yards.
Scunthorpe had looked untidy up until then but out of the blue grabbed a leveller of the highest quality. Gary McSheffrey crossed deep for Madden who cushioned the ball on the volley for the arriving Sparrow who duly slotted a volley past Gary Woods.
The response from Orient was perfect though as within a minute they regained their lead. Cox’s cross was challenged by Henderson which sparked panic in the Iron box allowing McAnuff to bundle home from close range.
The O’s continued to dominate as Henderson and Cox went close before the referee Eddie Ilderton angered the home fans when he held up play to allow Lyle Taylor to receive treatment when further up the field, Paddy Madden appeared to be heading in on Gary Woods’ goal.
The fluidity that has been absent at times from Orient’s game came flooding back as Dagnall almost finished off a sparkling move involving Cox and Henderson.
It got more frantic as time wore on and the O’s were indebted to Omozusi who threw himself in front of a Sparrow shot that allowed Orient to counter through Cox and when he slipped in Henderson, the big striker did everything right to shoot across the ‘keeper but was denied by a fantastic save.
Orient had further chances to seal it and in stoppage time, substitute Shaun Batt galloped down the left before squaring for Jay Simpson who should have done better but scooped the ball over from close range.
It would prove to be irrelevant though as Orient held on for a precious three points.
SCUNTHORPE: Olejnik, McAllister (Kee 76), Canavan, Sparrow, Madden, Hawkridge (Myrie-Williams 73), Taylor (Adelakun 68), O’Neill, McSheffrey (C), Williams, Llera
SUBS: Weaver, Dawson, Boyce, Sutton
GOALS: Sparrow 47,
BOOKINGS: Llera 88, McSheffrey 90
ORIENT: Woods, Omozusi, Lowry, Clarke (C), Cuthbert, Cox (Batt 82), Vincelot, James, McAnuff (Petrasso 71), Henderson, Dagnall (Simpson 75)
SUBS: Grainger, Baudry, Mooney, Pritchard
GOALS: Cuthbert 2, McAnuff 49
BOOKINGS: James 74
Ref: Eddie Ilderton
Attendance: 3,264 (261)