Orient’s winless run at home continued as a goal in either half from high-flying Swindon was enough to inflict a 2-1 defeat on the O’s.
Michael Smith set the visitors on their way before Nathan Byrne sealed the win at the start of the second period. Darius Henderson grabbed a late consolation for Orient but it was not enough meaning Orient are still without a win in five home League 1 games this season.
The O’s were unfortunate to go in at the interval behind and were rightfully aggrieved at some of the decisions from the officials but will be disappointed that they didn’t galvanise that sense of injustice to turn the result around in the second period.
Kevin Nugent shuffled his pack as injuries to Lloyd James (broken leg) and David Mooney (ankle) meant they missed out with Marvin Bartley coming in for James in midfield. In attack, Darius Henderson dropped to the bench, with Jay Simpson partnering Chris Dagnall up front. Whilst Nathan Clarke returned to skipper the side in place of Elliot Omozusi, with Shane Lowry slotting in at left back.
It was a drizzly afternoon in E10 and there was a different looking shape to Orient with Bartley and Romain Vincelot holding in front of the back four with Jobi McAnuff in a central role ahead of them. This left Dean Cox on the left and Dagnall to take up a position as wide forward, often drifting right.
Swindon are a side that have not been short of goals recently but it was Orient that should have grabbed the lead after just seven minutes. Mathieu Baudry floated a ball into the right channel which Dagnall collected and ran in on goal but with just the goalkeeper to beat from a 45 degree angle he sliced his effort high and wide.
Orient controlled most of the early possession and 10 minutes later, Dagnall again beat the offside trap but this time opted to cut the ball back for Cox who thought he had grabbed the lead before Nathan Thompson did brilliantly to head his effort off of the line.
Referee Tim Robinson drew a few early boos from the O’s faithful as he continued to penalise the home side in but Orient looked in control and stifled the Robins’ attempts to play out from the back by pressing high from a good shape. This was the case just before the half hour mark when Orient grabbed possession and Cox fed McAnuff who shrugged off his man and let hit with a shot from distance that was deflected and skidded narrowly wide.
A minute later though from nowhere Orient were behind when Massimo Luongo raced clear on the right and cut the ball back into the path of Michael Smith who appeared to get it stuck under his feet before getting a shot away that took a deflection past Gary Woods.
Orient were incensed by the early performance of the referee Robinson but they were raging further with his assistant Amy Fearn in the 33rd minute when she raised her flag against Jay Simpson, who was beyond the Swindon defence, despite the fact the ball to him had come from an over-hit SWINDON back pass.
The O’s looked in danger of losing their discipline, such was their anger at the officials, but needed to remain fully switched on as despite more of the game being played in the away team’s half, Mark Cooper’s men looked a real threat on the counter as they broke with pace and purpose. Fortunately for Orient Nathan Byrne twice squandered opportunities in the dying moments of the half as the Robins went in to the interval with their lead intact, whilst the officials headed down the tunnel with boos ringing in their ears.
The sun was out for the second half and many spectators would have still been finding their way back to their seats when Orient found themselves further behind. Smith rolled to the right touchline and slotted a through ball brilliantly into the path of Byrne who smashed it past Woods to double their lead.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the O’s but they almost found a way back into it almost immediately when Dagnall muscled his way between Foderingham in the Town goal and his skipper Thompson to capitalise on some indecision but prodded his volley wide.
Dagnall was soon replaced by Darius Henderson and the big forward had a chance to score with 20 minutes to go when he made decent contact with a header from a Cox free-kick but Foderingham got down well to grasp it.
Cuthbert was next to test Foderingham from the same scenario, before the goalkeeper did well to spread himself in front of substitute Shaun Batt who had linked up well with Henderson. Vincelot flashed a header wide with time running out before Henderson grabbed a last-gasp consolation when he thumped home a header from Scott Cuthbert’s cross.
ORIENT: Woods, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Baudry, Cox, McAnuff, Lowry, Clarke (C), Bartley, Dagnall (Henderson 50), Simpson (Batt 75)
SUBS: Omozusi, Lee, Pritchard, Kashket, Grainger
Goals: Henderson 90
Bookings: Simpson 8, Baudry 66, Cox 90, Henderson 90, Clarke 90
SWINDON: Foderingham, Thompson (C), Byrne, Luongo, Stephens, Turnbull, Kasim, Smith, Williams (Reeves 85), Bell, Thompson
SUBS: Belford, Barthram, Waldon, Barker, Smith, Rodgers
Goals: Smith 29, Byrne 47
Bookings: Stephens 31, Kasim 90, Foderingham 90
Ref: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 5,422 (1220)