Match Report : 19/03/2016

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Having had a man advantage from the 12th minute after Barry Roche was sent off for the visitors, Orient were denied from the penalty spot when substitute goalkeeper Kieron O’Hara kept out Jay Simpson’s penalty kick, before Armand Gnanduillet was denied by the crossbar in the first half.

Ollie Palmer was then the second O’s player to be denied by the woodwork on the 77th minute, and it looked as though the match would end all square until Ryan Edwards put the ball into his own net to give Kevin Nolan’s side the points.
Looking to build on the victory at Oxford United last weekend Orient player-manager Kevin Nolan made two changes to the starting XI.

With captain Mathieu Baudry serving the first of a four match suspension, Nolan handed defender Peter Ramage his debut to partner Shaun Brisley in the centre of defence, while Armand Gnanduillet came in to join Jay Simpson up front.

Calaum Jahraldo-Martin dropped down to the bench, which also included second-year scholar Aron Pollock as well as Lloyd James – who was named in the matchday squad for the first time since December 19 following an Achilles injury.

On another chilly afternoon Orient started the livelier of the sides, though were unable to create many openings inside the first 10 minutes.

That was to change on the 12th minute however when the first real action of the afternoon proved to be a telling one, as Jobi McAnuff split the Morecambe defence with a wonderful through ball to which Jay Simpson was then brought down by Shrimps goalkeeper Barry Roche – who then subsequently shown a red card by referee Ben Toner.

Simpson then stepped up to take the spot-kick against substitute goalkeeper Keiron O’Hara following a three minute stoppage, but was to be left frustrated as the Manchester United loanee got a leg to his central effort and put it over the bar for a corner.

Despite failing to capitlaise with the penalty Orient continued to push forward in the ensuing minutes, and Simpson’s strike partner Armand Gnanduillet came close next when he fired a shot over after Jerome Binnom-Williams had headered Sean Clohessy’s cross back across goal.

Clohessy was delivering a lot of crosses in from the right as Morecambe found themselves increasingly pushed back in their own half, and Simpson saw a header held by O’Hara just before the half hour mark before the Shrimps keeper produced a brilliant save to tip Gnanduillet’s powerful header from six-yards onto the crossbar.

As half time approached Simpson then another chance in stoppage time when Gnanduillet smashed a ball across the box from the left which was kept alive well by Clohessy to eventually drop at his feet, but the O’s top scorer was once again denied as O’Hara dived well to his left to ensure the sides went into the break.

Having amassed 72 per cent possession during the first half, Orient decided to make two changes at the break as the introduced two ball playing midfielders in the form of Sammy Moore and Lloyd James in place of Nigel Atangana and Clohessy, meaning Jobi McAnuff took the captain’s armband.

James was making his first attendance in exactly three months, and the midfielder nearly marked his return with a goal on the 51st of the minute when he curled a free-kick from 20-yards into the side-netting.

Orient had started the second half just like they had ended the first as the dominated proceedings, and Binnom-Williams became the latest player to be denied by O’Hara as his overlap down the left resulted with his shot across goal behind pushed behind for a corner.

O’Hara was then at it again on the 55th minute when Gnanduillet produced a brilliant snapshot from the edge of the box which looked destined for the bottom corner, only for the keeper to touch it round the post before then getting a strong hand to Shaun Brisley’s header from the resulting corner.

With the score remaining goalless Orient then made their final change of the afternoon with just under 25 minutes left to play as Nolan gave way for Ollie Palmer as the hosts went even more attacking and changed to a 4-3-3 formation.

As time went on the hosts were continuing to be frustrated by their opponents, and with 77 minutes gone the O’s were denied by the woodwork for a second time when Brisley’s cross was met by Palmer at the back stick, but his header bounced off the top of the bar before going behind.

It looked as though luck was not to be on Orient’s side, but with 10 minutes remaining their fortunes changed completely when they finally took the lead as Binnom-Williams brilliant cross from the left found a way beyond O’Hara when Alan Goodall’s clearance came back off Ryan Edwards to cross the line. 

The goal was far from pretty but no less than the O’s deserved, and having managed to see out the final stages recorded a second successive victory to move back into the Play-Offs and up to 7th with nine games remaining.

ORIENT: Cisak, Hunt, Ramage, Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy (C) (Moore HT), Atangana (James HT), Nolan (Palmer 67), McAnuff, Gnanduillet, Simpson

SUBS: Gregory, Pollock, Turgott, Jahraldo-Martin

GOALS: Edwards OG (80)

BOOKINGS: Nolan (63), James (90+3)

MORECAMBE: Roche, Beeley (C), Edwards, Goodall, Conlan (Wildig 85), Kenyon, Fleming, Devitt (O’Hara 14), Barkhuizen, Ellison, Miller (McGowan 73)

SUBS: Molyneux, Mullin, Wildig, Stockton, McKnight

BOOKINGS: Miller (61), Ellison (78)

SENT OFF: Roche (12)

REFEREE: Ben Toner

ATTENDANCE: 4,442 (102)