Stanley skipper Sean McConville was shown his marching orders for pulling back Gavin Massey in the first half, and after a number of chances, Simpson’s scrappy finish from close range was enough to seal the much-needed win.
The O’s made three changes from the side which lost out 3-1 last time out at Doncaster Rovers with Gavin Massey, Nicky Hunt and Jordan Bowery all returning in place of Aron Pollock, Michael Collins and Ollie Palmer respectively.
It was a bright start from Edwards’ side and a floated ball in from Massey found Bowery only for the striker’s shot to be blocked, before the visitors went straight up the other end and were denied by a fine block from Tom Parkes.
The game then settled down with neither forcing either goalkeeper into action, with Scott Brown going closest when he flashed an effort wide from inside the box.
From the 23rd minute onwards the O’s would be playing against 10 men as Stanley skipper Sean McConville was shown his marching orders.
Jay Simpson had produced an exquisite throughball for Gavin Massey who was then pulled down by McConville. After a long deliberation with his assistant Stuart Butler, referee Darren Drysdale sent the skipper off, before handing O’Sullivan a yellow card for dissent.
From the free-kick the O’s went closest yet as Kennedy, who scored a wonder set piece last time out at Doncaster, fired another effort goalwards, only to see it creep wide of the post with Aaron Chapman at full stretch in the Stanley goal.
Kennedy tried his luck once more just past the half hour mark but fired over, before Parkes played a lovely throughball for Massey.
The winger then played in Bowery who was just unable to connect with the delivery, before Atangana fired over.
The O’s were trying to exploit the extra man out wide and Atangana superbly won the ball back in the Accrington box. The ball eventually found its way back out to Massey who squared for Simpson but uncharacteristically he shot wide.
As the half drew to a close Atangana lost possession midway in the O’s half and that presented Jordan Clark the opportunity to run at the O’s defence. He got a shot away but Cisak comfortably gathered at the second attempt.
No changes were made at the break by either side, but it was the 10-man visitors who started the brighter. A whipped ball in from Matty Pearson found O’Sullivan who took one touch before firing goalwards, though it was comfortable for Cisak to hold.
Simpson flashed a shot wide of the post as the O’s continued to push for the opener and just short of the hour mark Bowery was replaced by Paul McCallum.
Atangana was certainly trying his utmost to break the deadlock and twice in quick succession he was denied. The first effort fell to him kindly in the box and his shot was deflected before Chapman was able to gather before then seeing an effort blocked from outside the box.
The O’s continued to push and they duly opened the scoring on 65 minutes when from Judd’s ball in Simpson was on hand to do the rest from close range. It may have been a scrappy finish, but they all count.
The lead was almost shortlived though as Parkes gave away possession on the left and presented an opportunity for O’Sullivan to square to Clark but Cisak saved superbly and then denied Gornell with the rebound.
Simpson was in the mood now and he let fly from just outside the box but saw his effort go inches over, before Massey saw a similar effort fall wide of the post.
Stanley sub Seamus McCartan flashed an effort into the side netting as the visitors looked for a way back and then with 10 minutes left skipper Weir fired over when the ball was laid into his path by Atangana.
Atangana fouled on the edge box in an inviting position for a Stanley free-kick but much to the relief of the O’s, McCartan’s effort was well over the bar and with that, the O’s picked up their first and much needed home league win since August 16.
Orient: Cisak, Judd (Mezague 79), Hunt, Parkes, Kennedy, Massey, Atangana, Weir (c), Semedo (Collins 87), Bowery (McCallum 58), Simpson.
Subs: Sargeant, Collins, Palmer, Nnomo, Dalby.
Goals: Simpson (65)
Accrington Stanley: Chapman, Pearson, Beckles, Hughes, Davies, O’Sullivan, Lacey, Brown, Clark, McConville (c), Gornell.
Subs: Little, Vyner, McCartan, Boco, Taylor-Fletcher, Hewitt, Conneely.
Booked: O’Sullivan (23)
Sent Off: McConville (23)
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 3,964 (152 Accrington Stanley fans)