Jorge Grant had given the visitors a first half lead, before Stead doubled the Magpies advantage. Back came the O’s though as Paul McCallum pulled one back and then Teddy Mezague levelled with nine minutes left.
However, Danny Webb’s side were undone minutes later as Stead secured a late win for the visitors.
Orient made three changes to the side which won 3-2 at Plymouth Argyle as Teddy Mezague and Nigel Atangana came in for the suspended Nicky Hunt and Liam Kelly, while Paul McCallum returned to skipper the side in place of Dalby.
The O’s were dealt an early blow when Tom Parkes was stretchered off with only eight minutes on the clock, and that meant an early reshuffle with Sam Dalby coming on in his place.
Semedo moved to left back, with Callum Kennedy coming in to partner Mezague at the heart of the Orient defence, while Massey moved to left midfield and Dalby went up top alongside skipper for the day Paul McCallum.
Chances were few and far between in the early stages but a quick attack started by Sargeant in goal released the in-form Gavin Massey.
Massey beat his man and proceeded to run through on goal before seeing a shot blocked and then fired the rebound across goal, however, Dalby or McCallum couldn’t get the decisive goalbound touch.
Collins’ free-kick from wide on the right found the head of McCallum and his effort was gathered by Magpies goalkeeper Adam Collin under pressure.
Notts County had little threat early on with a Mark Yeates free-kick into the wall the nearest they came, with both Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi finding it difficult to keep on side.
Koroma was then presented with an opportunity to run at the visitors defence and with McCallum clear to his left, the winger opted to go it alone and was crowded out by the Magpies backline.
But with their first real chance of the game in the 35th minute Jorge Grant converted as he slotted past an onrushing Sargeant after the ball was threaded to him for his second in as many games.
Orient were undeterred by the setback though and a neat one-two between Massey and Semedo resulted in the latter firing over the bar.
Duffy almost put past his own net as the half drew to a close following Massey’s looping ball into the box and the corner was then scrambled clear as Orient ended the half on top.
No changes were made at the break by either side but the visitors found themselves doubling their advantage when Jon Stead’s looping effort went in off the underside of the bar.
The game had barely restarted and the O’s were back in it when a ball in from the right was headed goalwards by Atangana. His header struck the bar and it came back to skipper McCallum who gave the hosts a lifeline.
The home faithful were certainly behind the boys all the way, with the atmosphere once again electric as Atangana saw a header from Judd’s cross deflected behind for a corner.
Up the other end Kennedy had to be alert to clear off the line to deny Shola Ameobi’s goalbound header, before Sargeant held a header from Grant and a strike from Ameobi in a matter of minutes.
Kennedy then flashed a clearance past his own goal as Notts County started to create the more clear-cut chances, despite the O’s perseverance.
Back came Orient though and another curling effort from Massey forced Collin into a good save and then a Judd ball in was deflected behind for a corner.
Another lofted delivery into the box from Judd almost allowed Atangana to get a decisive touch, but the Magpies kept Orient at bay again.
If you keep banging on the door then eventually they will let you in. And with 81 minutes on the clock the O’s levelled.
Massey saw another goalbound effort blocked and it fell kindly to Teddy Mezague and he rifled home first time.
No sooner had the hosts levelled though then Notts County were back in front as that man Stead fired home from just inside the box after the O’s failed to deal with a ball in from the left.
Five minutes of stoppage time were awarded but the O’s couldn’t muster a late chance of a leveller as they were left to think what may have been once more.
ORIENT: Sargeant, Judd, Mezague, Parkes (Dalby 10), Kennedy, Koroma, Atangana, Collins, Semedo, McCallum, Massey.
SUBS: Grainger, Moore, Liburd, Moncur, Alzate, Clark.
GOALS: McCallum (49), Mezague (81).
BOOKED: Semedo (30), Koroma (63)
NOTTS COUNTY: Collin, Hewitt, Milsom, Duffy, Bola, Clackstone, O’Connor, Grant, Yeates (Thompson 79), Stead (Smith 90), Ameobi.
SUBS: Loach, Dickinson, Hollis, Forte, Campbell.
GOALS: Grant (35), Stead (48, 84)
BOOKED: Duffy (38), Yeates (62), O’Connor (75), Thompson (90+1)
REFEREE: Brett Huxtable.
Attendance: 5,585 (705 Notts County fans).