A George Elokobi leveller in the second half was not enough for the O’s as McDonnell sealed all three points for Aldershot Town.
Head Coach Justin Edinburgh named striker Dan Holman in his starting eleven for the first time this weekend, while fellow new signing Ebou Adams, who made his debut in the FA Trophy against Bognor Regis started on the bench this afternoon.
The O’s last met Aldershot on 23 September when Craig Clay and a late second half strike from Romuald Boco earned Orient a point in Hampshire.
Orient wasted no time in seizing the initiative, breaking the deadlock inside the opening 20 seconds. Jobi McAnuff threaded a well weighted pass into the path of Macauley Bonne who calmly slotted the ball through the legs of Aldershot goalkeeper Lewis Ward.
After the best possible start, Orient continued with a physical approach and looked to get forward at pace when the opportunities arose. Meanwhile, Aldershot were attempting to get a foothold in the game after the early setback.
It had been an enjoyable opening twenty minutes for the O’s fans, who had seen their team take the game to one of the division’s top sides. However, Aldershot were showing signs of growing into the game when Lewis Kinsella’s teasing cross was palmed away for a corner by a flying Dean Brill in the Orient goal.
This was a lively encounter with the next chance falling Orient’s way. McAnuff cut inside from the left before drilling a low shot that was well held by Ward with Bonne lurking in the six-yard box.
Then, it was Aldershot’s turn to cause the hosts concern with Josh McQuoid twisting and turning on the edge of the box before seeing his left-footed effort deflected behind for another corner.
For Orient, Bonne was clearly in the mood to add to his personal tally, taking down an aerial ball before firing a dipping effort over the crossbar from range. Moments later, the O’s came close to doubling their lead again. McAnuff rolled the ball into debutant Dan Holman whose precise effort was brilliantly saved by Ward low to his left.
Next, it was Holman who turned provider as he evaded his marker before pulling the ball back to an unmarked Bonne who fluffed his lines from close range. Orient were finding space, producing some neat interchanges, but needed to sharpen the final product.
Unfortunately, James Dayton picked up an injury which forced him off in the 43rd minute, with Josh Koroma coming on in his place. Immediately, Aldershot found their equaliser when Shamir Fenelon raced onto a through ball and tucked it low into the bottom corner beyond Brill.
At half-time, Orient would have been disappointed not to extend their lead after the perfect start and frustrated to go into the break on level terms.
Aldershot got the second half underway and took the lead inside the first two minutes. James Rowe’s curling free kick came back off the crossbar, dropping for Will Evans who nodded home from close range sending the travelling fans into raptures.
However, with 53 minutes played Orient found an equaliser to reignite the atmosphere from the home fans at Brisbane Road. McAnuff delivered a corner from the left which was met by George Elokobi who produced a left-footed bicycle kick that flew into the back of the net.
On 57 minutes, Orient were looking to build on Elokobi’s equaliser as McAnuff saw his low right-footed effort drift wide of the post. It was a close match, with both sides looking to go on and find a winning goal.
With fifteen minutes to play, it was Aldershot who went in front when Adam McDonnell fizzed a powerful low shot towards goal which squirmed beneath Brill giving the visitors a 3-2 lead.
However, Orient could have equalised moments later when substitute Matt Harrold headed straight at Ward. Then, a scramble in the box saw Bonne denied by Ward once again.
Holman had the chance to draw level once again for the O’s after he latched on to a header, but the forward blazed his effort over the bar as Aldershot claimed all three points.
ORIENT: Brill, Caprice, Lawless (Harrold 80’), Elokobi (Reynolds 83’), McAnuff, Bonne, Coulson, Clay, Happe, Dayton (Koroma 43’), Holman
SUBS: Sargeant, Adams
GOALS: Bonne (1’), Elokobi (53’)
BOOKED: Lawless (45 + 3’), Koroma (66’)
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Ward, Alexander, Evans, Fenelon (McClure 85’), Oyeleke, Rendell, McQuoid (Kabamba 63’), Rowe (Gallagher 85’), McDonnell, Kinsella, Fowler
SUBS: Cole, Taylor
GOALS: Fenelon (44’), Evans (48’), McDonnell (75’)
REFEREE: Peter Wright
ATTENDANCE: 5,728 (1,204 Aldershot)