Ryan Upward’s fifth minute goal was enough to see the visitors back to Berkshire with three points as Ebou Adams came close to snatching a draw in the dying moments in E10.
Head Coach Justin Edinburgh named an unchanged eleven from the 1-0 victory against Wrexham on Saturday. Dan Happe and Marvin Ekpiteta continued their partnership in central defence, meanwhile Jobi McAnuff captained the side as the O’s lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
In the reverse fixture against Maidenhead at York Road on August 28th, Macauley Bonne’s first half header was enough to secure all three points for the O’s on Bank Holiday Monday.
Under the lights in E10, Maidenhead got off to a blistering start when they opened the scoring inside five minutes. Alan Massey met a corner at the back post before nodding the ball across the danger area where Ryan Upward was waiting to tap it past Dean Brill in the O’s goal.
With 11 minutes played, some miscommunication between Brill and Happe almost let in Sean Marks only for the retreating Myles Judd to clear Orient’s lines. The home side were looking to regain their composure after an early setback and regain a foothold in the match.
The O’s were yet to create a clear-cut opportunity on goal with 25 minutes on the clock. However, they were looking to use the height of Happe and Ekpiteta from set-piece situations. At the other end, Upward tried his luck from distance but the shot flew straight into the arms of Brill.
Maidenhead had another chance to double their advantage with half an hour gone. James Comley’s cross was headed down towards Marks who failed to test Brill with an effort from close-range. Then, James Brophy won a free kick in a central position after a bold run but McAnuff failed to keep his shot down.
Just before the break, Josh Koroma drove towards the penalty area before firing a shot straight down the throat of visiting goalkeeper Carl Pentney. At half-time, the O’s went in a goal down after a lacklustre first 45 minutes. They needed more urgency in their play and creativity going forward in the second half.
Edinburgh introduced Charlie Lee at the break with Craig Clay making way in the O’s first substitution of the evening. Maidenhead were looking to extend their lead with Brill parrying Sam Barratt’s header before Comley’s shot was blocked.
For Orient, Brophy’s clever back heel found McAnuff who was shrugged off the ball in the area, but referee Adam Penwell waved away penalty shouts from the home supporters. Shortly after, Sam Ling’s long throw was cleared only as far as Lee who controlled before firing the ball over the crossbar.
On the hour mark, Orient made their second change of the night with Brophy coming off to be replaced by Lamar Reynolds. The O’s were seeing more of the ball and trying to force Maidenhead deeper into their own half.
A good chance arrived for the hosts on 63 minutes when Bonne fed the ball into McAnuff who broke into the box before miscuing his effort wide of the target. Then, tempers flared briefly when Lee was booked for a strong challenge on Comley before Bonne received a yellow card in the aftermath.
With twenty minutes remaining, the O’s had no choice but to commit players to the attack. They were trying to move the ball into the wide areas for Reynolds and Koroma and looked to get in behind the Maidenhead back line.
As Orient’s frustration began to grow, Ebou Adams was next to receive a booking midway inside the visitors’ half. Then, Maidenhead could have sealed the points with five minutes left when Comley pulled the ball back to Barratt whose powerful strike crashed off the crossbar.
The O’s were buoyed by six minutes of additional time which were greeted with a roar from the O’s faithful. Then, Maidenhead were reduced to ten men when goal scorer Upward was dismissed before McAnuff curled the resulting free-kick inches over the top.
With Orient’s last chance of the game, Reynolds showed great footwork to get to the by-line before pulling the ball back to Adams who blazed his effort over from the edge of the box.
Despite pushing for a late equaliser, the full-time whistle meant Orient were narrowly beaten in their final home game of the season.
ORIENT: Brill, McAnuff (C), Bonne, Judd, Koroma, Ekpiteta, Clay (Lee 45’), Happe, Brophy (Reynolds 60’), Adams, Ling.
SUBS: Grainger, Mooney, Clayden.
BOOKED: Lee (68’), Bonne (69’), Adams (83’)
MAIDENHEAD UNITED: Pentney, Steer, Odametey, Massey (C), Comley, Marks (Clifton 64’), Barratt, Owusu (Smith 90’), Upward, Goodman (Emmanuel 76’), Kilman.
BOOKED: Barratt (54’), Odametey (69’), Clifton (88’), Upward (90’).
SENT OFF: Upward (90’)
GOALS: Upward (5’)
ATTENDANCE: 3145 (67 Maidenhead)
REFEREE: Adam Penwell