Embleton made five changes from the draw against Mansfield Town a fortnight ago. Two of the alterations saw club captain Jobi McAnuff come into the midfield alongside Josh Wright, with Craig Clay and James Dayton dropping to the bench.
The visitors made a bright start in E10, but after weathering some early pressure Orient came very close to getting in behind the Robins defence. It looked as if a two on one situation was on as Conor Wilkinson broke away with the ball, however his pass was just behind Danny Johnson and the move fizzled out.
Cheltenham continued to bombard the Orient penalty area with crosses and one of those balls in eventually paid off in the 16th minute. Lawrence Vigouroux produced a good stop to initially keep out Andy Williams, but he was powerless as George Lloyd scrambled home the rebound.
Michael Duff’s side doubled their lead in the 29th minute. A pinpoint cross from Will Boyle was headed home by West Brom loanee Finn Azaz.
As they so often have this season, the O’s responded well to an early setback. Johnson looked to have clawed one back after he prodded home from inside the penalty area, however, much to his frustration, he was denied by the linesman’s flag.
Embleton’s side once again came close to pulling a goal back just before half time. Only the fingertips of Robins keeper Josh Griffiths prevented Louis Dennis from heading home Wright’s in-swinging corner.
Orient started the second half as they finished the first. Some superb distribution from Vigouroux set Wilkinson away down the right, his cross was met by Dennis on the volley but the former Portsmouth man was unable to keep his effort down.
Some nice footwork from McAnuff earned Orient a free-kick right on the edge of the box just before the hour mark. Wilkinson stepped up to take it and was extremely unfortunate to see his effort crash off of the crossbar.
In an attempt to get back into the game, Embleton elected to make a triple substitution in the 67th minute. Wilkinson, Dennis and Wright the men to make way for Lee Angol, Ruel Sotiriou and Jordan Maguire-Drew.
The switch almost paid dividends instantly. Sotiriou saw two efforts blocked inside the six-yard box after a teasing ball in from Angol, Maguire-Drew then had his strike blocked as he followed up.
The triple change proved to light a spark under the O’s as they produced another good opportunity. McAnuff played in Brophy down the left who flashed a cross towards Johnson, however, slightly off balance, the inform forward shot over.
As the match drifted towards its conclusion, Orient just couldn’t quite manage to put together an extended spell of pressure and were forced to accept their first defeat of the season at the hands of a well-drilled Robins side.
ORIENT: Vigouroux, Ling, Coulson, Widdowson, Brophy, Cissé, Wright (Angol 67”) McAnuff (C), Wilkinson (Maguire-Drew 67”), Johnson, Dennis (Sotiriou 67”)
SUBS: Sargeant, Happe, Clay, Maguire-Drew, Dayton, Angol, Sotiriou
BOOKED: Coulson, Brophy, McAnuff, Cissé, Sotiriou
CHELTENHAM: Griffiths, Hussey, Tozer (C), Raglan (Bonds 80”), Thomas, Blair, Williams, Boyle, Azaz (Clements 63”), Lloyd (May 58”), Sercombe
SUBS: Harris, Clements, Reid, Freestone, Sang
BOOKED: Bonds, Boyle
GOALS: Lloyd 16”, Azaz 29”
REF: Peter Wright