The game got off to a frantic start, with both teams searching for an early breakthrough. A tidy Orient break ended in McAnuff dragging wide against his former club, after some great work from Craig Clay and Wilkinson.
The unkind weather conditions didn’t stop either team trying to play good football and the Boro almost took the lead through Danny Newton, but the Stevenage number 9 could only head over. The home side came again but this time Lawrence Vigouroux was required to turn Aitchison’s effort away from goal.
Stevenage enjoyed a good spell early in the first half and looked a threat from crosses into the box. Danny Newton latched onto a cute header but his shot from 12-yards was caught by the agile Vigouroux.
Down the other end, Wilkinson threatened from distance – his stinging strike whistled narrowly wide of Jamie Cumming’s goal.
Arthur Read was the next man in red to test the O’s Chilean shot-stopper. A Stevenage free-kick was cleared to the midfielder on the edge of the box, who drilled a low strike towards the bottom corner of the net but Vigouroux blocked the attempt on goal.
Cumming twice denied Orient the lead moments before half-time, first tipping a curling Wilkinson shot over the bar after the O’s countered from a Stevenage corner. From the resulting set-piece Dan Happe had the opportunity to shoot, but his left footed strike lacked the power needed to beat the goalkeeper and both teams went in at the break with the game goalless.
Ross Embleton was forced to shuffle his pack at half-time; Cypriot Ruel Sotiriou was forced off the field of play with a knock and was replaced by Jordan Maguire-Drew.
Alex Revell’s team looked to sneak into an early lead in the second-half but Vigouroux was on hand yet again to deny Elliott List, who had got the better of Happe, but couldn’t apply the finish with the angle against him.
The game was certainly an enjoyable one for the neutral, with both teams looing to attack once in possession of the football. Danny Johnson’s delicious through ball found Maguire-Drew in behind the defence and after weaving in and out, the O’s man forced Cumming into an important save at his near post.
Revell looked to change the course of the match with a double change on the hour, introducing Marsh and Effiong from the bench but the Stevenage Gaffer will have been startled by two Orient goals in quick succession.
Maguire-Drew’s relentless pressing won back possession and a quick one-two with johnson was enough for the O’s sub to wriggle free of his marker and fire his team ahead.
The goal sparked life into the team in black and the goal scorer was instrumental in the second goal too. A neat flick over his head set McAnuff away down the left channel and the Skipper pulled the ball to Conor Wilkinson, who made no mistake and smashed the ball into the net.
That goal would be McAnuff’s last involvement as Louis Dennis replaced the Jamaican to make his return from a back injury.
Stevenage looked to respond in the closing 20 minutes, but the match escaped them as The O’s defended professionally right until the final whistle to confirm another three points on the road, with yet another clean sheet.
Stevenage: Cumming, James-Wildin, Coker, Cuthbert, Osbourne, Newton (Effiong 61’), Hutton, List (Marsh 61’), Read, Marshall, Aitchinson
Subs: Johnson, Vincelot, Prosser, Carter, Oteh
Orient: Vigouroux, Akinola, Coulson, Happe, Brophy, Cisse, Clay, McAnuff (Dennis 66’), Sotiriou (Maguire-Drew 46’), Wilkinson (Wright 79’), Johnson
Subs: Sargeant, Widdowson, Dayton, Turley
Goals: Maguire-Drew 63’ Wilkinson 65’
REF: Darren Drysdale