McAnuff made one change from the side that defeated Carlisle in mid-week. The O’s Interim Manager dropped himself to the bench, which allowed James Brophy to return to the starting eleven following a two-game suspension.
Orient began the brighter of the two sides and moved the ball with purpose in the early stages. A neat move between Brophy and Kemp eventually led to it breaking to the former Swindon man inside the box, though on his weaker right foot, he failed to keep his effort on target.
That early pressure paid off in the eighth minute when Wilkinson gave the home side the lead. A misplaced pass from Latics defender Harry Clarke left Orient’s number nine through on goal. Faced with a good amount of space, but a tight angle, the forward then rifled an impressive strike past Laurie Walker to shatter the deadlock and net his third in as many games.
Keith Curle’s side did grow into the game following the opener however, and they had a decent chance mid-way through the first period. On loan Leeds midfielder McCalmont broke with the ball through the O’s midfield, before unleashing a shot from just outside the ‘d’ that flashed past Lawrence Vigouroux’s far post.
They came even closer five minutes later. Conor McAleny found space outside the area and let fly, with only the inside of the post preventing an equaliser.
The O’s started to carve out chances of their own ten minutes before the interval. Only a last-ditch tackle from Kyle Jameson prevented Wilkinson from grabbing a second, following some good work from Brophy. Before Kemp dragged one wide from distance.
Orient’s top scorer Danny Johnson came close to doubling his side’s lead in the 40th minute. The forward forced Walker into a good save after he had turned Carl Piergianni to get his strike away. From the resulting corner, Jamie Turley nodded narrowly wide from Kemp’s out-swinging delivery.
The O’s second eventually came two minutes before the break. The ball landed at the feet of Kemp some 25 yards from goal, the former West Ham man did excellently to drive inside and curl one into the far corner to double his side’s advantage.
It almost got even better for the home side in first half stoppage time. Kemp picked out Brophy with a wonderful pass, the winger then wriggled away from his man and got a shot off that Walker did well to parry away.
McAnuff’s side picked up where they left off following the interval. A lovely flowing move eventually saw Brophy deliver a cross into Johnson at the near post, the forward attempted an audacious back heel flick towards goal but was unable to get it on target.
Orient continued to threaten and created another chance to extend their lead in the 55th minute. Kemp found Widdowson with a great through ball, however the full back was denied by Walker, who did well to smother the ball away at his near post.
Oldham looked to grab a goal back from a set piece, though it was the O’s who capitalised on a poor delivery and broke away on the counter. Ouss Cissé picked out Brophy with a pin-point pass over the top, he then played in Kemp who was unsuccessful in his attempt to dink one over Walker.
McAnuff made a double change on the hour mark. Cissé and goal scorer Wilkinson the men to make way for the O’s interim manager himself and Louis Dennis.
The Latics pulled one back shortly afterwards when McCalmont curled one in from the edge of the box. They then spurned a glorious chance to equalise five minutes later, as Davis Keillor-Dunn blazed over in the box.
Orient could have added another when a great bit of ingenuity from Kemp saw him find Dennis with a quick free kick, however the former Portsmouth man was denied by Walker at the near post.
McAnuff found the ball at his feet after the Latics defence cleared Kemp’s corner. The former Jamaican international then stung Walker’s palms with a rasping strike from range.
A third O’s change came six minutes from time, as Johnson was replaced by Tristan Abrahams.
The visitors huffed and puffed in the five minutes added on by referee Darren Drysdale. Raphael Diarra and Carl Piergianni both had headed efforts, however the O’s held on to claim a third win in as many games which leaves them just four points off of the playoff places.
ORIENT: Vigouroux, Akinola, Turley, Happe, Widdowson, Cissé (McAnuff 60”), Clay, Wilkinson (Dennis 60”), Kemp, Brophy, Johnson (Abrahams 84”)
SUBS: Sargeant, Ling, Coulson, Dayton
GOALS: Wilkinson 8”, Kemp 42”
OLDHAM: Walker, Adams (Borthwick-Jackson 81”), Badan (Fage 70”), Jameson, Piergianni, Clarke, Whelan, McCalmont, McAleny, Keillor-Dunn, Hilssner (Diarra 55”)
SUBS: Bilboe, Ntambwe, Sutton, Vaughan
BOOKED: McAleny, McCalmont, Pieriganni
GOALS: McCalmont 61”
REF: Darren Drysdale