access_time 8 months ago

Conor Thomas’ first half penalty was the difference as Orient fell to a narrow defeat away at promotion chasing Cheltenham Town.

Interim Manager Jobi McAnuff made two changes from the side that drew at home to Walsall on Easter Monday.

Hector Kyprianou replaced Ouss Cissé at half time against the Saddlers, and the Cypriot continued in that role for this one, after the former Gillingham man was ruled out through injury.

The other alteration saw Dan Happe return to the starting line-up in place of on loan West Ham defender Tunji Akinola.

Ben Tozer’s long throws have caused considerable threat for the Robins throughout this campaign. And just five minutes in, one of the defender’s trademark hurls caused havoc in the O’s box, as a flick on by a Cheltenham body forced Lawrence Vigouroux to tip the ball over his own crossbar.

Coming into this one sitting in second place in the league, Michael Duff’s side continued their impressive start four minutes later. The remnants of a Tozer throw eventually fell to Andy Williams in the box, however he fired wide from just outside the six-yard box.

Orient grew into the half and looked to press the home side high up the pitch. In particular, the tireless running of Danny Johnson caused problems for Josh Griffiths in the home goal. On a couple of occasions early in the first half, The O’s striker almost robbed the ‘keeper before the on-loan West Brom man eventually scrambled the ball up field.

Cheltenham’s direct play eventually led to the opening goal of the game. A long ball over the top saw Williams and Vigouroux battle for it in the box, a collision which the referee adjudged as an infringement in favour of the Robins forward.

Conor Thomas made no mistake from the spot as he calmly slotted his penalty past the Chilean to give his side the lead, shortly after the half hour mark.

They could have doubled their advantage ten minutes before the break when Chris Hussey skewed one wide after a long throw broke to him in the box, in what proved to be the last effort of the first half.

Cheltenham picked up where they left off in the first period, immediately following the interval. A ball into the box landed at the feet of Callum Wright, who saw his strike foiled by a superb last-ditch block from Jamie Turley.

As the second half wore on, the home side continued to pepper the O’s box with long balls forward. This time only a late intervention from Kyprianou prevented the Robins from adding another.

Against the run of play, Orient almost found an equaliser ten minutes into the second period. Dan Kemp’s precise free kick was met well by Conor Wilkinson, but the forward was denied by an acrobatic save from Griffiths.

Shortly afterwards, McAnuff made his first change. Joe Widdowson the man to make way for Tristan Abrahams, in a switch that saw James Brophy move to full back.

Duff’s side had another opportunity to double their lead when a free kick from deep fell to Liam Sercombe. The former Bristol Rovers man then let fly with a low driven strike that Vigouroux did excellently to turn away.

With time running out, McAnuff made his second substitution in the 80th minute, as Nick Freeman replaced Craig Clay in the heart of midfield.

Orient enjoyed their best spell of possession in the final stages as they probed for an equaliser, however the home side soaked up everything The O’s threw at them to hold on for victory.

ORIENT: Vigouroux, Ling, Turley, Happe, Widdowson (Abrahams 56’), Kyprianou, Clay (Freeman 80’), Wilkinson, Kemp, Brophy, Johnson

SUBS: Sargeant, Coulson, McAnuff, Dennis, Akinola

BOOKED: Vigouroux, Turley



CHELTENHAM: Griffiths, Long, Tozer, Raglan, Blair, Hussey, Thomas, Sercombe, Wright (Azaz 80’), Williams (Smith 67”), May (Lloyd 89’)

SUBS: Flinders, Freestone, Chapman, Vassilev

BOOKED: Thomas

GOALS: Thomas 31’


REF: Thomas Bramall