Drinan was at the heart of a rampant O’s display, with his two goals added to with two assists, to mark a stunning return to the starting eleven.
Kenny Jackett made two changes from last week’s goalless stalemate away at Stevenage. Craig Clay and Aaron Drinan replaced Ruel Sotiriou and Hector Kyprianou in the starting line-up while Callum Reilly was brought to the bench.
Hartlepool made three changes from the team that made an exciting comeback against Harrogate last Saturday. Mark Shelton, Neill Byrne and Jamie Sterry all made way for Gary Liddle, Gavan Holohan and Reagan Ogle.
The O’s were lethal in front of goal, scoring both key chances through Aaron Drinan and Harry Smith. Orient were also defensively solid not allowing Hartlepool to have any clear cut chances in the first 45 minutes.
The first chance of the game fell to Hartlepool after 15 minutes. David Ferguson’s free-kick from the edge of the box was dipping towards the top corner of Lawrence Vigouroux’s goal, but luckily went over the bar.
Orient opened the scoring after 20 minutes through a fierce strike from Aaron Drinan outside the Hartlepool box. Harry Smith held the ball well on the edge of the box before laying it off to Drinan who curled his strike into the bottom corner, out of reach of the diving Jonathan Mitchell in the Pools goal.
Orient came close to making it two when Drinan’s cross almost found the head of Harry Smith, who was beaten in the air by Mitchell’s punch.
Orient did make it 2-0 after 35 minutes. Hartlepool got caught out in their own half after having just been awarded a free-kick which they thought warranted a second yellow card for Darren Pratley. Orient won possession and found Smith on the edge of the box with the freedom of E10 around him before calmly slotting the ball under Mitchell to double Orients advantage.
Hartlepool almost got one back just before the break as a through ball was payed into the path of Mark Cullen who was just beaten to the ball by Alex Mitchell who made a fantastic interception to keep the score 2-0.
The second half kicked-off in bizarre fashion as the referee brought the two sides out and played the four minutes of additional time, which he had opted not to play in the first half.
Deep into “stoppage time” Aaron Drinan had the ball in the back of the net before the linesman’s flag went up for offside. After the four minutes the ref called a halt to play and kicked-off the second half from the centre circle.
The O’s made it three through Tom James. A quick counter-attack saw half the Orient side charging against a few Hartlepool defenders. Drinan found James who stuck it first time inside the Pools penalty area to make it 3-0 and finish the game as a contest.
Orient continued to dominate the second half and almost got their fourth goal of the afternoon through Dan Kemp. A brilliant through ball by Hector Kyprianou found Kemp in the box but was left with little options and forced a smart save from Mitchell at a tight angle.
Orient did get their fourth ten minutes before the end of the game. Smith put pressure on Mitchell who panicked and kicked the ball straight to Drinan who then looped the ball over Mitchell from 25-yards out to send a packed out Breyer Group Stadium into raptures.
Hartlepool did get an effort on target late on as David Ferguson hit a strike from the edge of the box which Vigouroux caught with ease.
Straight down the other end, Orient put the final nail in Hartlepool’s coffin as Aaron Drinan completed his hattrick. Smith’s header at goal hit the post and fell nicely Drinan on the goal line who simply tapped in his third of the day.
Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, James, Clay, Smith, Kemp, Archibald, Mitchell, Drinan (Reilly 85’), Pratley (Kyprianou 45’), Beckles, Ogie
Unused substitutes: Wood, Happe, Omotoye, Sotiriou
Goals: Drinan 20’ 79’ 90+1’, Smith 35’, James 50’
Booked: Pratley 14’, Clay 29’
Hartlepool United: Mitchell, Ferguson, Liddle, Featherstone, Cullen (Grey 60’), Molyneux, Holohan, Ogle (Odusina 55’), Fancis-Angol (Fondop 50’), Hendrie, Daly
Unused substitutes: Killip, Shelton, Jones, Crawford
Booked: Featherstone 23’, Holohan 39’
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 6233 (673)