Shrews tamed by dominant O's
GOALS from Mathieu Baudry and Kevin Lisbie were enough to give Orient a 2-0 victory in a dominant performance in their first visit to the New Meadow.
The O’s controlled long periods against a lacklustre Shrewsbury side and took a deserved lead on 33 minutes when Baudry rose to glance home a cross from the lively Dean Cox.
Having had a claim for penalty denied in the first period, the O’s sealed the game early in the second period when Romain Vincelot was hacked down in the box and Lisbie coolly dispatched his second penalty in as many games.
Russell Slade again shuffled his pack as Lloyd James and Lee Cook returned to the midfield whilst Kevin Lisbie started his first game since January 8 to play up front alongside Charlie MacDonald. Jimmy Smith, Moses Odubajo and Martin Rowlands dropped to the bench as the O’s manager returned to a 4-4-2 formation.
The game started in frantic fashion as Shrewsbury adopted a direct approach and they came closest to breaking the deadlock with eight minutes gone when Chris Porter flashed a header across goal but his effort rolled just wide.
Five minutes later and the O’s had their first chance when Cook put in Lisbie with an excellent cross that the latter brought down well but scuffed his effort softly into the ground.
The O’s started to dominate and Dean Cox forced a great save from Chris Weale with 14 minutes gone and then soon after wanted a penalty when he was upended in the area but to his dismay, referee Tony Harrington booked the winger for diving.
It looked a harsh decision and the sense of injustice seemed to spur Cox on as on 26 minutes he hit another shot that was spilled by Weale who recovered well to prevent Lisbie smashing in the rebound.
Seven minutes later and Orient were in front. Cox played a quick one-two from a corner with Cook and whipped a perfect ball in for Baudry to head home.
The Shrews responded brightly but Orient thought they had made it 2-0 just two minutes later when Cox again put in a great ball for Lisbie who volleyed in superbly but the flag had gone up for offside.
Orient continued to press but goalkeeper Jamie Jones kept them in front with a terrific save from Jon Taylor’s deflected shot on the brink of half time.
The second period was a more frantic affair as the home side upped their direct approach and aimed ball after ball at the Orient penalty area and nearly got back in it on 48 minutes when a cross from Matt Richards was volleyed wide by Tom Eaves.
However three minutes later extended their lead when Cox bent in a great ball from a corner and defender David McAllister crashed into Vincelot as the Frenchman looked to pounce. Lisbie stepped up for the resulting spot kick and rolled the ball to the right of Weale to make it three goals in three games since his return from injury.
Jon Taylor looked the only threat from the home side and he flashed a shot across the face of goal on the hour mark but other than a string of set plays and aimless balls towards the O’s box, Jones rarely looked in danger of being beaten.
One disappointment for Slade would have been losing skipper Nathan Clarke to a rib injury on 65 minutes, although his departure did present the opportunity for Elliot Omozusi to get some much needed minutes under his belt as he came on at right-back and Scott Cuthbert shuffled into the middle.
The Shrews threw men forward and the O’s could have twice stretched their lead in the final stages as firstly Cox fired a left footed drive narrowly wide and then deep into injury time, substitute Moses Odubajo robbed Cameron Gayle and slipped in MacDonald but the former MK Dons man sliced his effort past the post.
It was a commanding performance from the O’s who are now four unbeaten and seven points off the play-off places.
SHREWSBURY: Weale; Jacobson, Jones, Mambo, Gayle; Richards (c), McAllister (Parry 74), Summerfield, Taylor; Eaves, Porter (Morgan 66)
SUBS: Anyon, Purdie, McGinn, Goldson, Rodgers
BOOKINGS: Eaves (72)
ORIENT: Jones; McSweeney, Clarke (c) (Omozusi 65), Baudry, Cuthbert; Cook, James, Vincelot, Cox; MacDonald, Lisbie (Odubajo 61)
SUBS: Smith, Grainger, Rowlands
BOOKINGS: Cox (23), Jones (87), Cook (90)
REFEREE: Tony Harrington
ATTENDANCE: 5274 (382 AWAY)