Ruthless O's stay top of the table after 4-0 victory on Merseyside
Orient romped to a 4-0 away victory at Prenton Park as ten-man Tranmere Rovers were put to sword in a ruthless second-half performance.
Kevin Lisbie set the O’s on their way in the first half after fine work from Lloyd James before the veteran bagged his 11th of the season in second period before Dean Cox and substitute Shaun Batt completed the rout after Ian Goodison was given his marching orders for lashing out at Lisbie.
The O’s could even afford a missed second half penalty after David Mooney struck the woodwork and had his rebounded effort ruled out after no other player touched the ball.
It was the manner of the performance that will have pleased Slade most as his side continued to pour forward in the second period despite having the game sewn up.
Slade stuck with the line-up tried and tested on so many occasions this season as Elliot Omozusi, an injury doubt in the week, was adjudged fit enough to start at Prenton Park as the O’s set about making it a dozen games unbeaten for the 2013-14 campaign.
After a shaky start Orient soon settled and enjoyed some decent spells of possession before creating a glorious opportunity to take the lead with just seven minutes gone. Dean Cox burst inside from the left flank and combined with Moses Odubajo perfectly to slip the latter in on goal but under pressure, the O’s youngster dragged his shot wide of the target when he looked certain to score.
Orient were resolute in their shape and started to keep the ball with the swagger of a side top of the table and when Romain Vincelot robbed Tom Hateley of possession six minutes later, he slipped in Kevin Lisbie who looked set to charge through on goal but the referee Richard Clark brought play for a foul on the Frenchman, a decision which angered the O’s.
The O’s would not have to wait too much longer for their goal which came with 22 minutes played thanks to the drive of Lloyd James. The O’s midfielder picked up the ball from David Mooney 40 yards from the Tranmere goal and with space in front of him drove forwards past two men all the way to the by-line. Opting to cross, he picked out Lisbie who kept his cool to drill a low strike past Fon Williams into the bottom corner.
The goal sparked the game into life and the home side almost found themselves level straightaway when Ash Taylor made good contact with a header from six yards that brought the best out of Jamie Jones who was at full stretch to tip it onto the post.
It triggered a good spell for the home side but Orient were equal to it and weathered the storm with James continuing to pull the strings and dictate the play at a canter.
Five minutes from the interval the O’s were a whisker away from extending their lead when Nathan Clarke popped up on the right following a long throw and curled an inch perfect cross into the box for his fellow centre-back Mathieu Baudry who made good contact with a header that beat Fon Williams but bounced back off the post as the O’s were forced to settle for a 1-0 lead at the interval.
Dark skies welcomed the second period as the rain came down on Merseyside and Orient almost extended their lead straightaway. The ever-energetic Vincelot stood a ball up to the back-post where Dean Cox slid to deter the ball back across the face of goal but inches away from Mooney who was at full stretch attempting to poke it home.
The rain continued to fall which added at an extra zip to the surface as both sets of players took time to adjust to the new conditions before the action exploded again.
First of all Orient extended their lead on the hour mark when Cox cut in from the right and hit a shot that looked to be heading wide until Lisbie used all his cunning to curl the ball up and over Fon Williams into the top corner.
A crazy five minutes followed when first of all Tranmere skipper Ian Goodison was dismissed after appearing to lash out Lisbie. After a lengthy delay, a penalty was given which Mooney stepped up to take. The forward hit the post with his initial effort but turned the rebound in. After reeling off in celebration, the referee’s assistant raised his flag and pulled play back to overturn the goal after the referee was reminded that no one had touched the ball other than the post from his initial strike, meaning play would restart with an indirect free-kick.
However the O’s would not have to wait long for their three goal cushion however when James again broke free from midfield before being dragged down by Ryan Lowe. The referee allowed to play continue and the ball spun loose to Cox who cut inside on to his right foot and bent a cool finish into the bottom corner to surely put the game to bed.
The home side were in disarray and the O’s went for the jugular as they piled men forwards in the final stages. The positivity brought rewards as substitute Batt sealed things with 84 minutes gone. Yohann Lasimant replaced Odubajo with ten minutes to go and was straight into the action as he rounded up a loose ball and drove forwards unchallenged from his own half. Choosing the unselfish option, Lasimant slipped in Batt, who was lurking in the left channel, and the former Millwall man took care of the rest with a composed finished across the goalkeeper to cap a memorable trip to Merseyside.
Tranmere (4-5-1): Fon Williams, McNulty, Taylor, Goodison (C), Holmes, Ridehalgh (Baggie 62), Hateley (Sodje 62), Atkinson, Power, Kirby, Lowe
Subs: Horwood, Rowe, Stockton, Koumas, Watkins
Yellows: Ridehalgh (45) Lowe (77)
Red: Goodison (63)
Orient (4-4-2): Jones, Omozusi, Baudry, Clarke (C), Cuthbert, Cox, Vincelot, James, Odubajo (Lasimant 81), Mooney (Stockley 85), Lisbie 8 (Batt 72)
Subs: Sawyer, Larkins, Gorman, Bartley
Goals: Lisbie 22, 60. Cox 77, Batt 84
Yellows: Baudry 55
Referee: Richard Clark