O's Up and Running
Orient got their season well and truly up and running as they came from behind with an excellent second half performance to seal a 3-1 win at Oldham.
Jonathan Forte had given the home side the lead but Darius Henderson grabbed a leveller almost straight away, before a dominant second half showing saw further goals for for David Mooney and Kevin Lisbie as the strikers got themselves in the goals.
Following the 120 minutes of football at Plymouth on Tuesday night, O’s manager Russell Slade again shuffled his pack as Henderson came in for his first start in an Orient shirt to partner Mooney with Jay Simpson playing on the right.
Scott Cuthbert was welcomed back into the defence with Elliot Omozusi making way as Orient looked to get their season up and running at a blustery and chilly Boundary Park.
The O’s wind played a part in the opening exchanges as both sides struggled to retain the ball in testing conditions for August.
There had been very little to talk about before the deadlock was shattered out of the blue by in-form striker Jonathan Forte with 15 minutes gone. Orient were caught on the counter as Carl Winchester led the charge and to his left was Forte who had found room in the channel to collect a pass and gallop through on goal before rolling past Legzdins.
The goal seemed to jolt Orient into life who didn’t have to wait long for their leveller. Dean Cox collected a mislaid Latics pass and spotted Henderson in space who beat the Oldham offside trap and slid a left footed shot past the goalkeeper to draw Orient level.
The tempo and rhythm that was missing came flooding back to the O’s who looked the more dangerous following the goal with the likes of Cox, Mooney and Henderson combining neatly.
The home side still looked a threat on the counter though and the O’s were thankful when home skipper Liam Kelly dragged an effort wide just after the half hour mark.
Cuthbert went close with a header from a Cox corner before Lowry sent in a dangerous ball for Simpson that was almost turned in as Orient looked a threat in attack, anchored in midfield by the tenacity and energy of Romain Vincelot and Bradley Pritchard.
Kelly squandered another good chance for the home side before the interval when he headed wide a cross from Jonson Clarke-Harris but the 1-1 scoreline at the interval was probably a fair reflection.
Orient started the second half far brighter than they did the first as they threatened from a series of set-plays and dangerous balls in the box, as Legzdins remained a bystander for much of the opening exchanges.
They soon got a reward for their dominance as last season’s top scorer David Mooney opened his account for the season. Cox fed Henderson who ran along the line and could’ve shot himself but opted to give it to Mooney to his right who showed great composure to tuck it in underneath Paul Rachubka.
The home side failed to find a route through as Orient pressed from a good shape and looked more solid and organised than they had in the first half.
With 120 minutes in their legs from Tuesday night, one might have expected the O’s to come up against it in the final quarter of the match but they continued to graft and press whilst Slade added a fresh pair of legs in the form of Jobi McAnuff.
The next new arrival was veteran Kevin Lisbie and what an impact he had. Having been on the pitch for no more than 30 seconds, he rose to head home Cox’s corner and score with his first touch.
It was just what the doctor ordered and will give the O's confidence ahead of another tough away trip to Bristol City on Tuesday.
ORIENT: Legzdins; Lowry, Clarke (C), Baudry, Cuthbert; Cox, Vincelot, Pritchard, Simpson (McAnuff 66); Henderson (Lisbie 79), Mooney
Subs: Omozusi, Sawyer, James, Lee, Woods
Goals: Henderson 20, Mooney 58, Lisbie 82
Bookings: Henderson 38, Lowry 45
OLDHAM: Rachubka, Brown, Mills, Dieng (Philliskirk 63), Elokobi, Kelly (C), Jones, Forte, Clarke-Harris (Noble 79), Winchester (Dayton 79), Wilson
Subs: Coleman, Gros, Mellor, Kusunga,
Goals: Forte 15
Referee: D Bond
Attendance: 3,754 (193)