Orient edge five-goal thriller in South WalesDean Cox’s second-half goal was enough to see Leyton Orient narrowly defeat Newport County 3-2 in a thrilling League Two encounter.
Orient got off to a dream start with two goals in the opening seven minutes, as first Paul McCallum powered home a header before Jay Simpson smashed in a left-footed strike from outside the box.
Two goals in a minute at the end of the first half turned the game on its head however as Scott Boden pulled one back and Mark Byrne curled in a 25-yard effort straight after.
Following a tough start to the second half Orient then regained the lead on the 58th minute as Dean Cox was on hand to slide home a Blair Turgott cross to extend the O’s winning run to four matches.
For the fourth successive League Two fixture Orient Head Coach Ian Hendon named the same starting line-up, as he made only one change to the squad from the win over Stevenage as Montel Agyemang replaced the injured Alan Dunne on the substitutes bench.
For the trip to South Wales, Orient wore their Thunderbird-esque away strip for the first time and managed to get off to a scintillating start.
Having been made to wait until the 76th minute on Tuesday night, the O’s broke the deadlock with their first attack thanks once again to the deadly partnership of Dean Cox and Paul McCallum.
Striker Jay Simpson got free down the right and drilled a low ball across the box that Cox managed to retrieve, before clipping the ball back in for McCallum to power in his third of the season with a header that went in off the underside of the bar.
Three minutes later the O’s managed to double their lead as McCallum’s strike partner Simpson notched an impressive solo goal.
With his back to goal, the forward received a pass from Sean Clohessy 20-yards out and took a single touch before rifling an unstoppable left-footed drive beyond the reach of Newport stopper Joe Day and into the top corner.
The two-goal advantage was no less than Orient deserved following the opening period and soon after McCallum came close to registering his second of the game when he met Cox’s volleyed cross with a diving header that flew over the bar.
The forward was proving to be a constant aerial threat for Ian Hendon’s side and with 28 minutes played he was denied by the woodwork when he got on the end of a Cox corner and saw his header bounce off the top of the crossbar three times, yes three, before going out.
As the half wore on the hosts started to grow into the tie however and centre-half Kevin Feely nearly pulled a goal back when he sent a header narrowly over from a Mark Byrne corner.
With only minutes of the first half remaining, Newport did manage to get one back when Scott Boden got onto a low cross from the left inside the penalty area and thumped a shot into the roof of the net.
Just like the O’s had at the start of the match, the Welsh outfit then grabbed a second immediately after with an impressive strike.
Newport’s captain Byrne was looking the liveliest for the hosts and the midfielder showed great leadership to level the tie with a curling effort from 25-yards that flew beyond the reach of Alex Cisak in the O's goal.
In first half stoppage time the turnaround was then nearly completed when full-back Danny Holmes received the ball inside the penalty area but saw his powerful attempt touched over by Cisak to bring an end to an exciting opening 45 minutes.
Buoyed by their quickfire double, Newport started the better following the break and Cisak was called into action early on to parry away a Feely header.
With the O’s up against it Hendon then made a double substitution on the 53rd minute.
Lloyd James and Simpson were both withdrawn as Blair Turgott and Ollie Palmer - who both scored from the bench against Stevenage in the week - came on in a move that saw Orient revert to a flat 4-4-2.
After weathering the storm Orient then managed to edge back in front somewhat against the run of play, with substitute Turgott at the heart of the move.
A ball towards the Newport penalty area was chested down by McCallum into the path of Turgott who then expertly beat his man and drilled a low ball into the box for Cox to slide in and poke home the O’s third.
After the goal Newport responded instantly as they searched for an equaliser and Boden nearly claimed his second of the match when his header from Yan Klukowkski’s cross dropped just wide of the far post.
With just over 15 minutes left to play the O’s made their final change as Cox was replaced by Scott Kashket in a straight swap which saw him line up on the left of midfield.
The match showed little signs of settling down as it continued to go from end-to-end and it was the O’s turn to create an opening as Ollie Palmer saw a shot from a tight angle deflected wide for a corner.
Refusing to give up, Newport created two more chances in the closing minutes as Scott Barrow first sent an effort wide from distance before substitute Aaron Collins dragged an effort just beyond the post.
Josh Laurent then squandered a chance deep into added time and that was to be the closest Newport came to snatching an equaliser as the O’s showed fantastic determination to come away with all three points.
NEWPORT: Day, Holmes, Feely, Poole, Barrow, Elito, Klukowski (Owen-Evans 83), Byrne (C), Ofori-Twumasi, Boden (Laurent 75), Ansah (Collins 68)
SUBS: Taylor, Laurent, Hayden, Parselle, Jones
GOALS: Boden (41), Byrne (42)
ORIENT: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry (C), Essam, Shaw, James (Turgott 53), Pritchard, Moore, Cox (Kashket 74), Simpson (Palmer 53), McCallum
SUBS: Grainger, Ling, Agyemang, Moncur
GOALS: McCallum (4), Simpson (7), Cox (58)
BOOKINGS: Palmer (90)
REFEREE: Brendan Malone
ATTENDANCE: 2,779 (525 O’s fans)