Deja vu as O's pick up first league win
For the second season in succession the O’s defeated Stevenage at the Matchroom Stadium 3-0, picking up their first win of the league campaign with a double from Gavin Massey and one from the head, yes head of Dean Cox.
Massey thumped Orient into a 20th minute lead, before Cox netted his first goal since his return from injury as Orient lead 2-0 at the break, before the former Colchester United man took his tally this season to three with a second half strike to round off a comprehensive win for Andy Hessenthaler’s side.
The O’s made four changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Newport County last weekend, with Nigel Atangana, Harry Cornick, Nicky Hunt and Jay Simpson all returning to the first-team fold, while Liam Kelly skippered the side with Robbie Weir on the bench.
Orient started on the back foot and former O Jobi McAnuff caused some early trouble, jinking his way past a couple of challenges before forcing Alex Cisak into his first save of the night. The rebound fell to Ben Kennedy but his strike was over the bar.
Darren Sarll’s side remained on top and it was only a goal-line clearance from Tom Parkes denied Kennedy after the Boro man lifted the ball over an onrushing Cisak.
The tide began to turn in the O’s favour and loanee Harry Cornick wasn’t far away when getting on the end of Gavin Massey’s 11th minute cross.
Orient built on that and with their next serious forward move they found the opener. Attacking play down the left saw the ball arrive at the feet of Cox and his pinpoint ball in found Simpson, who saw his effort saved by Jones.
The rebound fell to Cornick but he headed against the bar, however, at the third time of asking the ball landed at the feet of Massey who notched his and the O’s second league goal of the season from 12 yards out to break the deadlock.
McAnuff continued to be a thorn in the O’s side though as he once again got the better of the Orient defence before squaring for Matt Godden, however the hosts squirmed the ball away before Sandro Semedo got the defining clearance.
The former Orient midfielder continued to be involved in all that was good for the visitors and he teed up Andrew Fox, who took one touch before seeing a right footed shot blocked by Hunt.
Orient were soon back on the front foot though and it was soon a memorable moment for Dean Cox, as he found the back of the net for the first time in the league since his knee ligament injury. And while it is no surprise to see Coxy net, many will be surprised by the method of his goal – a header!
It was Cornick with the delivery from the right and there was Coxy to head past former Orient keeper Jamie Jones for the second.
Simpson had earlier seen a shot blocked, and Orient almost added a third in fortunate circumstances as an attempted clearance struck an onrushing Liam Kelly only to see the effort go over the bar.
Jones almost gift-wrapped his former side a third on the stroke of half time as he flapped at a clearance and Massey was there to nip in, however, his shot could only find the side netting.
Stevenage made two changes at the break in an attempt to get back into the game, wiith Rowan Liburd and Dale Gorman on for Ben Kennedy and Charlie Lee.
Liam Kelly struck the first real effort of the second half, as the ball feel to him 25 yards out and his volley goalwards was held by Jones.
Atangana made way for Robbie Weir on 51 minutes before Cornick produced some wonderful footwork to create an O’s opening, only for McAnuff to block the effort behind for a corner.
McAnuff continued to be in the thick of the action and up the other end spurned the visitors best opportunity of the half to date, volleying wide after an inswinging ball from the right.
Simpson and Cox were both replaced by Palmer and Bowery respectively, and it was the latter who played a part in sealing the victory.
A run down the right came from the summer arrival and his cross into the box was miscued into the path of Massey who thumped the effort past Jones at the back post.
That was effectively that, and though Gorman forced Alex Cisak to get down well to keep out his 20-yard strike for the visitors, the O’s first three-point haul of the season was here, and they now head into Saturday’s trip to Grimsby Town full of confidence.
Orient: Cisak, Semedo, Parkes, Erichot, Hunt, Cornick, Atangana (Weir 51), Kelly, Cox (Bowery 66), Massey, Simpson (Palmer 74).
Subs: Sargeant, Clohessy, Kennedy, Palmer, Gnanduillet.
Goals: Massey (20, 75), Cox (37)
Stevenage: Jones, Fox, Franks, Wilkinson, McAnuff, Kennedy (Gorman HT), Tonge, Lee (Liburd HT), Henry, Godden, Conlon (Hunte 66).
Subs: Day, Pett, Hyde, Donnelan
Booked: Franks (8), Godden (12), Wilkinson (82).
Attendance: 3,779 (304 Stevenage fans)
Referee: Brett Huxtable.