Shaun Brisley popped up with his first goal for the O's as Leyton Orient claimed a 1-0 victory at Notts County.Having contested a goalless first half the Peterborough loanee was on hand 14 minutes from time to smash home the only goal of the afternoon following a corner.
In response to last weekend’s defeat at home to league leaders Northampton, player-manager Kevin Nolan made three changes to the team.
Jerome Binnom-Williams came in at left back for his O’s debut, while Nigel Atangana returned in midfield and Armand Gnanduillet made his first start since arriving in January to partner Jay Simpson in attack.
With both sides looking to get a foothold of the game early on Orient started with a flat 4-4-2 formation which saw Jobi McAnuff out on the right and Sammy Moore on the left of midfield.
McAnuff was looking lively for the visitors out on the wing, and with six minutes on the clock the 34-year-old delivered a ball into the box which was headed down by Armand Gnanduillet for strike partner Jay Simpson four yards out, but the flag was raised for offside as Magpies stopper Roy Carroll thwarted the effort.
The standard of football was far from fluid throughout the opening half, and with ten minutes remaining of the first half Orient almost made the breakthrough with a route one approach when Alex Cisak’s free-kick upfield was flicked on by Gnanduillet for Simpson who poked a shot wide having beaten the rushing Carroll.
Moments later Shaun Brisley was left unmarked at the back post to get on the end of Moore’s free-kick, but the defender’s effort was deflected behind for a corner as the sides went into the break level.
Following the break both sides came out unchanged for the second half, and it was the hosts who had the first chance inside the opening minute as Alan Smith fired wide from outside the box.
The Magpies were showing a lot more urgency following the restart, and with 50 minutes played Alex Cisak was forced into his first save of the afternoon to parry Liam Noble’s powerful strike behind for a corner.
Two minutes later Orient responded with an attempt of their own following a throw deep in the County half, but Moore’s snapshot went well wide of the hosts goal.
McAnuff was then presented with a half chance soon after as a cross from the left was fumbled by Carroll following pressure from Gnanduillet, but the winger was unable to get enough height on his shot as the ‘keeper plucked the ball from the air.
With just over an hour played a decent move by the O’s resulted in Gnanduillet firing a shot over the bar, and that was to be the striker’s final contribution as he made way for Ollie Palmer.
The O’s were cranking up the pressure and looked to have taken the lead on the 67th minute when Moore’s corner was met by Mathieu Baudry six yards out, but despite his header looking destined to find a way in, Curtis Thompson was able to head off the line.
Calaum Jahraldo-Martin was then introduced five minutes later as he replaced Moore, but it was the hosts who were to have the next chance as Haydn Hollis volleyed over from a corner.
Jahraldo-Martin’s pace was to then have an instant impact as the winger showed tremendous acceleration to win a corner, which subsequently led to the opening goal as McAnuff’s delivery led to several efforts being blocked before centre half Shaun Brisley eventually lashed in his first goal for the Club.
Having threatened for large parts of the second half the goal was certainly deserved, and the visitors showed little sign of resting on their laurels as Simpson then dragged a shot wide with eight minutes left to play.
Jack Payne was then brought on in place of player-manager Kevin Nolan for the final five minutes to provide cover for the back four, though with three minutes remaining Izale McLeod flicked a header into the hands of Cisak.
Four minutes stoppage time was then indicated by the fourth official and Jon Stead had the best opportunity to equalise for the hosts but could only place his header over the bar as the O's held on for all three points.
NOTTS COUNTY: Carroll (C), Atkinson, Hewitt, Hollis, Adams, Banton, Thompson, Smith, Noble (Campbell 79), Stead, McLeod
SUBS: Loach, Amevor, Murray, Sharpe, Burke, Aborah
ORIENT: Cisak, Hunt, Baudry (C), Brisley, Binnom-Williams, McAnuff, Atangana, Nolan (Payne 85), Moore (Jahraldo-Martin 72), Simpson, Gnanduillet (Palmer 63)
SUBS: Grainger, Essam, Clohessy, Pritchard
GOALS: Brisley (76)
BOOKINGS: Nolan (64)
REFEREE: Andy Woolmer
ATTENDANCE: 4,878 (639 Orient supporters)