Armand Gnanduillet scored in either half as Leyton Orient claimed a 2-0 win at home to Crawley Town.The 23-year-old broke the deadlock three minutes before the break with a scorching strike from 25-yards, before volleying home a second 19 minutes from time as the O's moved back into the Play-Off places.
Ahead of Kevin Nolan’s fourth home game in charge, the 33-year-old was forced into making one change to the side that won at Notts County the previous weekend, as Sean Clohessy came in for the injured Jobi McAnuff who was ruled out with an ankle problem.
On a bitterly cold day in E10 there was little to write home about during the opening stages, though O’s defender Nicky Hunt had the first shot of the game when his speculative 25-yard effort from a corner curled over.
Having won a number of corners in quick succession, a different routine saw top scorer Jay Simpson sting the hands of Crawley’s Paul Jones after collecting a short corner and seeing his effort parried behind.
The O’s were certainly looking the more likely to break the deadlock during what could only be described as a drab first half, and with six minutes until half time Kevin Nolan directed a header into the hands of Jones from a Hunt cross.
With it looking as though the sides would go into the interval level striker Armand Gnanduillet then opened the scoring with a strike of the highest quality, turning his man 25-yards from goal before rifling an unstoppable left-footed shot into the top corner.
Gnanduillet’s strike will certainly be up there with the Goal of the Season contenders and was also the first time the O's had registered a goal in the first half under Nolan, ensuring the hosts took a lead into half time.
Following the break Orient came out unchanged for the second half and should have been two goals to the good on the 52nd minute when Gnanduillet pulled the ball back across for Nolan six yards out, but the player-manager could only place his effort over the bar.
Moments later O’s goalkeeper Alex Cisak was forced into his first save of the afternoon when he parried Roarie Deacon’s powerful strike from outside the box away from danger.
Simpson then wasted a good chance for the hosts immediately after when he picked the ball up from Nolan before opting to ignore Sean Clohessy to his right and drilling a low shot at Jones.
Gnanduillet and Simpson were to both be denied with further attempts, until Orient managed to grab an elusive second on the 71st minute when Clohessy’s cross towards the back post was met by Gnanduillet who doubled his tally with first time volley.
Calaum Jahraldo-Martin then came on in place of the impressive Sammy Moore for the final 14 minutes, and less than a minute after his introduction forced Jones into parrying his cross behind for a corner.
As the match approached the final 10 minutes Gnanduillet was then withdrawn from the action, receiving a standing ovation from the home crowd as he made way for Ollie Palmer.
With two minutes left to play Jones was then forced into parrying Jahraldo-Martin's free-kick over the bar, and that was to be the closest Orient came to adding a third as they moved up to 7th in League Two.
ORIENT: Cisak, Hunt, Baudry (C), Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy, Nolan, Atangana, Moore (Jahraldo-Martin 76), Gnanduillet (Palmer 79), Simpson
SUBS: Grainger, Essam, Shaw, Pritchard, Payne
GOALS: Gnanduillet (42 & 71)
CRAWLEY: Jones, Bawling (Della Verde 75), Yorwerth, Bradley (C), Ashton, Deacon, Bond, Atkinson, Tomlin (Fenelon 63), Edwards, Barnard (Harrold 63)
SUBS: Preston, Oyebanjo, Young, Sutherland
REFEREE: Lee Collins
ATTENDANCE: 4,610 (301)