Leyton Orient suffered a first defeat in three as they lost 1-0 at fellow promotion chasers Accrington Stanley.Scott Brown scored the only goal of the game on the 51st minute as the O's endured a difficult afternoon to drop out of the Play-Off places.
Ahead of the Good Friday clash against their Play-Off rivals, player-manager Kevin Nolan made one change to the side that defeated Morecambe. With Jobi McAnuff away on international duty with Jamaica, Sammy Moore came in to the starting XI for the O’s only alteration.
With conditions perfect for football in Lancashire it was Orient who created the first opportunity of the match when Sammy Moore collected the ball just outside of the penalty area before drilling a shot into the top of the stand.
Moments later striker Armand Gnanduillet, who was sporting a new hairstyle having dyed his hair red in the week, also came close when his shot fizzed wide of the post following a good move.
Despite creating the early chances the O’s had failed to trouble Ross Etheridge in the hosts goal, and it was Accrington who then responded with two chances of their own when Shay McCartan and Sean McConville fired wide in quick succession.
The match was starting to swing in Stanley’s favour midway through the half and they could well gave taken the lead when Piero Mingoia shaped up to finish from six-yards only to be denied by a terrific challenge from Jerome Binnom-Williams who was able to put the ball behind for a corner.
Neither goalkeeper had been troubled throughout the first half, but with eight minutes remaining until the break O’s stopper Alex Cisak denied McConville from close range, though the whistle had already been blown for a foul on Nicky Hunt.
That was to be the closest either side came to opening the scoring as they went into the break goalless, but within six minutes of the restart Orient fell behind when Scott Brown volleyed home from inside of the box after Billy Kee had chested McConville’s cross into his path.
Rattled by the goal, Orient could have been even further behind two minutes later when McCarten split the defence with a wonderful through ball to release McConville, but Cisak produced a fantastic stop to keep the O’s in the game.
Orient needed to settle back down quickly and were able to do just that as they then created two chances within the space of a minute as striker Jay Simpson placed a shot wide from outside the box, before a dangerous Sean Clohessy cross from the right was gathered by Etheridge at the second attempt.
Needing to find a way back into the tie Orient then made two changes just after the hour mark, bringing both Blair Turgott and Ollie Palmer on for Moore and Gnanduillet.
Defensive uncertainty put the visitors in real danger of conceding a second with 25 minutes remaining however, as Binnom-Williams sliced a clearance before Shaun Brisley underhit a header back to Cisak and into the path of McConville, though both defenders were left thanking the goalkeeper as he managed to claw the ball behind for a corner and spare their blushes.
With 73 minutes played Palmer and Clohessy combined well to release the latter down the right who then drilled a low cross back into the striker, but the O’s substitute was unable to control it as well as hoped allowing Etheridge to come and bravely claim the loose ball.
Orient were struggling to find a way behind the Accrington defence and with five minutes remaining made their final throw of the dice by bringing on Frazer Shaw on for Clohessy. The substitution saw Binnom-Williams move forward to left midfield and Turgott switch to the right, while Nigel Atangana took the captains armband for the final minutes.
Despite the late change Kevin Nolan's side were unable to force a late equaliser, and as a result of Wycombe's victory at home to Mansfield dropped out of the Play-Off positions.
The O's will be back in action on Easter Monday when they look to bounce back at home to Hartlepool United.
ACCRINGTON: Etheridge, Halliday, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Mingoia, Conneely (C), Brown, McConville, McCartan, Kee
SUBS: Mooney, Windass, Boco, Proctor, Gornell, Buxton, Fosu
GOALS: Brown (51)
ORIENT: Cisak, Hunt, Ramage, Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy (C) (Shaw 85), Atangana, Nolan, Moore (Turgott 61), Simpson, Gnanduillet (Palmer 61)
SUBS: Gregory, Pollock, Payne, James
BOOKINGS: Brisley (33), Ramage (78)
REFEREE: Ross Joyce
ATTENDANCE: 2,783 (555 Orient supporters)