A goal in each half from Jay Simpson helped the O’s to a much-needed victory at local rivals Colchester United.Jay Simpson’s first of the season got the ball rolling for Alberto Cavasin and his side, before Nicky Hunt’s first goal since April 28, 2012 two minutes into the second half. Simpson went on to seal the win with a cracker of a third goal as they made sure of all three points
Cavasin made seven changes from the midweek defeat in the Checkatrade Trophy at Brighton, with Michael Collins handed his first league start, while Yvan Erichot returned following injury in defence.
It was a cagey opening 10 minutes for both sides as neither forced either goalkeeper into action, that was until Sam Walker was picking the ball up from the back of his net after 12 minutes.
Good work from Ollie Palmer saw the ball then fall into the path of strike partner Simpson and after taking one touch he shot low across goal past Walker.
One almost became two and it was only a fine save from Walker who denied Simpson a second from distance.
Chances were still at a premium though and besides a few crosses into the box, Alex Cisak was relatively untroubled in the O’s goal.
Richard Brindley fired high, wide and handsome just after the half hour mark, before former Colchester winger Gavin Massey set up another attack for the O’s.
A fine run down the left almost found the run of Simpson, but it narrowly evaded the striker in the box, while as the half drew to a close Cisak held Drey Wright’s effort comfortably.
Curtis Guthrie was to go close to a leveller when getting on the end of Brennan Dickenson’s teasing delivery but he fluffed the effort into the ground and over the bar as the O's took a one-goal lead into the break.
No changes were made at the half-time interval by either side and it only took two minutes for the O’s to double the lead, and it came from one of the most unlikely sources.
Nicky Hunt is not known for his striking prowess, having netted just twice in his career, but that was before today. The right-back came in off the wing and his fine 18-yard shot found the bottom corner of the net.
After opening up the two-goal cushion, the hosts had the perfect opportunity to pull one back though when Guthrie sidefooted wide from close range.
The home side had their one dominant spell as Dickenson fizzed a shot over, before the same player forced Cisak into a smart stop.
The confidence was now back for the O’s and over a 1,000 making the journey following the Orient were in strong voice, and they went from strength to strength.
They had even more reason to celebrate when Simpson netted a stunner from 25 yards on 67 minutes with little Walker could do.
Three could have been four and Simpson may well have had his hat-trick on another day as he followed up Massey’s shot but Walker was able to gather in the U’s goal.
The day of firsts could have been extended when Callum Kennedy’s corner from the left fell kindly to skipper Robbie Weir and the midfielder’s fine effort was only kept out by an equally good save from Walker.
Simpson and Massey received warm round of applause as they both made their way off to be replaced by Sandro Semedo and Paul McCallum, before Adeboyejo was a late change for Palmer.
The rain may have been torrential, but the O’s were certainly singing in the rain as they came away with all three points, and as a result moved up to 19th in the table ahead of next weekend’s home game with Blackpool.
Colchester United: Walker, Brindley (Fosu 68), Eastman, Wynter, Lapslie, Kent, Wright, Kamara (Slater 54), Dickenson, Bonne (Johnstone 54), Guthrie.
Subs: Barnes, Sembie-Ferris, Szmodics, Fosu, Dunne.
Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Erichot, Parkes, Kennedy, Weir, Atangana, Massey (Semedo 79), Collins, Simpson (McCallum 85) Palmer (Adeboyejo 89).
Subs: Sargeant, Dunne, Pollock, Ochieng.
Goals: Simpson (12, 66), Hunt (47)
Booked: Collins (65), Parkes (82)
Attendance: 7,003 (1,122 Orient fans)