Two first half goals condemned the O’s to an opening day 2-0 defeat at Sutton United this afternoon.
Defender Jamie Collins opened the scoring for the hosts on the 15th minute from the penalty spot, before the O’s saw themselves two down 10 minutes before half time when fellow defender Dean Beckwith bundled home Ross Lafayette’s cross.
Head Coach Steve Davis named First Team Captain Charlie Lee in the starting XI following injury, while the in-form Macauley Bonne partnered David Mooney in attack.
Picked as the opening fixture of the 2017-18 season, the match got off to a frantic opening period with both sides looking to impress live on BT Sport.
The O’s looked the more threatening throughout the opening exchanges, though failed to trouble Jamie Butler in the Sutton goal as the hosts defence dealt well with a number of crosses into the box.
Despite missing the final two pre-season friendlies with a knee injury, midfielder Charlie Lee returned to the side for the trip to Gander Green Lane and registered the first Orient chance of the afternoon as he headed over from Jobi McAnuff’s corner.
The O’s defence had been relatively untroubled throughout the opening spell, though fell behind on the 15th minute when Sutton captain James Collins converted from the penalty spot after Joe Widdowson had been deemed to have fouled Craig Dundas.
Despite falling behind, Orient responded well to conceding and thought they had equalised two minutes later through David Mooney when the forward bundled Lee’s throw over the line. The goal was ruled out however as referee David Rock awarded a Sutton free-kick for a foul on Butler.
With half an hour played the weather took a turn for the worse, as strong winds blew through Gander Green Lane along with hailstones.
The conditions provided both sides with a test, though it was the hosts who adjusted quicker as they doubled their lead on the 34th minute though Dean Beckwith who was left in space to convert from Ross Lafayette’s cross.
Rain continued to fall throughout the final moments of the half, and with only stoppage time remaining defender George Elokobi powered a header over the bar as the O’s went into the break 2-0 down.
The O’s returned for the second half unchanged, though continued to be frustrated by the hosts as they failed to get any shots away and test Butler.
With just under 25 minutes remaining the hosts spurned a great opportunity to register a third, as Lafayette powered a shot wide at the far post despite having time and space in the box.
Josh Koroma was introduced on the 69th minute in place of McAnuff, and the winger was able to get the better of Aswad Thomas straight away, though his cross towards Bonne was claimed by Butler.
Running out of time to find a way back into the tie, James Dayton took aim from distance but his low effort was comfortably gathered.
Head Coach Steve Davis threw on Craig Clay and Romuald Boco for the final stages, though neither were able to spark an O’s comeback as Sutton remained organised to claim the three points.
Orient get our home campaign underway on Tuesday night, when we host Solihull Moors at the Matchroom Stadium.
SUTTON: Butler, Spence, Beckwith, Collins (C), Thomas, Bailey (Wright 87), Davis, Eastmond, Cadogan, Lafayette, Dundas
SUBS: John, Monakana, Emmanuel, Taylor
GOALS: Collins (15 pen), Beckwith (34)
BOOKED: Thomas (82)
ORIENT: Grainger, Caprice, Coulson, Elokobi, Widdowson, Lawless, Lee (C) (Clay 80), Dayton (Boco 84), McAnuff (Koroma 69), Mooney, Bonne
SUBS: Sargeant, Clark,
BOOKED: Lee (45+3), Bonne (56)
REFEREE: David Rock