10-man Orient suffered a first defeat in five this afternoon as Bromley ran out 1-0 victors at the Matchroom Stadium.
Louis Dennis’ 22nd minute strike proved to be the difference after Orient had seen Bondz N’Gala sent off after four minutes, and the O’s were unable to make the most of their second half attempts despite a spirited display.
The O’s took on Bromley in the final fixture of 2017 after a Boxing Day victory over Dagenham & Redbridge saw the O’s continue their good form to make it four consecutive victories.
Head Coach Justin Edinburgh made just one chance to the XI that started against the Daggers, loanee Bondz N’Gala returned to heart of defence in place of Dan Happe who dropped to the bench.
The O’s kicked off the afternoon towards the South Stand but it was Bromley who were first to register and attempt on goal inside the first two minutes when Adam Mekki stung the hands of Dean Brill from range.
In the fourth minute Orient were reduced to ten men when Bondz N’Gala was sent off as referee David Rock and his assistant judged the defender to have fouled former O George Porter.
Bromley then enjoyed large spells of possession and despite the O’s standing firm in defence, the man advantage soon paid off after 22 minutes when Louis Dennis was played through on goal and finished beyond Brill to give the visitors the lead.
James Dayton was brought down on the edge of the box before his whipped free-kick found the head of Josh Coulson, but the defender’s effort rebounded off the post and was then cleared away from immediate danger.
Dennis fired wide after Porters headed lay off found the Bromley man in space inside the penalty area.
But it was Orient who ended the first half on top and in possession of the ball most. Josh Coulson went close to equalising again when he headed McAnuff’s corner back across goal but Luke Woolfenden was present to clear off the line.
Dayton then smashed an attempt from range inches over David Gregory’s goal which brought the first 45 to an end.
Orient began the second half where they left off, another McAnuff corner found the head of Coulson towards the back post, but this time it was Frankie Sutherland whose goal line clearance denied the O’s a goal.
Dayton found Craig Clay in space at the edge of the box but the midfielder’s striker was blocked by Sutherland before it could trouble Gregory in the Bromley goal.
Dayton and Clay link up from a free-kick but the latter couldn’t connect cleanly enough with the ball at the back post to direct it back into the danger zone.
Smart play between Harrold and Clay gave Alex Lawless the opportunity to place a shot from 20 yards but an excellent save from Gregory denied what would have been a spectacular goal.
The resulting corner saw Dayton swing a ball towards the back post where Clay’s diving header clips the bar before it bounced out for a goal kick.
Macauley Bonne headed over Clays cross from six yards out as the O’s continue to apply pressure on the visitors and search for the leveller.
Bonne was involved again when he held up the ball well before he laid he ball back to Dayton whose volleyed strike just missed the target.
Bromley substitute Brett Williams then had the opportunity to seal the victory for the visitors four minutes from time when a long ball upfield was allowed to bounce, but the forward could only lift his effort over the crossbar.
Despite time running out the O’s continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, and with the match into the second of four additional minutes Clay lashed an effort inches over the bar after Bonne had chested a Matt Harrold cross into his path.
There was to be time for one last chance in the closing seconds however, as a Caprice cross was parried out to Bonne six-yards from goal but the forward was unable to find his balance and hooked the shot over the bar as the O’s ended 2017 in defeat.
Orient travel to Dagenham & Redbridge on New Year’s Day.
ORIENT: Brill, Caprice, N’Gala, Coulson, Widdowson, McAnuff (C) (Harrold 62), Clay, Lawless, Dayton Mooney (Happe 8), Bonne
SUBS: Grainger, Sendles-White, Koroma
SENT OFF: N’Gala (4)
BROMLEY: Gregory, Rees, Chorley, Holland (C), Dennis, Mekki (Higgs 54), Sterling, Wanadio (Raymond 78), Porter (Williams 73), Sutherland, Woolfenden
SUBS: Johnson, Vose
GOALS: Dennis (22)
BOOKED: Sutherland (28), Gregory (69)
REFEREE: David Rock
ATTENDANCE: 5,227 (322)