Liam Daly’s second half header proved to be the difference as Orient suffered a 1-0 defeat at Solihull Moors this afternoon.
The Solihull defender scored the only goal of the game on the 59th minute to hand the hosts all three points.
Justin Edinburgh took charge of his first game in charge following his appointment as Head Coach on Wednesday, and for the trip to Damson Park the O’s boss made four changes.
Myles Judd, Henry Ochieng and Macauley Bonne were all handed starts, whilst Goalkeeper Coach Dean Brill was given his O’s debut on his 32nd birthday.
Jobi McAnuff captained the side once again which lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, and the O’s skipper contributed to the first chance of the afternoon when his third minute free-kick picked out Matt Harrold who could only direct his header wide.
The pair then linked up once again five minutes later, but also suffered a similar fate as Harrold headed wide from a McAnuff cross.
Despite a promising opening spell the hosts soon took control of the game, and on the 13th minute were inches away from taking the lead.
Jermaine Hylton rose highest to meet a ball in from the left, and despite leaving Dean Brill rooted in goal his header came back off the crossbar before Joe Widdowson superbly blocked Jamey Osborne’s follow-up effort.
The O’s then had Widdowson to thank seconds later as he once again thwarted Osborne, with a brilliant sliding challenge after the winger had been played into the box on the right.
A Solihull free-kick was then dropped by Brill which led to a scramble in the area, but the panic was dealt with as Fiacre Kelleher’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide.
Oladapo Afolayan and Osborne were both denied in quick succession as the midway point of the first half drew closer but with 27 minutes on the clock Macauley Bonne was presented with a brilliant chance to break into the penalty area following good work from McAnuff, only for Kelleher to get back and clear the danger.
Soon after Liam Daly’s header was held by Brill, and the O’s Goalkeeper Coach was called into action soon after as he held a Kwame Thomas shot after the Moors striker had latched onto a Hylton pass.
Orient had rarely troubled Max O’Leary in the Solihull goal but with 10 minutes of the half remaining came close to taking the lead in spectacular fashion through James Dayton who saw his looping shot clawed away by the goalkeeper.
Dayton’s effort appeared to spur Orient into life and Craig Clay was presented with a good opportunity soon after as a McAnuff cross was cleared out to him on the edge of the box, but despite connecting cleanly with the strike it was deflected wide.
Despite the half time interval looming both sides were able to register a further chance each as Afolayan was first denied by a strong save from Brill before McAnuff rifled a left-footed shot wide of the post from outside the box.
McAnuff’s chance proved to be the final of the half, and following the interval both sides returned unchanged.
Within seconds of the restart Solihull were presented with a brilliant chance to take the lead as they pounced on a loose pass to play in Afolayan one-on-one, but Brill came racing off his line to thwart the winger.
Afolayan had been on the end of a number of Solihull chances during the first half and had another on the 48th minute when Osborne picked him out to his left after seeing his initial shot blocked by Widdowson, only for Brill to once again be equal to the effort at his near post.
McAnuff had looked the liveliest for the O’s in the final third and the captain had another chance on the 51st minute when his left-footed strike from the edge of the box was deflected wide of the bottom corner.
Orient were unable to make the most of the ensuing corner, and with 59 minutes on the clock fell behind as Liam Daly headed in a Darren Carter free-kick to open the scoring for Solihull.
New O’s boss Justin Edinburgh wasted little time in making a chance following the goal as he introduced Club Captain David Mooney in place of Harrold in attack.
A change in formation was to then follow on the 73rd minute, as Sam Dalby came on for Ochieng in a move that saw Orient revert to a 4-4-2 diamond with Mooney playing just behind the front two.
With 10 minutes remaining Thomas had the chance to double the hosts advantage when played in by strike-partner Hylton, only for Myles Judd to track back superbly and slide in to deny the forward in the O’s penalty area.
Three minutes later Orient felt they should have had a penalty when Bonne’s shot from a McAnuff corner was blocked by Carter in the area, but despite appealing for handball referee Peter Gibbons waved play on.
The O’s were pushing higher up in search of an equaliser but it almost proved costly five minutes from time as Thomas collected the ball on the edge of the area and saw his low shot parried away by Brill.
Four minutes stoppage time was shown by the fourth official and with two played Solihull were handed the chance to seal the victory from the penalty spot when Bonne was penalised for a challenge on Paul Green.
Bonne was booked for the tackle, but Carter was unable to convert from the spot kick as his low strike came back off the post as the O’s suffered defeat.
SOLIHULL: O’Leary, Atkinson, Daly, Kelleher, Bowen, P Green, Carter (C), Osborne (Murombedzi 87), Afolayan (Asante 80), Hylton, Thomas
SUBS: K Green, St.Ledger, Carline
GOALS: Daly (59)
ORIENT: Brill, Judd, N’Gala, Happe, Widdowson, McAnuff (C), Clay, Ochieng (Dalby 73), Dayton, Harrold (Mooney 66), Bonne
SUBS: Grainger, Pollock, Westbrooke
BOOKED: Happe (70), Bonne (90+2)
REFEREE: Peter Gibbons
ATTENDANCE: 1,118 (533 Orient)