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Robin Cottle at Brisbane Road
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
League One: Leyton Orient 2 Stevenage 0
Early goals from Moses Odubajo and Chris Dagnall moved Orient back into League One’s automatic promotion places with a comfortable victory over basement boys Stevenage. Odubajo gave the O’s the perfect start after 14 minutes, slotting home after Dagnall’s initial shot was kept out by visiting goalkeeper Chris Day.
And less than 10 minutes later striker Dagnall profited from some atrocious defending by Luke Jones, robbing the defender, playing a quick one-two with strike partner David Mooney before tapping into the empty net.
Orient had not won in four games before tonight but always in control against a team which looks destined for relegation to League Two.
The victory jumps the east Londoners above Wolves on goal difference. They have played two games more but crucially Wolves and league leaders Brentford play each other on Saturday.
Dagnall came in for Kevin Lisbie in the only change from Saturday’s emotional draw at Preston, with defender Elliot Omozusi not yet fit to return from a groin injury. After a slow start on a difficult pitch, the first real chance came Dagnall’s way after eight minutes but he dragged his shot wide.
But within 15 minutes Orient were two goals to the good as Odubajo scored his ninth goal of the season and the former Barnsley striker bagged his third for the club.
The Boro had their chances at the other end, mainly from set pieces, but Eldin Jakupovic was equal to everything they threw at him on his first home appearance since returning to the O’s on loan from Hull.
Jones wasted the chance to atone for his error when he headed Filipe Morais’ free-kick wide and former Orient stalwart Jimmy Smith brought an excellent save out of the Bosnian down low to his right with a powerful drive from distance.
Jakupovic has now conceded two goals – one of them a penalty – in his six games since joining the Brisbane Road outfit, although he did have a let off when his clearance smacked off Morais but away from the goal.
But the home side could have easily killed the game before half-time, Day denying Odubajo with his legs moments before Dagnall headed Cox’s cross over the bar.
Chances were few and far between after the break although Cox tested Day from distance and Smith saw a shot deflected just wide at the other end.
And Dagnall saw a shot deflected just before heading over after twice being set up by the excellent Cox as Orient looked to kill the game off.
When Jakupovic did look like being beaten, Gary Sawyer produced a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Luke Freeman and snuff out any hopes Stevenage had of mounting a comeback.
The victory came at a vital time for Russell Slade’s men heading into two home more home games against Swindon and Colchester.
Leyton Orient: Jakupovic; Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Sawyer; Odubajo, James (Ness 83), Vincelot, Cox; Dagnall (Batt 76), Mooney. Substitutes not used: Larkins, Lasimant, Bartley, Lisbie, Simpson.