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Robin Cottle at Greenhous Meadow, Reporter
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
League One: Shrewsbury 0 Leyton Orient 2
Moses Odubajo’s goal sent Orient on their way back into League One’s automatic promotion places.
The winger was played in by debutant Jamar Loza, rounded Shrewsbury goalkeeper Chris Weale and finished with aplomb from a tight angle just before the half hour mark.
Scott Cuthbert made the points safe with a late header from Dean Cox’s corner.
The O’s are now just a point behind leaders Brentford and two clear of Wolves, with a game in hand on the latter.
The visitors were grateful for some wasteful finishing from the home side, most notably from midfielder Aaron Wildig, who twice failed to hit the target from promising positions.
Orient made four changes from the FA Cup thrashing at Yeovil. Goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic made his debut hours after signing on loan from Hull City.
Loza, on loan from Norwich, also made his debut, Marvin Bartley overcame a back strain and Kevin Lisbie returned after being rested at the weekend.
Jake Larkins, Gary Sawyer, Jamie Ness and Yohann Lasimant all dropped to the bench, where they were joined by the fourth temporary signing of the last week, Shaquile Coulthirst.
Romain Vincelot and David Mooney are still not ready to return from knee and foot injuries respectively and Robbie Simpson was fit enough for a place on the bench after a hamstring strain.
A quiet first half was lit up Odubajo’s dancing feet, with former Orient stalwart and current Shrews captain Tamika Mkandawire powerless to stop the 20-year-old beating the offside trap and finishing confidently.
Shrewsbury kept things tight but lacked a cutting edge and struggled to test Jakupovic, who only signed at 1pm today.
He saved comfortably from Joe Taylor’s long range effort but Wildig should have done much better when put through by Tom Eaves with 10 minutes on the clock.
The midfielder curled well wide of the Switzerland goalkeeper’s post.
After Odubajo scored his seventh goal of the season Orient were the better team and Mathieu Baudry’s header from a corner was clutched from the air by Weale.
The Shrews were mainly restricted to long-range efforts as the visitors frustrated their hosts.
But Eaves missed a glorious chance to equalise 10 minutes into the second half. The striker wrestled past O’s captain Nathan Clarke but slotted wide, one-on-one with Jakupovic.
Odubajo could have twice made the game safe but first he denied by the legs of Weale from Cox’s deep cross and then he cut inside onto his left foot only to see his goalbound effort blocked by a defender.
Wildig curled wide from the edge of the area with the Orient goalkeeper rooted to the spot and Shrewsbury’s best chance was gone.
And Cuthbert’s towering leap for just his second goal of the season three minutes from time to ease any late nerves.
The 144 hardy souls who were giving their support to the O’s went home content that their promotion challenge is alive and well.
Orient: Jakupovic; Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi; Odubajo (Simpson 84), James, Bartley, Cox; Lisbie, Loza (Lasimant 57). Substitutes not used: Larkins, Sawyer, Gorman, Ness, Coulthirst.