Batt’s the way to do it for Orient
- Credit: Archant
League One: Leyton Orient 1 Portsmouth 0
Shaun Batt’s goal just before the hour was enough for Leyton Orient to beat Pompey and edge closer to the play-off places at Brisbane Road.
Batt seized on a poor backpass to net the only goal of the night, as O’s extended their unbeaten run to five matches and pushed the south coast visitors closer to the fourth tier.
O’s boss Russell Slade made two changes to his starting line-up from Saturday’s 2-0 win at Shrewsbury, bringing right-back Moses Odubajo in for the injured Nathan Clarke and moving Scott Cuthbert into the centre of defence, while Batt replaced veteran Kevin Lisbie in attack.
But the hosts came under early pressure, with Patrick Agyemang playing in David Connolly on the right, before his low cut-back was cleared by Mathieu Baudry.
Jed Wallace warmed the palms of Jamie Jones with a 25-yard drive on three minutes, giving the large band of Pompey fans more reason to exercise their vocal chords.
“We’re gonna buy the club,” they sang, as O’s struggled to settle.
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And Charlie MacDonald needed treatment after colliding with an advertising hoarding in his attempt to keep the ball in play, before the temporary ten-men won a corner on the right, which Cook swung in for Cuthbert to head over from eight yards.
Odubajo skipped past Liam Walker on the right on 11 minutes, only to see a weak centre diverted behind.
But Simon Eastwood flapped at Cook’s corner, before referee Gary Sutton signalled a free-kick for the visitors, as ‘Play up Pompey’ rang around E10 once again.
Batt’s shot on the turn then hit the outside of a post, after it had rolled back down from off the roof up above Eastwood’s goal.
But Orient appeared more settled now, with Romain Vincelot swapping passes with Dean Cox in midfield before seeing his effort blocked on the edge of the box.
A mistake by Vincelot 30 yards from his own goal allowed Pompey skipper Johnny Ertl to help the ball forwards, but Cuthbert showed plenty of determination to avert the danger.
Baudry then headed straight at Eastwood, when Lloyd James nodded a half-cleared Cook cross back into the box, but O’s had a let-off midway through the first half after Agyemang teed up Wallace, who was denied by the legs of Jones from 12 yards.
Leon McSweeney’s excellent crossfield pass found Cox, who won a corner and then combined with Cook to force another as Eastwood tipped an inswinging cross behind under pressure.
Baudry clattered into the Pompey keeper as Cox bent the next corner in from the left, which allowed the players to grab a quick refreshment as the physio treated Eastwood.
But the stoppage robbed the game of some of its flow, with play disjointed for the next few minutes.
The home fans were enlivened on 39 minutes, when Cook let fly from beyond the box to force a fingertip save from Eastwood.
But the O’s playmaker was caught late by Ertl soon after and his subsequent free-kick was not up to its usual standards.
Cook managed to put a couple of teasing balls into the box from the left as the half drew to a close. But Pompey, with former Tottenham defender Ricardo Rocha at the heart of their defence, safely reached the interval unbreached.
The start of the second half was largely uneventful, until Baudry was penalised for a trip on Connolly in front of the Pompey fans.
Wallace picked out Agyemang from the free-kick, but his header was deflected into the welcoming arms of Jones with 55 minutes on the clock.
The deadlock was broken three minutes later, though, when a poor back pass from left-back Dan Butler was seized upon by Batt, who steered a low left-footed shot past the right hand of Eastwood.
“One-nil and you still won’t sing,” taunted the Pompey fans, followed by chants of “Olympic Park, you’re having a laugh”.
But the O’s fans were happy enough with their lead, although Baudry had to be replaced by Elliot Omozusi after taking a knock just past the hour mark.
The substitute made a notable entrance, clearing Connolly’s shot from inside the six-yard box, after the striker had screwed the ball past Jones from the right.
And Batt made way for leading scorer Lisbie moments later, as Slade went in search of a clinching second goal.
Pompey substitute Jack Maloney made his presence felt with a heavy challenge on Vincelot, earning the first booking of the night.
Orient’s James made his way into the referee’s book for a foul in midfield on Wallace, with 12 minutes remaining, and was replaced by Martin Rowlands soon after.
Lisbie forced Eastwood to save at his near post, before Pompey countered through Maloney on the left, but his cross was scuffed by Wallace and cleared by a grateful O’s defence.
And the visitors came within a whisker of levelling on 81 minutes when Connolly’s angled shot, under pressure from Omozusi, bounced just wide of the far post.
Great work on halfway by Lisbie allowed O’s to get back on the front foot after those scares, as normal time drew to a close.
Five minutes of stoppage time were then signalled, to the dismay of the majority in a crowd of 3,641.
But O’s held out, thanks to some smart play from Lisbie and MacDonald, an a bit of time-wasting from Jones, which earned the goalie a booking, for three more points.
Orient: Jones, McSweeney, Vincelot, Cuthbert, Baudry (Omozusi 63), Cox, MacDonald, Odubajo, Cook, James (Rowlands 79), Batt (Lisbie 67).
Unused subs: Sawyer, Smith, Grainger.
Portsmouth: Eastwood, Walker (Maloney 69), Connolly, Moutaouakil, Gyepes, Ertl, Racon, Agyemang, Rocha, Butler (Harris 78), Wallace.
Subs: Smith, Cooper, Webster, Sodje.
Referee: Gary Sutton.
Attendance: 3641 (including 1133 Portsmouth fans).