David Mooney gives Leyton Orient the win over Oldham

League One: Oldham Athletic 0 Leyton Orient 1

Striker David Mooney, restored to the starting line-up, grabbed the only goal of the game 20 minutes from time to ease Orient’s relegation worries with this crucial win at Oldham on Tuesday night.

The Irishman made no mistake from eight yards as he swept home George Porter’s low cross to send the 73 travelling O’s fans home happy.

The victory lifted Russell Slade’s side into 17th position and six points clear of the drop zone, but they will be without Ryan Dickson for Saturday’s game at Charlton.

The fit-again defender saw red after picking up two yellow cards in the space of 60 seconds and it set up a nail-biting finish as the visitors had to survive the closing stages with 10 men.

Orient manager Russell Slade made four changes to the side that had lost 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday. Scott Cuthbert, Leon McSweeney and Jamal Campbell-Ryce were all ruled out with injuries, while Dean Cox missed out due to illness.

Fit-again duo Dickson and Matt Spring went straight into the team and there were recalls for Mooney and George Porter, who made a rare start.

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Despite their reshuffled line-up the O’s started well and it was home keeper Alex Cisak who needed lengthy treatment early on when he clattered into his own defender as Dickson’s free-kick floated across his area.

After a lengthy stoppage the game restarted and Porter made the most of his rare start as his pace caused the home side all sorts of problems and when he whipped in a low cross the ball just beat the in-rushing Adam Reed.

Porter proved to be a constant menace and from another cross Oldham keeper Cisak pulled off a diving save to keep out Mooney’s near-post header.

As the half progressed the home side hit back and Harry Bunn’s curling shot just missed the target.

At the other end Spring, back in the side, fired a free-kick just over the bar, but it was visiting keeper Paul Rachubka who pulled off the save of the game when the O’s defence went to sleep and allowed Shefki Kuqi to whip in a cross and Reuben Reid’s close-range header was brilliantly saved by the on-loan Leeds keeper

The first half ended in stalemate, with Orient having the best of it – but only that excellent save from Rachubka kept them on terms.

After the break Dean Bouzanis replaced Cisak in the home goal and the substitute keeper almost gift-wrapped Orient a goal.

Twenty minutes into the half Bouzanis raced from his area, but made a hash of the clearance and the ball fell invitingly for top scorer Kevin Lisbie.

But the striker, who has netted nine times this season, failed to add to his tally as he missed the target.

It could have been a costly miss – but Lisbie quickly made amends as O’s broke the deadlock on 70 minutes.

The O’s striker sent Porter racing down the wing and his cross was swept home Mooney from close range

Oldham hit back and went close to a leveller when Rachubka almost turned from hero to villain when he failed to gather the ball and it dropped neatly for Kuqi – but Terrell Forbes came to the rescue with a crucial tackle.

Orient had to endure a nail-biting finish as Dickson picked up two yellow cards in the space of as many minutes and the visitors went down to 10 men.

O’s could have wrapped things up two minutes from time when Porter raced through, but Bouzanis made an important stop. That was the winger’s last piece of action, as he was replaced by Solomon Taiwo on 89 minutes, before referee Carl Boyeson added five extra times.

And O’s had a scare in stoppage time when Chris Taylor went close as the home side pressed for a leveller, but the visitors held on to record their seventh away win of the season

Oldham Athletic: Cisak (Bouzanis 46 mins), Mvoto, Reid (Simpson 67 mins), Adeyemi, Diallo, Tarkowski, Taylor, Lee, M’Changama, Kuqi, Bunn (Marsh-Brown 67 mins). Subs: Simpson, Tounkara, Belezika.

Oldham bookings: Taylor (84 mins foul)

Leyton Orient: Rachubka; Forbes, Chorley, Leacock, Dickson; Jimmy Smith; Mooney (Andrew 83 mins), Spring, Reed, Porter (Taiwo 89 mins); Lisbie. Subs: Lovelock, Ben Youssef, Laird, Taiwo.

Orient bookings: Dickson (85 mins unsporting behaviour)

Orient dismissals: Dickson (86 mins foul – second yellow card)

Attendance: 4,145 (inc 73 Orient fans)