FA CUP: Smith knocks Canaries off their perch as Orient spring cup shock
Norwich crash out as O’s march into fourth round
Norwich City 0 Leyton Orient 1
JIMMY SMITH headed home the only goal as Orient pulled off a massive FA Cup shock and knocked out Championship high flyers Norwich City.
Smith, who spent a loan spell at City, rose to nod home a left-wing cross from Dean Cox after just 20 minutes and then the visitors held on to preserve their advantage and book a place in the fourth round.
After O’s had gone in front they had to soak up a huge amount of pressure from the home side, but defended heroically and Norwich were unable to create too many clear cut chances.
It was a victory Orient deserved and long after the final whistle the large contingent of visiting fans were still singing as the players came back on to the pitch to celebrate a momentous cup success, that will provide a huge financial boost for the club.
The home side made the early running, and Orient had an early scare, but keeper Jamie Jones and defender Ben Chorley between them kept the ball out of the net.
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Orient’s first chance arrived on nine minutes when Smith turned in the area and fired in a shot that young Norwich keeper Declan Rudd could only parry and gather at the second attempt.
But it was Orient who took the lead on 20 minutes with an excellent effort, as Smith bagged his third goal of the season.
Cox was the architect with an excellent cross from the left and Smith rose superbly and headed into the corner of the net – almost a carbon copy of the goal he scored against Colchester United on Monday.
Norwich responded and put Orient under an intense spell of pressure. Aaron Wilbraham headed an effort just wide and then the visitors survived a penalty appeal when a cross cannoned off the arm of Charlie Daniels.
O’s suffered a blow when defender Elliot Omozusi came off with an injury on 26 minutes and was replaced by Andrew Whing, who has joined the club on a permanent basis until the end of the season from Brighton.
As the half progressed Norwich started to take a grip and dominate possession, but Orient defended doggedly and kept chances at a premium.
But, as Norwich started to turn the screw, David Fox shot just wide and then the excellent Jones made a good stop from the ever-dangerous Wes Hoolahan.
However, it was Orient who had a good chance to extend their advantage on 40 minutes.
Daniels sent over a corner from the right and Jonathan Tehoue, selected ahead of Scott McGleish to lead the attack, headed wide from just six yards.
But Norwich finished the half on the attack and Jones, who was becoming increasingly busy, saved well from Wilbraham and then Leon Barnett sent a header over the bar.
The second half followed a similar pattern, but for all their pressure, Norwich failed to create too many clear cut chances as the Orient defence was full of heroes.
Daniels kept a close check on the dangerous Anthony McNamee, while Ben Chorley and Terrell Forbes, back in the side after a three-game ban, were simply superb at the heart of the defence.
While Whing, on for Omozusi also defended doggedly, as Orient defended will real resilience.
Paul-Jose M’Poku on as a sustitute for Dean Cox, tried to relieve the pressure and 16 minutes from time he broke down the left and fired a shot over the bar – which was Orient’s first effort of the second half.
Norwich hit back and 12 minutes from time Fox saw a great effort blocked.
Orient tried to lift the pressure and forced three successive corners in the closing stages and M’Poku fired over again.
Then, four minutes from time, Orient broke away and Smith went close to adding his second of the game, only to be denied by the home keeper.
The O’s had to withstand four minutes of stoppage time and with 30 seconds left Jones emerged as the hero when he tipped an effort away from McNamee.
But O’s held on and fully deserved their success.
Orient: Jones, Omozusi (Whing), Chorley, Forbes, Daniels, Smith, Spring, Dawson, Cox (M’Poku), Tehoue (McGleish), Revell. Subs: Butcher, Brown, Chambers, Kane.