First-half horror show sinks sad Orient
New keeper Rachubka beaten four times before the break
Wycombe Wanderers 4 Leyton Orient 2
Its unlikely new loan signing Paul Rachubka will forget his first game for Orient - as the Leeds United goalkeeper must have wondered what he had let himself in for.
Rachubka met up with his new team-mates before the game and in an awful opening first half he was beaten four times.
The win saw Wycombe, who started the game at the foot of the table, complete a double over Russell Slade’s side and the result leaves the O’s just six points off the drop zone.
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Skipper Matt Spring and midfielder Marc Laird cut the deficit after the interval, but that first-half shocker cost Orient dear.
Slade made four changes to the side that had drawn at home to Walsall at the weekend. Goalkeeper Marek Stech was ruled out with an ankle injury and replaced by Rachubka, who became the fifth player – six if you count Scott Cuthbert – who have pulled on the green jersey this season.
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Defensive duo Cuthbert and Ryan Dickson were also ruled out with injuries, while Jonathan Tehoue was also missing and has been linked with a loan switch to Swindon Town.
So it meant a debut for Rachubka, while Leon McSweeney and Laird were both recalled and Calvin Andrew made his first start.
There was no evidence of the first-half horror show that was about to unfold as Orient created the first chance of the night when Kevin Lisbie almost beat Wycombe keeper Nikki Bull to the ball.
But it took the basement boys just seven minutes to break the deadlock when Rachubka saw Stuart Beavon flick the ball into the corner of the net following Danny Foster’s cross from the left.
The reshuffled Orient defence looked suspect every time Wycombe pushed forward and on 26 minutes the home side struck again. Craig Eastmond ran from the half-way line in splendid isolation and threaded the ball through for Paul Hayes to finish from 12 yards.
To make matters worse, Dean Leacock limped out of the action on the half-hour and was replaced by Syam Ben Youssef, who came on for his Orient debut, as Terrell Forbes moved back to the heart of the rearguard.
There was no sign of the misery ending and on 33 minutes more slack defensive play allowed Matt Bloomfield the chance to score.
Then, to put the cap on a truly woeful first half performance, Wycombe scored a fourth when Bloomfield crossed after O’s failed to clear a corner and Ben Strevens added the finishing touches.
Whatever boss Slade said at the break seemed to work as within 24 seconds of the second half the O’s had pulled a goal back.
Skipper Spring did his best to haul the visitors back into the game when he netted with a spectacular effort from 25 yards as he beat Eastmond and then fired the ball into the roof of the net.
O’s looked a different side and Ben Chorley went close to cutting the deficit even more with a header after Calvin Andrew and Dean Cox combined.
Struggling Wycombe found themselves on the back foot and the alarm bells started to ring when Laird added a second on 73 minutes when he headed home following McSweeney’s cross.
Lisbie almost added a third when substitute George Porter set him up, but the Wycombe keeper blocked the effort with his legs.
It was too little too late to save Orient from only their fifth away defeat of the season, but they only had themselves to blame after such a shocking first half.
Orient: Rachubka 4, Forbes 5, Leacock 5 (Ben Youssef 30 mins), Chorley 6, McSweeney 4, Smith 4 (Porter 67 mins), Spring 7, Laird 6, Cox 5, Andrew 4, Lisbie 6. Subs: Lovelock, Lobjoit, Mooney.
Referee; David Phillips