Leyton Orient maintain fine form to win at Rochdale
League One: Rochdale 0 Leyton Orient 2
An early goal from Jimmy Smith and a second-half strike by David Mooney saw Orient stretch their unbeaten run to seven games at Rochdale on Saturday.
The win capped a great month for the O’s, who started October rock bottom of League One, but after taking 14 points from a possible 18, they are now up to 17th and three points clear of the drop zone.
But the win was marred by an injury to striker Kevin Lisbie, who has played a key role in the revival, as he came off after just 24 minutes with a knee problem following a heavy tackle from Pim Balkestein.
Orient boss Russell Slade made two changes to the side that had taken a point at Yeovil on Tuesday night with winger George Porter returning to the starting 11, along with Jimmy Smith, while young French defender Mike Cestor and midfielder Marc Laird dropped to the bench
It was Rochdale who had the first attempt on goal when a corner from former Orient loanee Nicky Adams found Jason Kennedy, but his shot was saved by Lee Butcher.
But O’s were quick to respond and Matt Spring had a shot saved by Jake Kean on 12 minutes, before the visitors grabbed the lead 30 seconds later.
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Smith marked his return to the side in fine style when he headed home Dean Cox’s left-wing corner.
That was the signal for Orient to take a grip on the game and Mooney almost increased their advantage on 18 minutes, but his effort from the edge of the box was palmed away by Kean for a corner,
The O’s were forced into a reshuffle when Lisbie was replaced by Jamie Cureton following the challenge by Balkestein – who escaped with a lecture from referee James Adcock.
It was a big blow for Slade’s side and it gave the home side a chance to get back into the game, and Butcher tipped an effort from Ashley Grimes over the bar 10 minutes before the break to preserve Orient’s advantage.
Neal Trotman then headed wide following an Adams corner before Butcher saved again from Nathan Eccleston on 40 minutes, but O’s went into the interval with their advantage still intact.
After the break Porter could have stretched Orient’s lead, but sent a close-range header just wide of the post following an excellent cross from Cox, before O’s wrapped things up on 65 minutes when Mooney, who struck twice at Yeovil in midweek, was on target again.
Porter’s low cross was touched into the path of the former Colchester striker by substitute Porter and he hammered the ball home.
That was the signal for a flurry of substitutions as Laird replaced Matt Spring for the O’s, while Rochdale made a double substitute as Eccleston and Stephen Jordan were replaced by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Stephen Darby respectively.
Rochdale tried to hit back and 12 minutes from time Adams saw an effort saved by Butcher, but there was no way back for the home side and Orient held on for victory.
Rochdale: Kean, Darby (Jordan 68 mins), Holness, Trotman, Kennedy, Jones, Grimes, Adams, Balkestein, Tutte (Gray 80 mins), Eccleston (Akpa Akpro 68 mins). Sub: Edwards, Barry-Murphy,
Rochdale bookings: Jordan
Leyton Orient: Butcher, Smith, Forbes, Cuthbert, McSweeney; Porter (Odubajo 90+1), Spring (Laird 68 mins), Dawson, Cox; Lisbie (Cureton 24 mins), Mooney. Subs: Lovelock, Cestor.
Orient bookings: Laird
Referee: James Adcock