Leyton Orient’s unbeaten run ended by Sheffield Wednesday
League One: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Leyton Orient 0
Reda Johnson’s header after 19 minutes was enough to condemn Orient to their first defeat in 11 games at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Johnson’s effort enabled Wednesday to register their eight home win in nine league games and lifted them to second place in the table, while the O’s are just three points above the drop zone.
In truth, the visitors rarely looked like levelling once the big defender had put Wednesday ahead, although it might have been a different story had Tom Clarke’s early header gone in instead of crashing against the crossbar.
Orient boss Russell Slade made three changes from the side that had drawn against Stevenage last weekend, as Leon McSweeney, Tony Craig and Lee Cooke came into the team in place of Charlie Daniels, skipper Stephen Dawson and George Porter.
McSweeney returned following a one-game ban, while Craig, who joined on loan from Millwall following the departure of Daniels to Bournemouth, came in for his O’s debut.
Also making his first start was Lee Cook, another to have joined the club on loan in midweek from Queen’s Park Rangers and he played 66 minutes before being replaced by Porter
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It was the visitors who had the first real chance on 11 minutes when Clarke sent a header thudding against the bar, following a fine run and cross from Leon McSweeney.
It turned out to be an expensive miss as it was the home side that took the lead nine minutes later when Chris Lines sent in a cross and Johnson headed home from close range at the far post.
Wednesday looked to stretch their advantage, but visiting keeper Ben Alnwick denied Ryan Lowe with a smart save on 25 minutes and then defender Terrell Forbes blocked a shot by Ben Marshall.
Johnson had the ball in the Orient net again following a corner, but referee Scott Mathieson had spotted a foul and awarded the visitors a free-kick.
O’s had a chance to level in first-half stoppage time when David Mooney volleyed an effort wide of the right-hand post.
Orient made a change at the break, with Marc Laird replacing David Mooney, but Wednesday still held the upper hand and Clarke made an excellent block to deny Chris O’Grady, before stand-in skipper Matt Spring cleared a Liam Palmer header off the line.
The visitors rallied near the end and almost snatched a point when substitute Porter headed Craig’s deep cross back across the face of the goal and, despite a frantic finish by the visitors, Wednesday held on for the points and moved closer to the top of the table.
Sheffield Wednesday: Bywater, Batth, Semedo, Johnson, Tavernier, Llera, Lines, O’Connor (Palmer 52 mins), O’Grady (Prutton 89 mins), Marshall, Lowe (Morrison 78 mins). Subs: O’Donnell, Bennett.
Sheffield Wednesday bookings: Batth (82 mins).
Leyton Orient: Alnwick, McSweeney, Cuthbert, Forbes, Craig, Spring, Mooney (Laird 46 mins), Smith (Cureton 82 mins), Clarke, Cooke (Porter 66 mins), Lisbie. Subs: Butcher, Chorley.
Referee: Scott Mathieson