Orient hopes hit by Iron
- Credit: Archant
League One: Scunthorpe 2 Leyton Orient 1
Orient saw their nine-game unbeaten run brought to an end by struggling Scunthorpe at Glanford Park.
Russell Slade’s men had travelled north in ninth place, four points off the top six, but the manager had warned his players not to underestimate lowly Iron.
And his fears were realised as Orient’s promotion play-off hopes took a significant knock.
Elliot Omozusi came into the starting line-up in place of Scott Cuthbert, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken metatarsal, while Shaun Batt was given a role on the right side of midfield.
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But O’s fell behind after only three minutes as Mark Duffy teed up Akpo Sodje for an angled shot which went in off the post.
The visitors might have got back on level terms almost immediately, as Dean Cox played in leading scorer Kevin Lisbie, but the veteran striker was denied by Eirik Holmen Johansen in the Iron goal.
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Karl Hawley went close to a second for the hosts in a lively opening spell, before Orient began to build pressure midway through the first half.
Batt cut in from the right, only to fire a left-footed shot high and wide, and was then denied by an offside flag after David Mooney nodded the ball down for him on 29 minutes.
Sodje was booked for a challenge on Leon McSweeney soon after, when some felt an elbow had been used and a red card might have been shown.
And the home side had to replace captain Paul Reid with David Mirfin six minutes before the break due to an injury.
But they doubled their lead moments later when Duffy crossed for Niall Canavan to head past Jamie Jones.
O’s halved the deficit on the stroke of half time, though, as Lisbie headed home from a Cox corner for his 14th goal of the season.
And the visitors appeared for the second half with renewed belief, with Batt and Cox forcing early saves from Johansen after the restart.
Michael Collins went close to putting the Iron 3-1 up on 50 minutes as his spectacular volley flew into the side netting.
But Mooney then cut in from the right and curled a shot goalwards, which Johansen did well to push away to protect his side’s lead.
And the Iron keeper was at it again on 62 minutes to deny Cox as O’s continued to push for an equaliser.
Scunthorpe’s Jimmy Ryan was booked for a foul on Cox, before Slade made his first change of the afternoon as he sent Lee Cook on for Batt midway through the half, moving Cox to the right.
Play became scrappy for the next few minutes, as both sides struggled to retain possession, but Lisbie headed over from a Cox corner with 16 minutes left as O’s started to threaten again.
Jones was then called upon to push away a cross from Duffy, but needed treatment after taking a heavy knock in the process. And Slade sent on Charlie MacDonald for Mooney for the last eight minutes with his last throw of the dice as he sought to extend his side’s unbeaten run.
Omozusi blocked an effort by Collins to deny the hosts a third, before O’s forced a string of late corners as the match entered five minutes of stoppage time.
And the visitors went agonisingly close to a last-gasp equaliser as substitute Jimmy Smith saw his shot saved by Johansen and MacDonald was also denied.
Scunthorpe: Johansen, Reid (Mirfin 39), Ryan, Sodje, Barcham (Forde 90), Canavan, Duffy, Nolan, Collins, Newey, Hawley (Alabi 75).
Unused subs: Severn, Ribeiro, Grella, Gibbons.
Orient: Jones, Odubajo, McSweeney, Clarke, Omozusi, Cox, Rowlands (Smith 75), Vincelot, Batt (Cook 66), Lisbie, Mooney (MacDonald 82).
Unused subs: Sawyer, James, Vanderhyde, Grainger.
Referee: David Webb.
Attendance: 3,042 (including 240 Orient fans).