Writer: Jenny K
Date:Wednesday March 16 2011
Tues 15th March/19:45
Jimmy Smith returned to the starting line-up and got the only goal of the night as the O's beat Hartlepool 1-0, equalling a club record 14 league games without defeat.
Smith's goalscoring exploits this season continued with his ninth goal of the season. Last night's 28th minute strike capped a fantastic first-half display of passing football from the O's and was enough for Orient to just about hold on to into the second period.
One of the main pointers of success for us this season has been Orient's ability to keep the ball and pass around teams and this once again proved the difference, especially in the first 45 minutes.
Orient could have opened the scoring earlier in the evening when Alex Revell was brought down by Hartlepool keeper Scott Flinders in the box after 12 minutes but the referee didn't point to the spot.
But the O's retention on the ball finally paid off in the 28th minute. Andrew Whing crossed from the right and found Smith in the box, who volleyed the ball into the top corner past Flinders.
Whilst Daniels and Cox are often the prominent threat down the left, Whing if often a decent outlet on the opposite flank. With no natural right winger, Whing can often find space and is improving when bursting forward to supply a cross (or very occasional a wonder long-range goal!)
Orient could have added a second before the break when Stephen Dawson nearly got through and it would have been a goal that would have made the second-half a lot more bearable.
Being on the back-foot for nearly all the first-half forced the home side into a change and it was one that so nearly paid off for Hartlepool.
It was the Pools' turn to dominate the play after the break, with Andy Monkhouse and Leon McSweeney both coming close.
Orient's own Matt Spring probably set-up Hartlepool's best chance of the game in the final minutes of the match when he mis-cued a clearance onto Jones' bar and over.
But a big slice of luck, some very gutsy defending and a couple of fine saves from Jones helped Orient hang on to their slim lead till the final whistle.
The 1-0 win was also Orient's fourth straight win in the league and the fourth clean-sheet on the bounce.
The O's showed just why they have got these clean sheets by defending for their lives in the second-half.
It was a nerve-wrecking way of earning the three points (and not something I would want to go through every week before the end of the season) but every player dug in to show the team can not only pass a ball but defend well too.
Despite the win Orient stay in 7th but we are now only five points off 5th place with games in hand on those above.
This season is continually getting better and better, Orient achieving results at every opportunity and equalling a record going back 56 years (the 1954-55 season). The team seem to thrive on being the underdogs in games or fighting back to earn the points.
Trips up to places like Hartlepool on a Tuesday evening would normally be dreaded occasions and games that Orient would always be likely to drop points at. But this team's determination to get a result means Orient have more than a chance in every game, home or away.
We are the form team of League One (along with MK Dons and Peterborough, each with 5 wins and a draw in last 6 games) and in this form we are getting so close to the top six, our next opportunity to close the gap on the likes of MK Dons and Bournemouth is Brentford away this Saturday.
Hartlepool: Flinders; Haslam, Collins, Hartley, Horwood; Donaldson (Gamble 46), McSweeney, Liddle, Murray (Boyd 77), Monkhouse; Brown (Larkin 28)
Leyton Orient: Jones; Whing, Omozusi, Barrett, Daniels; Spring; Cox, Dawson (Chambers 49), Smith, Mpoku (Kane 70); Revell (McGleish 82)
Date:Wednesday March 16 2011
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|Leyton Orient||2||-||0||MK Dons|
|5. Sheff Utd||46||19||18||9||14||75|
|7. Leyton Orient||46||21||8||17||7||71|
|8. MK Dons||46||19||13||14||17||70|
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