Writer: Jenny K
Date:Saturday April 9 2011
Sat 9th April/15:00
Orient missed the chance to close the gap on the top six as Southampton's superior strike force reigned supreme in a 2-0 win at Brisbane Road.
Goals from Rickie Lambert and Lee Barnard in either half proved the difference despite the O's workmanlike and brave performance.
Whilst Southampton were more clinical upfront, the scoreline doesn't reflect the O's often dominant second-half showing, two disallowed goals and hitting the post in a good display that just lacked enough bite in the final third.
Slade only made one change from Tuesday's win, bringing in Jonathan Tehoue from the start to replace the injured Alex Revell.
In front of a packed ground and lively away support it wasn't surprising that the away side made the brighter start, Lambert's stinging free-kick just whistling past the post early on.
But it was Orient who had the ball in the net first through Jimmy Smith. Smith met Andrew Whing's cross and prodded the ball home only to be denied by an offside flag. From the west stand it looked like a close call but probably the right one.
Southampton went on to punish us though just before the half hour mark, Lambert netting his 18th goal of the season after connecting on a cross from the left. It was an assured header from the striker that left Jamie Jones with little chance in the O's goal.
The linesman once again denied Orient and Smith just before the break when Jimmy knocked the ball in on the line from Adam Barrett's cross but again it was deemed offside. Whilst extremely frustrating, the goal did look slightly dubious from the other side of the pitch.
At half time Orient still had a good chance in the game. Despite being one down, we looked assured and able to create chances. All that was lacking was a clinical finish in the final third and that turned out to be the case in the second period as well.
Orient started brightly after the break, having more of the ball in the second period. Veteran striker Scott McGleish had the O's best chances of the game, his first a well-crafted hooked shot that forced Saints' stopper Kelvin Davis into a good save.
His second chance was an easier one and one that Scotty, in such a rich vein of form, would normally bury. In front of goal McGleish met a teasing cross from the left but couldn't direct his header and saw the ball fly over the bar. At the time it felt like that was our big chance missed and that probably proved to be the case.
Despite another half chance for McGleish, a long-range drive from Charlie Daniels and Dawson hitting the post, Southampton held firm and grabbed their second to seal the points.
With only minutes remaining Lambert turned provider when his cross from the right fell into the path of Barnard, who simply slotted past Jones. It was a bitter blow for Orient, who had done so well to really apply the pressure in the second half.
But at the final whistle it was Southampton's clinical finishing that sealed the points and left us empty-handed.
We deserved more from the game and in that respect the result was disappointing. But there was little to moan about in terms of the team's performance, one of the better showings from recent weeks.
Adam Chambers had his best game since returning to action, doing his job in defending the back four and breaking up play. Charlie Daniels and Dean Cox once again proved to be our best attacking threats down the left whilst McGleish put in another hardworking 90 minute display.
Unfortunately Jonathan Tehoue didn't have his best game and whilst he wasn't as catastrophic as some were making out, it was another forgettable performance from the big striker.
In the midfield Stephen Dawson and Jimmy Smith didn't have the best days either, Smith like Tehoue was subsequently taken off during the second period.
Orient were aided today by fellow play-off hopefuls Bournemouth and Rochdale both losing, which keeps us well in the fight for sixth.
Although dropping points today makes Tuesday's encounter with Carlisle (our game in hand on Bournemouth) a must-win game and on today's performance, there are plenty of positives we can take into that match.
Leyton Orient: Jones; Whing, Omozusi, Barrett, Daniels; Chambers (Mpoku 78); Smith (Crowe 60), Dawson, Cox; Téhoué (Kane 57), McGleish
Southampton: Davis; Butterfield (Martin 80), Fonte, Jaidi, Harding (Seaborne 73); Chaplow, Hammond, Dickson; Guly (Gobern 65); Barnard, Lambert
Date:Saturday April 9 2011
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