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  • Writer's pictureBy Dan Evans

Moncur's moment of magic keeps Orient clear at the top of League Two

Leyton Orient (0) 1 Moncur 64

AFC Wimbledon (0) 0

Derby wins can do a great deal more than ensure you stay top of the league table.

Although a superb second-half George Moncur strike against AFC Wimbledon strengthened Leyton Orient's lead at the summit of League Two, it could also be the catalyst to ending a miserable run of recent form.

Hamstrung by the absence of injured top-scorer Paul Smyth, Orient have lacked the fluency that made them runaway League Two leaders before the New Year.

Conceding late goals and picking up red cards have become bad habits capable of de-railing a promotion push even though the league title had once seemed a formality, as Orient won just one in seven across the end of December and throughout January.

Richie Wellens’ side were energised by Kieran Sadlier on his home debut against the Dons though. The Bolton Wanderers loanee forcing Nick Tzanev into the first save of the afternoon with an angled drive from inside the penalty area.

But they were by no means the game’s dominant force.

Wimbledon’s own win in the reverse fixture back in November came at the start of a run just one defeat in 14 league matches that has made play-off ambitions more than a mere fantasy.

Far surer of themselves than when they beat Orient three months ago, Johnnie Jackson’s men were defensively sound and confident in possession on a Brisbane Road pitch that is beginning to show the strain of a long winter.

Ethan Chislett passed up a rare sight of goal when he dragged an effort off target after Wimbledon had once again neatly worked their way to the edge of the Orient box.

They too found clear-cut chances hard to come by in a first half of archetypal London derby football. Tackles were flown in to and tempers boiled over, and it resulted in misplaced passes and wild efforts at goal rather than anything more inspired.

Wimbledon’s own January attacking addition had their best opportunity in the first half; Ali Al-Hamadi was denied by Lawrence Vigouroux at the end of a rapid breakaway.

If Chislett’s miss in the first half had been unfortunate, the one he passed up after the interval was glaring. Picked out expertly by Josh Davison, Chislett had time to take the ball in his stride and steady himself before finding the back of the stand instead of the top corner.

He was made to regret his miss within ten minutes as Moncur found space in the Wimbledon defence to open the scoring.

The Orient midfielder escaped the attention of two attempted tackles before driving a shot into the far corner of the net that evaded both the hands of Tzanev and a clutch of bodies on the line.

Jackson emptied his bench in response, handing a debut to Charlton loanee Diallang Jaiyesimi in the process, but the game returned to its natural state following Moncur’s brief moment of quality.

Saikou Janneh saw a goal bound effort headed off the goal-line by Adam Thompson, but Jackson’s men were unable to find the groove that made their festive period so successful.

With the Orient fans finally matching the enthusiasm of Wellens on the touchline by the final whistle, Brisbane Road was well aware that this win has the potential to do far more than keep a faltering side top of the league for at least another week.

Leyton Orient: (4-2-3-1) Vigouroux – Hunt (Thompson 69), Beckles, Turns, Sweeney (James 53)– Lyden (Clay 53), El Mizouni – Archibald (Sotiriou 65), Moncur, Sadlier – Kelman (Drinan 65). Subs not used: Byrne, Ogie

Wimbledon: (Formation) Tzanev – Biler (Gunter 33), Kalambayi, Pearce, Brown (Currie 71) – Woodyard, Little – Chislett, Pell (Janneh 71), Al-Hamadi (Jaiyesimi 71) – Davison. Subs not used: Broome, Marsh, Pierre.

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