Orient's lead down to two points after 3-0 thumping at Stevenage
Stevenage 3 (Reid 6, Roberts 11, Norris, 90).
Leyton Orient 0
Leyton Orient’s lead at the top of League Two is down to two points after they were well beaten 3-0 by second-placed Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium this afternoon.
Two goals inside the first 11 minutes – first from Jamie Reid, then a fine individual effort from Jordan Roberts, took the wind out of Orient’s sails. Substitute Luke Norris added a third in second-half stoppage time.
The O’s miserable afternoon was made even worse just before half time when Idris El Mizouni was dismissed.
Facing his own goal and under pressure from an opponent, El Mizouni fell on the ball midway through the Orient half and scooped it up in his arms – expecting a foul. But referee Scott Oldham saw no push and booked El Mizouni for handball – his second yellow.
Stevenage were the hungrier side from the off. Danny Rose went down in the area in the first minute, Stevenage appealed for a push but the referee was having none of it.
Orient’s fist chance came after five minutes, the imposing Darren Pratley’s shot from the edge of the box blocked by the Stevenage defence.
But Reid gave the home side the lead just seconds later. The Orient defence were caught sleeping from a throw, the ball was helped on by Dan Sweeney, and Reid got his head to the loose ball before Lawrence Vigouroux to put Stevenage ahead.
And it was two on 12 minutes, Roberts twisted and turned on the edge of the box and eventually came inside and slammed the ball inside Vigouroux’s near post with his left foot.
The double-strike was a hammer blow for the O’s, but they began to get a foothold in the game midway through the first half, Charlie Kelman seeing a shot from outside the box fly just over the bar.
But set-pieces were continuing to cause Orient problems. Sweeney was the beneficiary of a knock-on on the half-hour, but his left-foot shot, which could have put the game to bed, was drilled wide to the left of Vigouroux’s goal.
Then just before half-time came the sending-off of El Mizouni, and with it went Orient’s chances.
Reid saw a shot blocked soon after the restart for Stevenage, then Vigouroux produced an incredible reflex save from Carl Piergianni’s bullet header from a corner from six yards out.
The tall substitute striker Harry Smith was causing Stevenage problems at the back. Smith was beginning to win long balls as Orient, despite their numerical disadvantage, responded to the encouragement of the 1,382 visiting fans at the start of the second period.
But the O’s struggled to create any clear-cut chances and understandably began to tire as the second-half wore on.
Sub Norris capitalised as the O’s pushed forward, slipping the ball under Vigouroux for 3-0.
Orient now have just one goal in their past six League Two outings, and although their lead over fourth place is still handsome, they will need to improve quickly to confirm the promotion their early-season form promised.
Teams: Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Clark, Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Roberts, Vancooten, Gilbey, Reid, Rose
Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Thompson, Smyth, Sotiriou, Brown, El Mizouni, Pratley, Kelman, Hunt, McCart, Turns
Referee: Scott Oldham