REPORT: Stevenage 0 Leyton Orient 1

Sam Hoskins makes a run for it, taking the ball with him. Photo: Harry Hubbard

Sam Hoskins makes a run for it, taking the ball with him. Photo: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Smith’s men fail to dust off cobwebs following extended break

Stevenage 0 Leyton Orient 1

npower League 1

AS the referee blew his whistle for full-time at the Lamex Stadium this afternoon Leyton Orient supporters jumped up and down, jubilant at getting three points.

Yet for the home support such a result, regrettably, does not come as much of a surprise at the moment as this defeat was Boro’s sixth in their last seven home matches, the other being a draw.

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There was hope of a positive result before the game, of course, but during the game there were too many mistakes, too many passes went astray and too few chances landed on target, and it was in midfield where Boro struggled to turn possession into anything more substantial.

Greg Tansey, on the right, failed to trouble the full-back and often cut inside where space was restricted; Anthony Grant, in the heart of midfield, struggled on the ball, and too often gave it away; and Filipe Morais, on the left, saw plenty of the ball but his end product lacked direction and penetration.

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There were some positives; striker Sam Hoskins looked lively in the final third with one run in particular doing that which Luke Freeman was once renowned for, getting you on the edge of your seat, while at the back Ben Chorley, signed on Thursday from this afternoon’s opponents, looked assured and confident, and should prove to be an astute bit of business.

Orient had the first chance of note when Morais’ pass across field was blocked and Dean Cox was put in only for Steve Arnold to make a save.

Cox, though, would soon have another chance, and this time he made the most of it.

Orient had a throw-in on the right, and when Leon McSweeney sent in a cross two Boro players were drawn to the ball alongside Charlie McDonald and it somehow bounced through to the unmarked Cox who fired home.

Shaun Batt, signed on loan by Orient from Millwall midweek, stung the palms of Arnold, before, at the other end, Lucas Akins created his only chance of note but curled his effort wide of Jamie Jones’ goal.

Hoskins then made his wonderful run, with the on-loan Southampton striker weaving his way past three defenders before forcing Jones into a decent save.

There were further chances – Batt’s header just wide, Morais’ stinging shot straight at Jones and MacDonald shooting low at Arnold – but the game remained 1-0 going into the break.

The first half had been lively but the second was anything but. It was not that Orient attempted to frustrate – in fact, they had the better chances – the reason was that Boro just failed to produce.

Cox’s free-kick, after a mistimed Darius Charles tackle, was headed over by MacDonald from five yards when he should have buried it, and the visitors thought they had doubled their lead with 20 minutes to go only for MacDonald’s effort to be ruled out for offside.

By now Grant had made way for Steve Beleck, but it was an Orient substitute, Dave Mooney, who went closest when he fired just over from distance.

Dani Lopez also entered the fray for Boro, but between him and Beleck they only managed one half-chance of a header over the bar (Lopez) and a shot across goal and wide of the far post (Beleck).

Smith admitted afterwards that his team looked like one that had not been in competitive action for three weeks. He wasn’t wrong.

Stevenage: Arnold 7, Gray 6, Charles 5, Roberts 6, Chorley 6, Morais 6, Tansey 5, Dunne 6, Grant 5 (Beleck 58, 5), Akins 5 (Lopez 75), Hoskins 7. Subs: Day, Hills, Comminges, N’Gala, Shroot.

Leyton Orient: Jones 6, McSweeney 6, Sawyer 6, Cuthbert 7, Baudry 5, Cox 7, Griffith 6, Smith 6, MacDonald 7 (Clarke 90), Odubajo 5 (Cook 73), Batt 6 (Mooney 65, 6). Subs: Obafemi, Rowlands, James, Omozusi.

Att: 3,577

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