Stevenage move into play-offs as Orient edge closer to relegation
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Stevenage put four goals past Leyton Orient on Tuesday to move into the League Two play-offs.
Boro started strongly and it took the east Londoners a while to enjoy a sustained spell of possession at the Lamex Stadium.
Ben Kennedy nearly opened the scoring after 12 minutes following some neat play by the hosts, but he curled wide.
It was all Stevenage and Jobi McAnuff produced a dangerous cross four minutes later, but nobody was on the end of it.
Less than 60 seconds later and Sam Sargeant was called into action for the first time and denied Matt Godden. Orient broke from the resulting corner and Michael Collins brought the ball forward, but he was tackled.
Soon after the hosts’ pressure finally paid dividends as Stevenage took the lead in the 18th minute. McAnuff brought the ball forward and managed to ride the challenge of Michael Clark before crossing into the area.
Kennedy, unmarked, made no mistake from six-yards out and headed in a deserved opener for the hosts.
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Three minutes later and things went from bad to worst for Orient as Nicky Hunt was penalised for pulling Luke Wilkinson’s shirt.
Referee Charles Breakspear, who sent off two O’s players against Plymouth Argyle in September, pointed to the spot.
Stevenage were handed a great chance to double their advantage and Matt Godden smashed into the top corner and made it 2-0.
It looked like being a very long night for Orient at this point, but they responded in the 24th minute.
McCallum won the visitors a free kick and Collins stood over the set-piece and curled in a dangerous ball, and it was Paul McCallum who got on the end of the cross and brilliantly headed past Chris Day and into the corner.
Orient were handed a big boost as a result and began to grow in confidence after reducing the arrears.
But Danny Webb and the O’s were dealt a major blow in the 31st minute when Gavin Massey was booked for shoving Connor Ogilvie.
It was a needless foul to make and was the ex-Colchester United wingers 10th caution of the campaign meaning he will now miss the weekend trip to Newport County and the match with Grimsby Town on Saturday week.
Webb’s team failed to let the blow affect them and went close again three minutes later.
Moore picked out Josh Koroma with a neat pass and the teenager drove at the home back four. He played in Massey, who had a lot of time, but he sliced wide when he should have at least tested Day.
It was an excellent chance for Orient and yet they went close again in the 36th minute as they continued to press.
Massey was involved again and crossed in for Sandro Semedo, who had an effort deflected over the crossbar. From Collins’ resulting corner, Clark appeared to be pulled to the ground by Wilkinson but referee Breakspear waved away the appeals and it was Stevenage who went close next when Jack King headed into the ground and over.
Orient went close again when Myles Judd, Massey and Koroma combined excellently on the right. It was Koroma who was played in on the right and he tested Day before Stevenage cleared the danger.
Stevenage got the second half underway and the big question was whether Orient could see out the first 10 minutes after the restart.
Unfortunately the answer was no as McAnuff’s cross was met by a Wilkinson header and Sargeant couldn’t keep it out.
Orient’s young goalkeeper would have been disappointed after getting a hand to the effort and failing to prevent Stevenage grabbing a third goal in the 48th minute.
Now it looked a tall order for O’s and Boro were looking more likely to increase their advantage.
McAnuff caused Semedo all sorts of problems in the 53rd minute and picked out Fraser Franks, but he smashed against the crossbar from close range.
It was all Stevenage and Webb made a change on the hour mark with Freddy Moncur making his first appearance of the season.
Moore was the man to make way, but almost straight after the change and the hosts made it 4-1.
Kennedy’s clearance was poor and Stevenage worked the ball brilliantly and Tom Pett fired into the net.
Sargeant got a strong hand on the close range shot, but the ball trickled over the line with Hunt unable to clear.
Steven Alzate was introduced for his debut straight after the fourth with Semedo being replaced and Orient started to show more fight with Judd coming forward with purpose and having a shot deflected wide.
In the 67th minute the O’s went close twice in quick succession with Koroma firstly forcing Day to parry away from goal.
Webb’s team kept the ball well and moved possession around before Massey tried to find the top corner. The effort by the Orient winger was heading for the net as well until Day got up well to tip over.
From the resulting corner, Koroma bundled Collins cross in, but referee Breakspear awarded a foul on the Stevenage goalkeeper.
Moncur, who made a big impact after his introduction, then did well before passing out to Judd and he won O’s another corner.
The pace of the game, understandably, slowed down afterwards with Orient dictating possession and trying to break down Stevenage.
Webb brought off the impressive McCallum with seven minutes remaining as Adeboyejo was introduced.
Collins tested Day in the first of four minutes of stoppage time, but the game was long over by now.
The full time whistle soon followed to hand O’s a third consecutive defeat and they are now six points from safety.
Boro, though, have moved into the top seven ahead of their home match with Notts County this weekend.
Stevenage: Day, Franks, Wilkinson, King, Ogilvie, Pett (Cowans 76), Lee, Tongue, McAnuff (Hinds 83), Godden (Loft 88), Kennedy. Subs: Preston, McQuoid, Gorman, Ntlhe.
Leyton Orient: Sargeant, Judd, Hunt, Clark, Kennedy, Koroma, Moore (Moncur 60), Collins, Semedo (Alzate 63), McCallum (Adeboyejo 83), Massey. Subs: Grainger, Mezague, Dalby, Happe.
Attendance: 2,908 (682 Orient supporters)