Stevenage fell to a 3-0 defeat at table-topping Leyton Orient this evening as the O’s struck three times in the final 17 minutes at the Matchroom Stadium.
The scoreline doesn’t accurately reflect the game however as Stevenage looked threatening for much of the night, hitting the woodwork twice in the first half through Brett Williams and Dipo Akinyemi and also forcing Alex Cisak into the save of the game in the second half. Despite getting a stroke of luck with the opening goal, as a Wells clearance hit the referee and fell kindly for Orient, the hosts displayed some clinical finishing through Jay Simpson and subs Blair Turgott and Ollie Palmer, to thwart Boro.
Teddy Sheringham named the same Stevenage XI that started the weekend draw at Newport, meaning both Brett Williams and Dipo Akinyemi continued up top and loanees Kettings, Hitchcock and Ogilvie began on the bench.
Both teams created chances in a lively start to the action. Bradley Pritchard blasted wide from 16 yards at one end before Brett Williams rattled the post with Cisak beaten, after carefully watching a high ball and volleying on the turn. It was a magnificent effort and the striker was unlucky to see the loose ball hit Cisak on the back and go behind for a corner.
Williams again and then Lee went close with shots blocked before Orient gradually came into the game, regularly hitting the flanks with some searching balls, leaving Okimo especially on high-alert.
Dean Cox shot wide with a first-time shot inside the box on 18 minutes, when a ball from Pritchard fell into his path. Then just before the half-hour the O’s thought they had broken the deadlock when McCallum met the umpteenth cross from Sean Clohessy, but there was Mark Hughes to clear off the line.
Ten minutes before the break Dipo Akinyemi came to life, collecting a Williams flick and turning his defender inside out before seeing his fierce drive hit the crossbar and bounce down, to leave Boro frustrated by the woodwork for a second time.
Jay Simpson headed straight at Day from a quickly taken Orient corner on 38 minutes but otherwise it was Boro who approached the break in the ascendancy. First a half chance opened up for Pett on the edge of the box but rather than beat his man on the outside and open up an opportunity on his favoured right foot, the winger elected to cut inside but saw his shot blocked.
Then moments later, Schumacher found Pett with a lovely ball behind the defence and the winger won a corner. Boro crowded the box but Orient defended resolutely to leave the teams level at half-time.
Stevenage began the second half in attacking style, with Williams bursting towards goal and playing a good ball into the six yard box, only to see the cross cleared for a corner.
Sammy Moore volleyed a Shaw cross over moments later and then at the other end a great ball from Franks was cleared for another Stevenage corner with both Williams and Akinyemi set to pounce.
Williams forced a flying save from Alex Cisak 10 minutes after the break as Stevenage continued to look dangerous, although the hosts were equally a threat from wide positions with McCallum’s header flying just wide.
Sub Tom Conlon shot inches wide inside the box on 67 minutes and Boro’s luck well and truly seemed out when a massive touch of fortune fell in the hosts’ favour as they finally broke the deadline 17 minutes from time. Breaking from an Orient attack, a clearing header from Wells hit the referee and fell kindly for Orient. Dean Cox advanced down the left and floated in a cross for Simpson to head home.
Tom Hitchcock and second year scholar Jack Storer – the latter for his competitive debut - came on as Boro went chasing for an equaliser in the closing quarter of an hour. Instead they were hit with a sucker punch seven minutes from time as Orient scored a second on the counter. Franks was robbed in possession high up the pitch and when a cross-field pass found Clohessy, his cushioned pass was blasted home superbly by Turgott to put the game beyond Boro.
Sub Ollie Palmer put the icing on the cake for Orient in injury time, prodding past Day after beating Wells to the ball, leaving Stevenage with much to contemplate ahead of Saturday’s home game with Hartlepool United. Tickets for that game can be found here.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Shaw, Essam, Baudry, Cox (Dunne 82), James (Turgott 58), McCallum, Moore, Pritchard, Simpson (Palmer 75)
Subs not used: Grainger, Kashket, Moncur, Ling
Stevenage: Day, Franks, Hughes, Wells, Okimo, Schumacher, Parrett, Pett (Storer 77), Lee (Conlon 64), Williams (Hitchcock 75), Akinyemi
Subs not used: Kettings, Casey, Ogilvie, Gorman
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 4,949 (400 away)