Leyton Orient squeeze past Oxford United

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The O’s missed a number of clear-cut chances as they secured a fortunate victory over third-placed Oxford away from home.

The home team also had an almost certain penalty appeal waved away, but Kevin Nolan‘s men have crept into the play-off places with 10 games to go.

It’s a win that will be doubly pleasing for Nolan after a disappointing defeat last week against Luton.

Speaking after the match, he said: “I asked the lads for a reaction all week and to be fair they’ve been absolutely fantastic.

“To come here and carve out the chances we did, and it could have been three or four. That’s where we’ve now got to get that ruthlessness going when we are away from home.”

Leyton Orient on the attack

A largely uneventful first half was interrupted by a Jobi McAnuff set piece that triggered a goalmouth scramble.

Five minutes before the break, McAnuff chipped delicately to the far post from a wide free kick near the box.

A clever run from Shaun Brisley allowed him to head back across goal, where Nigel Atangana narrowly missed making contact with the ball for what would have been his first goal for the club.

Oxford defender Danny Hylton managed to clear off the line as another Orient attacker threatened to force in the opening goal.

After the break, Oxford demanded a penalty when Jerome Binnom-Williams made a clumsy effort to hook the ball away from Liam Sercombe in the box.

The Orient full back missed the ball and seemed to foul the winger before he could get in a cross, but referee David Coote waved off the appeals from the home fans.

In the 71st minute, Jobi McAnuff made a neat lay off to Armand Gnanduillet after a powerful burst through midfield, leaving the striker in space on the edge of the box.

The Frenchman drifted past a defender and squared the ball to Sean Clohessy. The right winger flubbed a dreadfully hit shot into the ground from six yards out and allowed a diving Joe Skarz to head off the line.

Clohessy gathered the rebound but another desperate block from Skarz stopped his follow up attempt.

Late winner from the O’s

By now the O’s could have been forgiven for thinking a goal would never come but the influential McAnuff was on hand to deliver the winner in the 74th minute.

Oxford twice failed to clear a Clohessy cross and the ball broke kindly in the box for McAnuff who placed a low finish into the far corner.

The home side intensified their pressure on the Orient goal in the final minutes. A slick exchange between Sercombe and Oxford substitute MacDonald in the 87th minute saw Sercombe bearing down on goal but he screwed his shot past the far post as defenders appealed for offside.

With the game deep into injury time, a lunging challenge from Orient captain Mathie Baudry saw him receive a harsh red card.

As Baudry slid in, Oxford striker Roofe flicked the ball over the defender’s outstretched leg at the touchline.

Baudry appeared to have avoided making contact with the pacy striker and did a double-take after the card was produced.

Match highlights

After the game, Nolan said the club would appeal against the late red card for Mathieu Baudry.

The former West Ham player said: “I don’t think it was a red card, I must admit from seeing it in real time and then watching it in video it’s just backed up my view of that.”

However, he conceded the London team rode their luck. “I think we were quite fortunate today because they could have had a penalty.

“I think he might have got that one wrong but I’ll certainly say he got it wrong with the red card.”

League Two table

League 2 table

Orient face Morecambe at home next Saturday and will take confidence from the clean sheet as they target promotion back into League One.

Featured image credit: Thomas Macaulay

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