Leyton Orient 1 Carlisle United 2
Sky Bet League Two
By Rowland Lyons the Matchroom Stadium
Judging by the performance and the commitment shown by new boss, Danny Webb’s men, last Saturday, the O’s first positive result of 2017 shouldn’t be too far off.
Despite being ultimately pipped by the high-flying, but ten man Cumbrians, with Craig Liddle and the soon to be red-carded, Jamie Proctor strikes cancelling out Gavin Massey’s fine opener, Webb was optimistic after the hosts’ fifth successive defeat: "We will take heart from the game, and what I’ve got to get through to the players is that everything will be positive. I have to try and get the players playing with a little bit less fear. If the fans support us like they did to today, it will give even grown men a lift."
The east Londoners’ confident start was finally rewarded on 25 minutes, when a knock-on from a Carlisle defender, from Sam Sargeant’s clearance fell inviting
for Massey - 15 yards out.
Instead of steadying himself, Massey’s enterprise paid instant dividends with a fine, instinctive strike that skidded off the damp surface and crept under keeper, Mark Gillespie - not dissimilar to Jon Tehouhe’s FA Cup goal against Arsenal, back in 2011.
The hosts then had to endure sustained Carlisle pressure - but were unfortunate to be pegged back only nine minutes later when Liddle poked home from a yard out after Sargeant had superbly tipped Jamie Devitt’s free-kick on to the crossbar.
Fancying their chances, the Cumbrians continued to pepper the Orient goal, but Nicky Hunt and Tom Parkes stood firm with several vital interventions.
Then having endured several nervous moments after the turnaround, with ex-Orient favourite, Jabo Ibehre twice going close and the home side surviving a penalty shout when the promising Myles Judd appeared to handle an Ibhere header, the O’s reorganised and replaced the tiring loanee, Rowan Liburd and introduced Sammy Moore as Webb gambled with a 4-3-3 formation.
But, with a shade over twenty minutes remaining, Carlisle got their noses in front in the most controversial of circumstances.
Playmaker and former loanee, Nicky Adams played on when from all of 50 yards away it appeared that the ball had gone in to touch.
Adams - though - ignored any Orient appeals and crossed for sub, George Waring, to draw a fine save from Sargeant, only for a suspiciously offside-looking Proctor to react quickest and head home from an acute angle.
Having soon picked up a caution for a 74th minute foul on skipper, Hunt, matchwinner Proctor turned sinner by seeing red for a crude challenge on Judd only a minute later.
With a good twenty minutes - including stoppage time - to rescue a point - the east Londoners did their best to pen in their visitors.
But, with rookie and late sub, Victor Adeboyejo the only recognised striker, the O’s lacked punch, and Nigel Atangana’s late header failed to really test Gillespie.
Webb added: "I’ve learned today that it’s tough at the top. It’s different. But, I’ve gone from managing thirteen to fifteen age-group teams to this. However, I know what I want and don’t get fazed whether we’re one-nil up or five-nil down, as I’ve got a lot of lads out there who are in a relegation fight, but who should still be in the youth team. I’m not going to hide from them."
The former Southend striker continued: "Heads didn’t drop today when we went a goal down. And, mistakes are fine. This season isn’t about playing perfect football - or getting eight or nine out of ten in your local paper. But, it’s all about doing what you can to get four thousand punters on your side."
Webb concluded: "We were up against a side who should ’breeze’ a top three place this season, and I thought we kept going - and their manager was in a bit of a panic towards the end, as I thought we might get something from the game."
Carlisle boss, Keith Curle, said: "After two defeats and three draws and with the players we have brought into the squad, they are buying into the ethos we are trying to create and I thought we were excellent."
Loan signing, Liburd concluded: "Everyone’s upbeat and now trying to put this result aside and get back out there again on Tuesday night against Morecambe (kick-off 7-45pm). I also want to get my first goal and three points for Leyton."
How they lined up:
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Nicky Hunt (captain), Tom Parkes, Callum Kennedy (Teddy Mezague 83), Gavin Massey, Michael Collins, Nigel Atangana, Sandro Semedo, Rowan Liburd (Sammy Moore 60), Sam Dalby (Victor Adeboyejo 77).
Subs: Charlie Grainger (gk), Liam Kelly, Josh Koroma, Yvan Erichot.
Carlisle United: Mark Gillespie, Gary Liddle, Michael Raynes (captain), Macaulay Gillesphey, Tom Miller, Nicky Adams (James Bailey 85), Luke Joyce, Jamie Devitt, John O’Sullivan (Mike Jones 69), Jabo Ibehre (George Waring 66), Jamie Proctor (sent-off 74 mins)
Subs: Max Crocombe (gk), Mike Jones, James Bailey, Reggie Lambe, Shaun Miller, Alex McQueen.
Referee: Graham Horwood
Assistants: Andrew Newbold & John Law
Fourth Official: Marc Wilson
Attendance: 4,306 (677 travelling supporters).