Leyton Orient 4 – 1 Sutton Utd
A humdinger of a north versus south London derby on Saturday saw the O’s recover from a poor start with Harry Smith claiming a brace, after Theo Archibald had cancelled out Isaac Olaofe’s early strike. Tom James then added insult to injury, late on.
Having seemingly survived early Sutton pressure, with Olaofe claiming the ball had crossed the line from a Craig Eastmond header, Alex Mitchell’s poor square ball left Shad Ogie in no man’s land and this time Olaofe could claim a genuine,18th minute goal, from an acute angle.
Despite this early setback, the O’s were level on the half hour mark when Archibald reacted quickest to Harry Smith’s knock on from Tom James’s towering long throw in.
The O’s hard work was nearly undone barely six minutes later when Richie Bennett’s drive hit the woodwork, before the East Londoners hit back and Smith was unlucky to see his 41st minute header bounce wide of an empty net.
Having survived this let-off, visiting keeper, Dean Bouzanis then fumbled Archibald’s 44th minute corner only for Smith to again fail to find the target with another header, before glancing a tantalising Archibald cross inches wide, in added on time.
Seconds after the restart Smith got the goal his endeavours deserved when Bouzanis dropped Archibald’s cross and the former Northampton man gleefully gobbled up the chance.
Another Smith knock on, from James’s wicked throw-in, saw Archibald unable to make decent connection from barely a yard out.
For all his excellent attacking play, James almost turned villain, on 55 minutes, putting the loose ball on a plate for a surprised, clean through Olaofe, who could only shoot straight at a grateful Vigouroux.
As the pendulum swung, Hector Kyprianou was unlucky to see his powerful effort rebound out from the underside of the Sutton crossbar, before Kemp was unable to keep his drive down after the visitors had failed to clear a James’ set-piece.
Often jittery in possession, another unforced error, on 66 minutes, this time from stalwart Craig Clay set up Olaofe to find sub, Omar Bugiel, but the striker’s angled drive lacked power.
Man-of-the-match Smith – on 82 minutes – increased the O’s lead with the sweetest volley you’ll ever likely to see at Brisbane Road, after Sutton had failed to clear another James long throw. The ball was still rising as it found the top corner of the befuddled Bouzanis’s net.
James then capped an impressive afternoon, with the icing on the cake with a fine effort, following Archibald’s clever stoppage time corner, side-footing home.
Orient make the long trip to struggling Scunthorpe, this Tuesday evening (kick-off 7-45pm), before facing Northampton Town at Sixfields, next Saturday (kick-off 3pm)
Boss, Kenny Jackett said: “After Sutton – who are a good side – had a good opening twenty minutes, I thought we edged it for the remainder of the first-half and for most of the second-half.”
He added: “Up front we showed a lot of hunger, pace and power, like with Dan Kemp who lives and breathes football every day. We’ve accommodated him by switching to a three-five-two formation. He played very well today and has a very good attitude.”
The former Portsmouth boss concluded: “Sutton were always a threat, even though we did create a number of chances. A lot of teams do well coming out of the National League and you can see why they’re up there.”
Two-goal Smith said: “I’m really happy, especially after our slow start – for which you’ve got to give them credit.”
“But, once we had levelled, we didn’t look back. My second goal is probably the best I’ve ever scored. I was glad I didn’t hit it over the stand!”
Facing one of his former clubs, Northampton, this Saturday, Smith concluded: “We go there confident and I’ve got nothing to prove. I had another year on my contract, but I feel very much at home here in Leyton.”
Sutton boss, Matt Gray said: “Their [first] goal changed the game, but we’ll take it on the chin. I thought the scoreline flattered Orient, though.”
He added: “We didn’t track their runner for their first goal and the second goal comes from our keeper colliding with our defender from a routine cross. Their third was a ‘worldy’ [volley], but it’s a hard one to take.
Gray concluded: “We’ve got back-to-back home games coming up. It’s a chance for us to bounce back. But, seventeen games into the season, I’m more than happy with our progress.”
Former Colchester man, Sutton’s Craig Eastmond, had the last word: “One hundred percent, the game could have gone either way at one-one. And, on another day we take our chances. It’s part and parcel of football.”
Leyton Orient: Lawrence Vigouroux, Tom James, Omar Beckles (capt), Alex Mitchell, Shad Ogie, Theo Archibald, Craig Clay, Dan Kemp, Hector Kyprianou (Darren Pratley 82), Aaron Drinan (Paul Smyth 86), Harry Smith. Subs (not used): Rhys Byrne, Connor Wood, Dan Happe, Adam Thompson, Ruel Sotirou.
Sutton United: Dean Bouzanis, Joe Kizzi (Jon Barden 69), Ben Goodliffe, Louis John, Rob Milson, David Ajiboye, Craig Eastmond (captain), Alastair Smith, Will Randall, Isaac Olaofe, Richie Bennett (Omar Bugiel 57). Subs (not used): Brad House, Ben Wyatt, Kenny Davis, Rickie Korboa, Donovan Wilson.
Referee: Scott Oldham