First-half goals undo O’s

Leyton Orient v Peterborough United – Sky Bet League One – Gaughan Group Stadium – Report

Leyton Orient 1-2 Peterborough United

First-half goals by Hector Kyprianou and Ephron Mason-Clark gave fourth-placed Peterborough United’s Sky Bet League One automatic promotion hopes a huge boost following a 2-1 win over Leyton Orient at the Gaughan Group Stadium.   

Richie Wellens made five changes to his starting line-up after O’s late 1-0 defeat at Lincoln City on Good Friday with Jordan Sweeney, John Moncur, Ollie O’Neill, Ethan Galbraith and Daniel Adu-Adjei coming into the side to replace Rob Hunt, Idris El-Mizouni, Darren Pratley, Max Sanders and Ruel Sotiriou.

With the game kicking off in bright sunshine, just two minutes after the start Sweeney intercepted a loose cross-field pass out of defence to power on through the middle before seeing his strike deflected wide of the left post for a corner.

Nine minutes in and from their first attack of the game, Sol Brynn failed to hold Harrison Burrows’ left-sided cross and with the ball dropping kindly to the feet of Kyprianou just inside the area, the former O’s striker was presented with the simplest of chances to tap home into the centre of the net put the visitors 1-0 up. 

Shaq Forde went close to restoring parity just two minutes later after nodding Tom James cross just wide of the post but Posh were a whisker away from making it 2-0 in the twenty-first minute when clever play by Burrows set up top scorer Mason-Clark to fire inches past the left upright from just outside the box. 

Posh deservedly doubled their score in the twenty-fifth minute when David Ajoboye’s cross was headed back across the area by Josh Knight for Coventry City loanee Mason-Clark to stoop low and nudge the ball past Brynn from close range for his nineteenth goal of the season.

With the visitors looking lively moving forward and the O’s constantly struggling to deal with their pacy counter-attacking play, minutes before the break Mason-Clark again went close after cutting in on the left and firing goalward – only for Middlesbrough loanee Brynn to get down and save smartly in the bottom corner and just on the stroke of half-time, the ever dangerous Mason-Clark conjured up yet another opportunity for himself with a fierce snapshot that deflected away off an O’s body and past the post to safety.    

In an attempt to reorganise tactically and turn the 2-0 deficit around, Wellens rang the changes with a triple substitution at the start of the second half – introducing the fresh legs of Joe Pigott, Sotiriou and Hunt in place of Adu-Adjei, Forde and James. The move almost produced immediate dividends with Sotiriou gliding past two Posh defenders before seeing his shot blocked and cleared downfield.  

Following an inch-perfect cross into the box by Burrows, Ricky-Jade Jones had a good chance to make it 3-0 in the fifty-third minute – only to touch his effort wide of the upright and just shortly after, Kwame Poku cleverly laid the ball back for Kyprioniou to fire high and wide from distance.

With O’s starting to finally assert themselves into the game, Sweeney’s pinpoint cross into the area was magnificently volleyed high into the top right corner by Galbraith to cut the deficit for the East Londoners in the sixty-sixth minute.

Following the goal, O’s pushed forward with renewed vigour and Northern Ireland international Galbraith was unfortunate not to find the net again in the seventy-ninth minute after his thundering deflected effort was tipped over the bar at full stretch by a backtracking Jed Steer. 

With O’s fan favourite Dan Agyei entering the fray to great applause in the eighty-third minute after being absent for several weeks with injury, the former Crewe Alexandra striker was presented with a great opportunity to mark his return to first-team action with a goal a minute from the end – only to nod Sanders cross high over the crossbar from eight yards out.

Despite four minutes of added time and their constant pressure on the visitor’s goal throughout the second period, try as they might the O’s were unable to breach the Peterborough defensive line again with Darren Ferguson’s Posh gamely hanging on at the end for the three points.

Next up for the O’s in Sky Bet League One is the visit of Cheltenham Town to the Gaughan Group Stadium on Saturday (3pm) whilst the Posh are in action in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium against Wycombe Wanderers next Sunday (4.30pm).

Leyton Orient: Brynn, James (Hunt 45’) Sweeney, Brown, Cooper, Moncur (Sanders 57’) Forde (Sotiriou 45’) Beckles (Capt) Adu-Adjei (Pigott 45’) O’Neill (Agyei 83’) Galbraith Subs not used: Howes, Edwards

Peterborough United: Steer, Katongo, Burrows (Capt) Edwards, Knight, Mason-Clark (Clarke-Harris 90’) Poku, Ajiboye (Randall 69’) Jones (Mothersille 69’) Kyprianou, Collins Subs not used: Bilokapic, Crichlow, De Havilland, Olakigbe

Referee: Sunny Singh Gill

Assistants: Andrew Hickman and Lee Freeman

Fourth Official: Paul Howard

Attendance: 8,658 (1,200 from Peterborough United)