O’s back to winning ways thanks to Archibald’s stunner

Leyton Orient v Doncaster Rovers – Sky Bet League Two – Brisbane Road – Report

Leyton Orient 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Theo Archibald’s stunning thirty-yard volley saw Leyton Orient through to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers, their first victory in four games as they extended their lead over second-place Stevenage at the top of League Two to five points.  

Richie Wellens made four changes with Adam Thompson, Aaron Drinan, George Moncur and Paul Smyth coming into the side for Omar Beckles, Dan Happe, Charlie Kelman and Jayden Wareham, while Ruel Sotiriou returned to the bench for Leyton Orient following their 1-0 defeat at Northampton Town last week.

Doncaster Rovers Head Coach Danny Schofield named an unchanged side from the team that beat Carlisle United 2-1 on New Year’s Day.

After a minute’s applause for former keeper John Jackson, who died on 29 December aged eighty and indeed all Leyton Orient supporters who passed away in 2022, both teams failed to create many opportunities in a half that in truth was short of quality as both O’s and Rovers gave the ball away cheaply on several occasions.

The first real chance fell to Rovers in the fourteenth minute, after keeper Lawrence Vigouroux’s poor clearance – intended for Rob Hunt, was intercepted by Kyle Hurst – only for his shot to be deflected behind for a corner by Jordan Brown.

The visitors went close again just a few minutes later when Luke Molyneux played George Miller into the box, only for him to skew his shot narrowly wide of the post.

Shortly before the break, Moncur’s backheel found Archibald on the edge of the area, only for him to shoot straight at Doncaster keeper Jonathan Mitchell, who held the effort with ease.

With O’s changing their shape in the second half, they pressed forward and with Doncaster Rovers offering little in the way of attacking options, began to dominate the remainder of the game – going close twice just after the hour mark after Mitchell saved Archibald’s shot direct from a corner and then held onto Ruel Sotiriou’s twenty-five-yard effort shortly after.

Archibald’s wonder strike in the sixty-eighth minute, which proved to be the winner for Leyton Orient, was a moment of pure magic that will be long remembered by those fortunate enough to witness it. After Miller’s poor clearance out of defence fell to him, the former Scotland U21 international controlled the ball on his thigh before lashing home a dipping left-foot volley past Mitchell into the top right-hand corner of the net from over thirty yards out – to the utter joy of O’s fans.

The game was played out bizarrely in monsoon-like conditions and with a swarm of green parakeets buzzing the pitch and the players. Although Kyle Knoyle blasted over the bar near the end, it was Leyton Orient’s day and they now turn their attention to next Saturday (3.00pm) when Barrow will visit the Breyer Group Stadium.

Leyton Orient:  Vigouroux, Hunt, Brown, Thompson, James, El Mizouni, Pratley, Moncur (Sotiriou 52′) Archibald, Drinan (Kelman 88′) Smyth (Duke-McKenna 80′) Subs not used: Sargeant, Clay, Wareham, Sweeney

Doncaster Rovers: Mitchell, Knoyle, Williams, Anderson, Seaman, Biggins, Close, Maxwell, Molyneux (Woltman 69′) Miller, Hurst (Agard 76′) Subs not used: Jones, Long, Barlow, Ravenhill, Flint

Referee: Alan Young

Assistant Referees: Daniel Cook and Stephen Finch

Fourth Official: Stephen Brown

Attendance: 7,402 (384 from Doncaster Rovers)