Three wins on the spin help O’s rekindle play-off hopes

Brian Jeeves
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Leyton Orient 2-1 Oldham Athletic

Leyton Orient’s first home win, on Saturday, since mid-January has rekindled their play-off hopes after fine first-half Conor Wilkinson and Dan Kemp strikes – giving interim boss, Jobi McAnuff, a hat-trick of wins. Alfie McCalmont hit a late consolation.

Orient took full advantage of Harry Clarke’s shocking seventh minutes back-pass, and in-form, Conor Wilkinson made sure from the acutest of angles, beating Lawrie Wilson all ends up – his third in as many matches.
But, with their smart passing game, the Latics had the East Londoners under the cosh, for long periods.

Davis Kellor-Dunn missed a golden 11th-minute chance – flashing a header wide, with only Lawrence Vigouroux to beat.

Ouss Cissé almost committed hari-kiri, allowing Alfie McCalmont a clear run at goal – only to wastefully slice wide, on 23 minutes, before seconds later, Conor McAleny hit the base of a post.

But, the O’s settled down, with the flying winger, James Brophy orchestrating fine left-wing play, fed goal-getter, Wilkinson, on 35 minutes, only for Wilson to make a brave save.

Danny Johnson almost ended his long goal drought and was unfortunate to see his 38th-minute effort well blocked by Wilson.

Former Orient loanee, Nicky Adams then shot himself in the foot, on 43 minutes, and Kemp didn’t need a second invitation to fire spectacularly past a helpless Wilson.

A steady start to the second period saw Kemp and Johnson waste presentable chances and they were made to pay, on 61 minutes, when McCalmont curled home a delightful 20-yard effort after the O’s defence had stood off.

It was then very much backs against the wall, as the O’s had to grind out the result, with Kellor-Dunn twice going close, and skipper, Carl Pergianni failing to hit the target deep into stoppage time.

With his side now sitting four points off the play-offs zone, a relieved McAnuff admitted: “I’m very pleased with the result – especially as it’s my first home win as a manager.”

“But, there are things I’m not pleased with. However, this league is so competitive and it’s very hard to find consistency from the top to the bottom of the table.”

He added: “Everyone from the players to the staff have put in an excellent shift. But, with all the travelling – Newport – where we had to dig in at times – and Carlisle – where we had to grind out a result – it’s not always going to be pretty football.”

McAnuff concluded: “Our next couple of games are versus Mansfield and Walsall and they’ll be no ‘gimmies’. We now have an objective, though, with nine games remaining.”

Latics’ boss, Keith Curle, added: “There’s an honesty about our players and a good attitude, but if you give teams goals, it makes your job harder. We gave away two easy goals today.”

Leyton Orient: Lawrence Vigouroux, Tunji Akinola, Jamie Turley, Dan Happe, Joe Widdowson, Dan Kemp, Oussumane Cissé (Jobi McAnuff 60′) James Brophy, Conor Wilkinson (Louis Dennis 60′), Danny Johnson (Tristan Abrahams 84′) Subs not used: Sam Sargeant, Sam Ling, Josh Coulson, James Dayton

Oldham Athletic: Laurie Walker, Harry Clarke, Alfie McCalmont, Carl Pergianni, Callum Whelan, Davis Kellor-Dunn, Kyle Jameson, Conor McAleny, Andrea Badan (Dylan Fage 71′), Marcel Hillsner (Raphael Diarra 55′) Nicky Adams (Cameron Borthwick-Jackson 81′) Subs (not used): Lawrence Bilboe, Brice Ntwambe, Will Sutton, Harry Vaughan

Referee: Darren Drysdale
Assistant: Marc Wilson and Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official: Robert Lewis

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Brian Jeeves

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