O's slip into bottom four

Leyton Orient 1 Southend United 2 ORIENT S inability to keep a lead for the third time in four games cost them dear on Monday, as this defeat saw them drop into the relegation zone. In a tight derby encounter, Adam Chambers fired Orient ahead 10 minutes i

Leyton Orient 1 Southend United 2

ORIENT'S inability to keep a lead for the third time in four games cost them dear on Monday, as this defeat saw them drop into the relegation zone.

In a tight derby encounter, Adam Chambers fired Orient ahead 10 minutes into the second half, but two minutes later former O's trainee Adam Barrett levelled and then the visitors grabbed a winner 16 minutes from time, as geraint Williams' side ended 2009 in the relegation places.

Orient, after taking a point at Brighton on Boxing Day, were forced into making several changes, as Williams was forced to field a reshuffled defence.

Skipper Stephen Purches was forced out of the game on the morning of the match through illness and Charlie Daniels failed to recover from an ankle injury sustained on Boxing Day.

Without their two first-choice full-backs, central defender Tamika Mkandawire filled in on the left, with Andrew Cave-Brown coming into the side on the right, with Luke Ashworth deputising for Mkandawire at the heart of the rearguard.

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Jimmy Smith was recalled into the centre of midfield as Sean Thornton was ruled out through suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Brighton, while Adrian Patulea partnered Scott McGleish up front, as Ryan Jarvis was still unavailable due to a virus.

It meant O's could only field six substitutes, including Harry Baker, Cestor Mike and Harry Beautyman.

In a first half full of perspiration, rather than inspiration, O's created the first chance, when Mkandawire headed over a JJ Melligan free-kick.

But Southend responded and Barrett went close with a header in a lively opening period.

However, after the opening burst, chances were at a premium for the rest of the half as the two teams battled for supremacy.

Andros Townsend, who looks as if his loan spell at the club may be extended, was Orient's most potent threat down the left, while Chambers and Smith worked hard in the centre to keep O's in contention.

The hard-working Smith saw an effort saved by Ian Joyce in the visiting goal, while Ben Chorley picked up a booking on 34 minutes, which will keep him out of Saturday's game against Yeovil Town.

At half-time Williams threw Loick Pires into the fray to partner McGleish, as Patulea was withdrawn and the youngster started to pose problems for the visitors.

O's started the second half well and from a Chorley cross Ashworth, who caught the eye, headed just over.

Then Townsend fired over after some clever link-up play with Pires, who set up the Spurs loanee with a clever back heel.

So, it came as no surprise when the O's took the lead on 55 minutes. Townsend saw a shot blocked and the ball fell inviting for Chambers to fire home from the edge of the area.

It should have been the signal for Orient to go on and take the points, but within two minutes Southend had dragged themselves level.

Simon Francis crossed from the right and Chorley's half-clearance only went as far as Barrett, who crashed the ball home.

Suddenly, the game started to ebb away from the O's and on 69 minutes Lee Barnard had a shot saved by Jamie Jones, but 16 minutes from time another move down the right ended with Francis whipping the ball in again and Barnard reacted first and knocked the ball into the path of Alan McCormack, who fired home.

As O's tried to get back on terms Mkandawire had a shot blocked on 89 minutes and Ashworth had a header saved, but the home side had tossed away another lead and three points and paid the price by dropping into the bottom four.

Orient: Jones, Cave-Brown, Chorley, Ashworth, Mkandawire, Melligan (Demetriou 75 mins), Chambers, Smith, Townsend, McGleish, Patulea (Pires 46 mins). Subs: Morris, Baker, Mike, Beautyman.

Attendance: 5,680 (including 1,432 Southend fans).

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