Revival run comes to a shuddering halt
Leyton Orient 0 Walsall 1 ORIENT S charge away from the League One relegation zone came to a shuddering halt on Saturday, writes TREVOR DAVIES. Three successive wins had lifted the O s away from danger, but they failed to follow it up with a victory aga
Leyton Orient 0
ORIENT'S charge away from the League One relegation zone came to a shuddering halt on Saturday, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
Three successive wins had lifted the O's away from danger, but they failed to follow it up with a victory against mid-table Walsall.
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The visitors scored the only goal just before the break through Mark Bradley and Orient, who started and finished well, just could not battle their way back.
Boss Geraint Williams admitted afterwards: "It's very, very, frustrating, because we started brightly, but then messed it up.
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"We did not show enough quality and although we created three or four good chances, we didn't convert them."
And he warned: "We're all disappointed and perhaps this is a wake-up call, because 42 points isn't enough to stay in this division, so we need to pick up more and as soon as possible.
"We have beaten ourselves today and we're not safe and that's what hurts us.
"We played well for 30 minutes, but we have got to do it for 90 minutes."
Ironically, it had all started so well for the home side, as they dominated the early exchanges and looked on course for a fourth straight win.
Jason Demetriou started on the right, with Jimmy Smith on the left and O's looked dangerous.
Visiting keeper Clayton Ince, who commanded his area well all game, gathered a Scott McGleish shot at the second attempt, following Demetriou's right-wing cross.
Then Simon Church did well to latch on to Chris Palmer's under-hit back pass but, under pressure, could only knock the ball wide.
Church then wriggled clear when Smith delievered the perfect pass, but Ince saved well.
However, Walsall gradually fought their way back into the contest and the warning signs were there when Sofiane Zaaboub's excellent strike was tipped over by Jamie Jones in the home goal.
And, on the stroke of half-time, Walsall struck the killer blow.
Charlie Daniels gave the ball away and Alex Nicholls, Jabo Ibehre and Troy Deeney combined slickly to set up Bradley, who raced unmarked from midfield and fired into the top corner.
O's started strongly at the start of the second half and Smith was denied from close range by Ince, before McGleish fired wide after Church set him up.
As Orient lost their way, Williams threw Wayne Gray and JJ Melligan into the fray.
Gray moved on to the right in place of Smith, while Melligan played in the centre of midfield, replacing Paul Terry.
But O's still struggled to find their feet and suffered another blow 16 minutes from time, when Tamika Mkandawire limped off and was replaced by Alton Thelwell.
O's finally managed a head of steam and in the last 10 minutes Demetriou set up Church, who burst through, but couldn't find enough power to beat Ince, who pulled off another great stop.
Demetriou was then denied when the goalkeeper blocked an effort with his legs, before Daniels headed over a Demetriou corner.
Former O's striker Ibehre was substituted near the end to a warm round of applause, but the chill wind of relegation is still blowing around Brisbane Road.