Rover and out as Melligan and Smith strike
Bristol Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 2 ORIENT made the perfect start to the new season as goals from JJ Melligan and Jimmy Smith swept them to victory at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday. It was the third year in a row that the O s had registered an opening-day
Bristol Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 2
ORIENT made the perfect start to the new season as goals from JJ Melligan and Jimmy Smith swept them to victory at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
It was the third year in a row that the O's had registered an opening-day victory and manager Geraint Williams was delighted with the success.
"It was a great way to start, and I was delighted with the way we began the game," he said, after Orient had dominated the opening exchanges.
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"It was solid and professional, and we seemed to grow into the game. We played some decent stuff in the first half," he added.
"We went ahead and we were disappointed we weren't in front at half time. But I was delighted with the performance and we had a good impact going forward."
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The only surprise in Orient's starting line-up was the inclusion of Ryan Jarvis, as summer signing James Scowcroft is still not fully match fit. While there was a league debut for former Tranmere man Ben Chorley at the back.
But Jarvis, who has looked good in pre-season, relished the chance to partner Scott McGleish up front, and the duo gave Rovers plenty of problems.
"We could possibly have been ahead more at half time, but to be fair, Rovers had a few chances as well and Jamie Jones had to make a good save from a free-kick and they missed one from a header," admitted Williams.
"It was a good, open first half and then we showed our character after conceding right on half time.
"The midfield worked hard and the front two, or three as it was in the end, worked tirelessly to help us get out and relieve the pressure.
"We hardly created any chances in the second half, but it was a world-class goal from Jimmy to win it for us."
Orient looked good early on, as Jarvis twice went close and Melligan curled a shot just wide.
But the Irishman was rewarded on 40 minutes when he arrived at the far post to fire home, after Scott McGleish had touched on a cross from Jarvis, who had done well to surge down the left.
However, Orient's joy was short-lived as the ever-dangerous Rickie Lambert levelled on 44 minutes after a shot from Jeff Hughes defelected off Chorley and fell neatly into the hitman's path.
Rovers regained the initiative after the break and should have taken the lead when Jo Kuffour found himself in the clear with just Jamie Jones to beat, but the O's keeper came to the rescue with a neat stop.
It was an expensive miss for the home side, as midway through the half Bryon Anthony headed away Melligan's cross, but Smith took the ball on his chest and volleyed it back into the top corner for a goal worthy of winning any game. O's were up and running.