Thornton’s wonder goal rocks Brighton
Leyton Orient 2 Brighton 1 SEAN THORNTON S wonder strike, two minutes from time, gave Orient a precious win over relegation rivals Brighton on Saturday, writes TREVOR DAVIES. The goal was the one moment of genuine quality in an otherwise nervous basement
Leyton Orient 2 Brighton 1
SEAN THORNTON'S wonder strike, two minutes from time, gave Orient a precious win over relegation rivals Brighton on Saturday, writes TREVOR DAVIES.
The goal was the one moment of genuine quality in an otherwise nervous basement battle, and it came completely out of the blue.
A long kick from keeper Jamie Jones saw Simon Church head the ball on and Thornton picked it up wide on the left.
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He drove in and from the edge of the area, produced a delicious curling effort that ended up in the far corner of the net.
Boss Geraint Williams was delighted afterwards and said: "Sean's goal was worthy of winning any game at any level. One piece of magic settled it.
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"It was a tense game with lots of effort and not much quality, apart from the goal.
"Time will tell how important this result is, but for today it's a massive win, because we have taken three points and someone around us hasn't."
Brighton, under new boss Russell Slade, played five debutants and the only surving Seagull from Orient's goalless clash at the Withdean earlier in the season was Andrew Whing.
O's made the brighter start as Jason Demetriou picked up a free-kick from Charlie Daniels and raced towards the Brighton box before unleashing a shot that flew just wide, then Thornton had an effort blocked.
However, a recurring theme of recent matches, is that Orient have conceded an early goal and on 17 minute, it happened again.
Jordan Spence conceded an unneccessary free-kick and when Adam El-Abd sent the ball into the danger area Jamie Jones, under pressure from Lloyd Owusu, couldn't hold the ball.
Spence had a chance to clear, before Matt Heath saw his first shot blocked by Scott McGleish, but followed up to stab the rebound home.
It looked as if Jones had been fouled by Brighton's debutant striker Owusu, but referee Richard Beeby allowed the goal to stand.
O's tried to respond, but chances at either end were few and far between.
Thornton sent a free-kick just wide and Church fired over and, as the O's worked up a head of steam, McGleish went close following Church's cross from the right.
Referee Beeby was the centre of attention again a minute before the break when Brighton's Al Bangura clashed with Daniels.
It looked as if Bangura led with his arm as he smashed into the Orient defender but, instead of a red card, Beeby decided to just caution the Brighton player.
A minute later, Beeby seemed as if he may have evened things up a little, when he pointed to the spot after Church went down after minimal contact from Heath.
McGleish, for the second successive home game, stepped up and blasted the penalty into the net.
Paul Terry replaced Adam Chambers at the break and for a while O's looked as if they had found a head of steam.
Daniels crossed from the left and McGleish sent a header against the bar, then Thornton fired home but his effort was ruled offside.
Orient's charge fizzled out and Brighton looked as if they might nick a winner.
Jones made a vital save when El-Abd powered in a header following a Kevin McLeod free-kick.
Craig Davies then twice went close for the visitors and Bangura also fired over, before O's regained a semblance of control.
McGleish had a shot saved by Mikkel Andersen, but then, in the 88th-minute, Thornton's wonderful winner finally settled this tense affair.
A delighted Williams added: "I was impressed with the character we showed to come from behind."
As for the contentious decisions, he said: "Church did well to get his body in front of Matt Heath and he had his arms around him. Whether there was enough contact for him to go down, I don't know.
"But the game was a bit of a throwback to the old days, because I thought that Jones was fouled for their goal.
"I didn't see the keepers today shielded as usual and Daniels certainly took a knock."
Williams was delighted the O's had scored twice against Peterborough and Brighton. "We're the lowest goalscorers in the division, but we have scored two goals in our last two games and we are trying to get forward more," he said.
"It's important we keep picking up points at home, especially against the teams down there with us," added Williams.