Leyton Orient 2 Notts County 3

Kevin Nolan made three changes to the side that drew against Exeter City in midweek. Thierry Audel, who sustained an injury in that match, made way, while Alan Smith and Curtis Thompson dropped to the bench. Josh Clackstone, Shola Ameobi and Grant came in.

The first major incident of the match was an unfortunate one as Orient defender Tom Parkes was stretchered off following a collision with Shola Ameobi. Sam Dalby was the man to replace him. It was the hosts who first went close to breaking the deadlock. They were left to rue heroic defending from Richard Duffy and Marc Bola, who denied a combination of Paul McCallum and Dalby on the line after Adam Collin had done well to save Gavin Massey’s shot. Notts’ best opportunity of the opening 25 minutes went to Mark Yeates, who took charge of a free-kick just outside the Orient area after Mezague had tripped Stead. The winger struck the ball low but couldn’t beat the wall. Orient left back Sandro Semedo was given the game’s first booking when he was punished retrospectively for a foul on Michael O’Connor. And the Magpies had the lead shortly afterwards. Orient failed to deal with a bouncing ball forward, allowing Stead to flick the ball on for Grant in the area. The Forest loanee guided the ball deftly past goalkeeper Sam Sargeant to claim his second goal in as many games. Now with a lead to defend, Notts’ rearguard were tested in the lead up to the interval. Duffy was booked for blocking off McCallum minutes before the pair clashed again, this time Duffy sliding in bravely to divert McCallum’s shot away from danger. Six minutes were added on at the end of the half, during which Massey saw a shot deflect off team-mate Dalby and behind, but Notts saw out the rest of the half to go into the break ahead.

And Nolan’s men doubled their lead within minutes of the restart. Ameobi held the ball up well and played it to Yeates, who in turn lofted a pass over the top for Stead. The forward beat Sergeant to the ball and sent it looping goalwards. The whole stadium held its breath as the ball bounced six yards out – fortunately for Notts, it nestled into the net rather than heading over the bar or wide. Orient needed a fast response and that’s exactly what they produced. Collin could only parry Nigel Atangana’s header upwards and McCallum was first on the scene to nod the ball home. Notts nearly made it 3-1 shortly afterwards, Ameobi meeting Rob Milsom’s corner with a strong header but seeing the ball cleared off the line. Milsom went into the book for a foul on Semedo as the hosts broke away and Josh Koroma saw yellow moments later after felling Bola. Notts were showing no signs of resting on their laurels and tested Sargeant twice in quick succession on 67 minutes, Grant nodding the ball straight at the keeper from Yeates’ cross before Ameobi’s low 20-yard effort failed to properly test him. And the Magpies missed a gilt-edged chance to extend their lead three minutes later when Stead headed O’Connor’s terrific free-kick wide from eight yards. Notts continued to press and nearly forced an own goal when Bola slipped Yeates to the byline and the Irishman’s cross was sliced behind by Orient’s Callum Kennedy. O’Connor was the next man into the book following an altercation with Michael Collins and Notts keeper Collin made a good save shortly afterwards to palm away Massey’s curling effort. Nolan’s first change saw Thompson replace Yeates on 79 minutes. But the change did nothing to prevent the hosts from equalising two minutes later. Massey’s shot was blocked by Ameobi inside the area and the rebound fell to Mezague, who lashed the ball into the top corner from 12 yards. It looked like momentum would now swing in the Orient’s favour but Notts had other ideas. Bola produced some sensational skill down the left to slip past two defenders before cutting the ball into the middle for Stead. The forward composed himself before stroking the ball home to spark pandemonium among the 700 travelling supporters.

Smith replaced Stead and, shortly after five minutes of added time were indicated, Thompson was booked for timewasting as he went across to take a corner. Semedo’s tame long-range effort was smothered by Collin and the final whistle followed shortly afterwards as Notts secured an important three points on the road.

Leyton Orient: Sargeant, Judd, Mezague, Parkes (Dalby 10), Kennedy, Koroma, Atangana, Collins, Semedo, Massey, McCallum.

Booked: Koroma, Semedo.

Notts County: Collin, Clackstone, Hewitt, Duffy, Bola, Yeates (Thompson 79), O’Connor, Milsom, Grant, Stead (Smith 90), Ameobi.

Booked: Duffy, O’Connor, Milsom, Thompson.

 

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