League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers prove too strong for Leyton Orient in the end
PUBLISHED: 16:59 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 18 March 2017
Simon O'Connor Photography
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 1 Doncaster Rovers 4
Leyton Orient ran out of steam in the end against League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers as they suffered a 4-1 defeat at Brisbane Road.
Danny Webb’s team were level at the break after matching Rovers for long parts of the first half.
But Darren Ferguson’s side showed their class after the restart and deservedly took home the points.
Webb made five changes to the starting XI which lost 5-0 at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night.
Alex Cisak returned to make his first appearance since January 28 with Sam Sargeant on the bench.
Charlie Grainger wasn’t part of the squad and Nicky Hunt (knee) and Callum Kennedy (groin) missed out through injury.
Aron Pollock, making his first start since November 26, replaced Kennedy, although played at right-back.
Myles Judd switched to the opposite flank and Michael Clark partnered Tom Parkes in the heart of defence.
Liam Kelly returned after his six-game suspension and captained the side while Nigel Atangana started again.
Freddy Moncur dropped to the bench with Sam Dalby, as Webb favoured experience against the league leaders.
Doncaster included ex-O’s captain Mathieu Baudry in their starting line-up with John Marquis up top against his old club.
Orient got proceeding underway and the opening exchanges were very even with both teams winning a corner each.
Neither set-piece came to much, although good pressing by Gavin Massey in the 13th minute got the O’s fans in fine voice.
The visitors began to up the ante and it forced Judd to make a crunching tackle before Clark powerfully beat Marquis in the air.
Atangana then did well to halt Tommy Rowe’s jinking run into the area with a perfect sliding challenge.
Doncaster created the first real chance of note in the 21st minute as James Coppinger left Koroma for dead on the right.
Coppinger picked out Marquis with his cross, but Cisak was able to parry the ball away from goal.
Orient then responded, as Michael Collins took a quick free kick and Sandro Semedo produced a fine low cross.
Nobody from the O’s had gambled at the front post and Ian Lawlor was able to claim the dangerous delivery.
Webb’s team had frustrated the leaders for 25 minutes and Doncaster began to get more annoyed as the half an hour mark was passed.
The hosts had done a fine job of nullifying the threat of Rovers, but that changed nine minutes the break.
Marquis looked set to get a shot off, but Parkes did brilliantly to slide in and stop the Doncaster forward.
Unfortunately Clark’s tackle on an away player ricocheted to Rowe and he cut inside before drilling into the corner.
It was slightly harsh on Orient who had held their own, but the visitors scented blood now and pushed for a second.
Judd deflected an effort from Conor Grant wide, as O’s had to survive a succession of corner kicks.
But a minute before half time and Orient broke from one of Doncaster’s set-pieces and made the leaders pay.
Parkes brought the ball forward midway inside his own half and passed into the path of Massey.
The duo then produced several pieces of stunning interchange before Massey played the defender through.
And Parkes, despite being a centre back, showed superb composure to slot into the corner and level the scores.
It was a sensational moment and all of the Orient players celebrated with the defender after his first goal for the club.
One minute of stoppage time was added on, but O’s came in all square and deservedly so after a spirited first half showing.
Doncaster was forced to change their goalkeeper at the break with Marko Marosi coming on for the injured Lawlor.
The away side should have gone ahead again five minutes after the restart when ex-O’s loanee Marquis was presented with a great chance.
Alfie May did well on the right and Clark completely missed the cross, but Marquis’ shot was deflected over by Judd.
It was a let-off for Webb and his young side, but in the 55th minute another one of their mistakes was punished.
Pollock unwisely attempted a pass across his own goal and failed to find a team-mate, but instead Marquis.
Doncaster’s in-form hitman needed no extra invitation as he controlled before firing into the corner from just outside the area.
Again Orient responded positively, although they were finding it difficult to break down the away back four.
O’s young defence appeared to be tiring now with a catalogue of errors occurring in the 69th minute.
First Pollock was turned too easily by Rowe, but his cross went straight to Judd, yet he inadvertently passed to May, but the Doncaster striker sliced well wide.
May was replaced soon after by Andy Williams, who should have found the net with his first touch.
Coppinger broke forward following an Orient corner and played in Williams, but he fired over with just Cisak to beat.
Webb made his first chance in the 77th minute as Dalby was introduced for Koroma with O’s hoping to force some late drama.
Clark was the next Orient youngster to make a mistake, but Rovers substitute Gary McSheffrey wasted the chance.
But Doncaster did extend their lead with seven minutes remaining as McSheffrey did well on the left and picked out Marquis, who emphatically fired past Cisak.
There was still time for things to get worse for O’s as McSheffrey created another goal in the 86th minute.
McSheffrey picked out Baudry and the former Orient captain volleyed superbly into the corner to make it 4-1.
The French defender didn’t celebrate at all, however, and as a result was applauded by the home supporters.
Steven Alzate was introduced for Atangana after the goal before three minutes of stoppage time were added on.
Dalby had an effort which went wide, but the game was over as a contest and soon the full time whistled followed.
Orient, despite the defeat, were applauded off the field after a valiant effort against the league leaders.
The next battle they face is in the High Court on Monday as they face a winding-up petition over an unpaid tax bill.
Leyton Orient: Cisak; Pollock, Clark, Parkes, Judd; Koroma (Dalby 77), Collins, Kelly, Atangana (Atangana 87), Semedo; Massey.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Mezague, Liburd, Moncur, Happe.
Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor (Marosi 46); Blair, Baudry, Butler, Alcock; Mason; Grant, Rowe; Coppinger (McSheffrey 77); May (Williams 71), Marquis.
Unused substitutes: Lund, Middleton, Mandeville, Evina.
Attendance: 4,791 (816 Doncaster Rovers supporters).