Town: Chris Weale, Jermaine Grandison, Julian Bennett, Darren Jones, Jon Taylor, Rob Purdie, Matt Richards (c) Jeremy Helan (Parry, 68), Luke Summerfield, Luke Rodgers, Marvin Morgan
Subs: Joe Anyon, Mark Wright, Asa Hall, Paul Parry, Jamie Proctor, Aaron Wildig, Lee Collins
Leyton Orient: Ryan Allsop, Gary Sawyer, Ben Chorley, Kevin Lisbie, Jimmy Smith (Cox, 78), Nathan Clarke (c), Moses Adubajo, Lee Cook (Wagstaff, 85), Martin Rowlands, Lloyd James, David Mooney (Brunt, 69)
Subs: Jamie Jones, Leon McSweeney, Mathieu Baudry, Dean Cox, Anthony Griffith, Ryan Brunt, Scott Wagstaff
Referee: C. Berry
Assistants: C. Fitch & R. Kendall
Fourth Official: I. Fissenden
Attendance: 3,822 (425 from Shrewsbury)
Martin Wild reports from the Matchroom Stadium
Jon Taylor’s first goal of the season for Shrewsbury Town looked to have rescued a point for Graham Turner’s side after they trailed to a first-half Kevin Lisbie penalty at Leyton Orient. But Lisbie planted a late header into the Town net to break their hearts and secure the points, heaping more away day misery on their hardy band of followers.
Turner made three changes to his starting line-up after the midweek defeat at Bournemouth. Rob Purdie came in at left-back with Julian Bennett moving across to partner Darren Jones at the heart of the defence. In midfield Luke Summerfield’s recovery from his bout of sickness saw him replace Aaron Wildig, and returning hero Luke Rodgers was handed the number 29 shirt to partner Marvin Morgan up top after signing yesterday. Lee Collins, Wildig and Jamie Proctor were all named amongst the substitutes.
Rodgers was given a rousing reception from the 400 or so Town fans in the corner of the East Stand as the hosts got the game under way attacking the Tommy Johnston end of Brisbane Road.
Town had been guilty of conceding early goals which have proved very costly this season and they could have been behind here inside of 60 seconds. Moses Odubajo whipped in the delivery, the ball was helped on by Jimmy Smith’s outstretched left boot, and with Chris Weale struggling to make up the ground the visitors were mightily relieved to see the effort clip the outside of the upright and go behind.
They had another lucky escape five minutes later when Lisbie got in behind and when Weale saved bravely at the striker’s feet it looked odds-on that Smith would knock the loose ball into goal. But the timely intervention of a covering Shrews defender, managed to divert the rebound well over the top and keep the scores level.
It was certainly a bright opening by the O’s with Town on the rack and pegged back for long periods of the opening exchanges.
After 16 minutes Rodgers came within a whisker of earning instant folklore status when Taylor’s clever ball put him through. The 30 year old took the shot on first time from 15 yards and though he threaded the effort past Ryan Allsop in the home goal, the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the post as the Town fans on the far side looked set to rejoice the second coming of their former hero.
Salop had weathered the early storm and the contest was a little more even now. Indeed, a nice interchange between Taylor and Matt Richards ended with the former forcing a smart stop by Allsop. Then a deflected cross went behind and from Taylor’s corner, Jermaine Grandison leapt well to head on only for Morgan to lift the ball over from 8 yards with a left foot volley. Orient were living on the edge but it could have been 2-2 with just 20 minutes on the clock with both sides dominant for 10 minute periods. Town looked really dangerous on the counter with the injection of pace causing problems for the East London outfit.
Bang on 32 minutes came the all important opening goal and it came as a result of Jeremy Helan’s naivety. He allowed Odubajo to go inside him to receive Smith’s slide-rule pass and when he attempted to retrieve the situation, the winger tumbled and the outcome had an air of inevitability about it. The referee duly awarded the stone-wall spot-kick and Lisbie did the rest with Weale sent the wrong way from 12 yards.
Taylor saw yellow five minutes before the break for a high challenge on O’s skipper Nathan Clarke although there was absolutely no question of malice on the diminutive winger’s part.
Half-Time: Leyton Orient 1 Town 0
Orient burst out of the traps at the resumption and a steady stream of quality balls into the danger zone had to be defended stoutly to keep them at bay. Lee Cook was a constant threat down the left hand side for Russell Slade’s side but he was cautioned for simulation when he fell at the edge of the box under the slightest contact from Richards.
Shrewsbury just couldn’t get going and their forays into opposition territory were few and far between. The clock had ticked past the hour and Smith’s close range header from a corner just past it, ought to have put the result beyond doubt but he fluffed his lines and the margin remained a slender one.
Turner shuffled his deck for the first time midway through the half with Paul Parry introduced at the expense of Helan whose only really telling contribution of the afternoon had resulted in the opening goal.
And a minute after the substitution Town struck. The goal came from Taylor but much was owed to a series of precision passes on the floor involving a number of Town players as they cut a swathe through the heart of a retreating home defence. Eventually, Taylor saw daylight and calmly picked out the far corner with a crisp angled drive across Allsop.
The equaliser breathed renewed fire into Salop bellies and Bennett had a chance to edge them ahead with 17 minutes to go, but he tamely headed Taylor’s corner into the grateful arms of the O’s keeper. The away fans were in good voice with the change in fortunes giving them a sense of belief too and the Brisbane boys looked visibly stung. Parry’s free-kick struck Grandison or the outcome of that might have been interesting but almost immediately substitute Brunt nearly had Orient’s fans in dreamland again with a fierce shot that was diverted over the top.
Lisbie was denied by Weale with the save of the match with 10 minutes or so to play as the game hung in the balance, with Taylor looking like the most likely match winner for the Shropshire side. Parry bent one wide from just outside the area and Summerfield tried his luck from a similar range although that was a tame effort by comparison.
The game swung one way and then the other but towards the end, Town were guilty of not picking up from a Dean Cox corner and Lisbie thumped home his second with one cursory nod of his head past a static Weale.
Four minutes of stoppage time came and went without incident and it was the home fans who cheered the three peeps on the referee’s whistle.
Full-Time: Leyton Orient 2 Town 1