Cox winner little consolation to Orient



League One: Coventry 0 Leyton Orient 1

Dean Cox’s goal in first half stoppage time earned Orient victory at a sunny Ricoh Arena, but it was not enough to keep their promotion play-off hopes alive.

Cox struck after a fine run and cross by Moses Odubajo, but Swindon’s 3-0 home win over Stevenage left Russell Slade’s men four points off the top six with only next weekend’s home match against Oldham to come.

Slade made just one change to his starting line-up, following the 2-0 win over MK Dons a week earlier, as Lee Cook came in for Charlie MacDonald.

But the O’s boss was only able to name four substitutes and the home side had the first chance of note as John Fleck forced a smothering save from Jamie Jones on seven minutes.

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O’s rallied, with 16-goal leading scorer Kevin Lisbie dragging an effort wide of the near post moments later, and the opening exchanges remained fairly even, although Coventry’s Carl Baker looked dangerous in attack.

O’s skipper Nathan Clarke made a vital block on 25 minutes with Danny Philliskirk looking set to fire the hosts ahead, but the visitors then went close as Cook curled in a free kick and Jimmy Smith arrived at the far post but put his header wide.

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Coventry had Richard Wood, David Bell and Cyrus Christie booked during a 15-minute spell in the first half, before Orient’s Martin Rowlands was also cautioned.

And play was then held up when the sprinklers suddenly went off before Jones pushed a shot from Baker behind in the 44th minute.

O’s broke the deadlock in stoppage time, though, as Odubajo produced a strong run on the right flank and pulled the ball across the face of goal for Dean Cox to curl past Coventry keeper Joe Murphy.

It was the perfect tonic for Slade’s men, on a beautiful day in the midlands, and they went close to doubling their lead soon after the restart as Rowlands fired a low free kick into the side netting.

Fleck fired well over for Coventry, who then pegged Orient back in their own half as the home side enjoyed a spell of superiority.

Bell robbed Leon McSweeney of possession just past the hour and cut inside, but sent hit shot into the side netting when he might have done better.

But Cook teed up Rowlands at the other end and his first-time effort flashed just over the Coventry crossbar.

Bell shot the wrong side of the post after beating McSweeney again on 64 minutes, while Christie continued to threaten the visiting defence.

But Orient weathered the storm, although Clarke had his name taken for handball with 13 minutes remaining.

Franck Moussa flashed a long-range drive inches wide on 85 minutes, before Slade sent Lloyd James on for Cook in a bid to hold onto his lead.

And James was presented with a chance by Odubajo as normal time drew to a close, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Murphy.

Orient’s travelling support was in fine voice on their last away-day of the campaign but, after a brave push, their Championship dreams will have to go on hold for another season.

Leyton Orient: Jones, McSweeney, Vincelot, Clarke, Sawyer, Odubajo, Smith, Rowlands, Cook (James 85), Cox, Lisbie.

Unused subs: Butcher, Lee, Vanderhyde.

Attendance: 11,234 (including 893 Orient fans).

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