Late Posh show denies Orient top spot
- Credit: Archant
League One: Leyton Orient 1 Peterborough United 2
Two Peterborough goals in the last three minutes from consigned Orient to a shock defeat at Brisbane Road.
Britt Assombalonga and Tommy Rowe shocked the home fans after David Mooney’s header looked like it would send Orient back to the top of League One.
The O’s top scorer glanced home Lloyd James’ free-kick with just over 20 minutes to go to send the home crowd into raptures.
But Assombalonga’s header and Rowe’s drive found their way past debutant Shwan Jalal as Orient lost consecutive league matches for the first time this season.
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And late goals have cost the O’s four points in those two games - something that will surely worry manager Russell Slade.
Dean Cox had come closest to breaking the deadlock for the hosts as his first half volley hit the post and Posh thought they should have had a penalty for handball by Elliot Omozusi in a largely uneventful first half.
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The O’s made two changes to the 11 who lost at Rotherham last weekend.
Jalal replaced Ben Alnwick 24 hours after signing on loan from Bournemouth with the former Charlton stopper being signed off indefinitely for unspecified personal reasons.
And Mooney made his first start in two months, replacing Robbie Simpson, but Kevin Lisbie was only fit enough for a place on the bench after missing out with a groin injury in South Yorkshire.
Jalal’s appearance meant Orient had used three different goalkeepers in three consecutive games.
The home side produced one of their best performances of the season when they visited London Road in November, winning 3-1 to extend their lead at the top of League One.
Before that game three points separated the teams, but Orient’s impressive victory not only ended Posh’s unbeaten league home record, but it also started an atrocious run which yielded only four wins from 13 games prior to kick-off.
Orient knew prior to kick-off three points would send them top – promotion rivals Brentford and Wolves both saw their games called off due to the inclement weather.
And they duly delivered but it was a game of surprisingly few clear-cut chances given the attacking quality on display.
Danny Swanson had two early chances for Peterborough but produced two weak finishes. Jalal saved comfortably from Tommy Rowe’s header before the visitors thought they should have had a spot kick.
Strike duo Assombalonga and Nicky Ajose broke down the left and Omozusi appeared to handle as he slid in to challenge but referee Lee Probert was unmoved.
Orient grew into the game as the first half progressed and Cox should have given the hosts the lead.
League One player of the month nominee Scott Cuthbert produced an excellent cross but Cox volleyed against the post from no more than 12 yards out.
Just before the break Mooney showed his sharpness is returning as he curled just wide after an exquisite turn on the edge of the area.
Rowe tested Jalal’s reflexes from long range after the interval but neither side could find the breakthrough.
And the goalkeeper really earned his money on debut to deny the ever dangerous Assombalonga.
He tipped a curler from League One’s top scorer onto the post and Rowe somehow put the rebound wide when it looked easier to score.
Mooney popped up with a crucial goal to give Orient the lead.
But after Ajose poked wide, Assombalonga headed in a free-kick at the back post before Rowe’s drive beat the despairing dive of Jalal as Orient’s promotion aspirations took a serious knock.
Leyton Orient: Jalal; Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi (Sawyer 55); Odubajo, Vincelot, James, Cox; Mooney (Simpson 84), Dagnall (Lisbie 67). Substitutes not used: Larkins, Lasimant, Bartley, Simpson, Ness.