Orient back in the mix
- Credit: Archant
League One: Leyton Orient 2 MK Dons 0
Orient kept their slim hopes of a play-off place alive with a fine victory over fellow contenders MK Dons.
Second-half goals from Gary Sawyer and Kevin Lisbie were enough to give Russell Slade’s side a crucial three points.
And with other results going in their favour, victory left Orient just one point behind sixth-placed Swindon, who have a game in hand.
Slade made only made one change to his side after last week’s 2-1 defeat at Colchester, with defender Sawyer coming in for Lloyd James, who began the game on the bench.
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O’s were still without the injured quartet of Scott Cuthbert, Elliot Omozusi, Mathieu Baudry and David Mooney but started brightly, with Moses Odubajo firing a shot goalwards in the seventh minute, which was well saved by Dons keeper Ian McLoughlin.
The visitors’ first major chance came in the 13th minute, when a long ball by keeper McLoughlin found Dean Bowditch who fed Patrick Bamford, but the striker failed to make a good connection.
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Neither side had another clear-cut opportunity until the 30th minute, when Bamford tried to lift the ball over O’s keeper Jamie Jones.
It was the best chance of the game so far but Bamford could only find the side netting.
A minute later, the Dons fans thought their side had gone ahead when Bowditch found the net with a low shot, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Although O’s left-back Sawyer had a high drive was saved by McLoughlin in the 36th minute, it was Dons who were creating the better chances.
Orient centre-back Romain Vincelot was adjudged to have brought down Ryan Lowe four minutes before the break, and Shaun Williams’ resulting free-kick was palmed away for a corner by Jones.
After a scrappy start to the second half, Dean Cox had a half chance in the 60th minute but his shot went harmlessly over the bar.
Luke Chadwick and Daniel Powell came on for Dons and Chadwick was in the thick of it straight away, with his pass finding Bamford, who shot wide.
After Chadwick won a free-kick two minutes later, Williams again had a free-kick saved at the near post by Jones.
Dons were pushing for an opener and looked by far the better team in the second half until Lee Cook’s introduction galvanised the home side.
Cook created problems on the left flank and not long after coming on his wonderful driven cross from the left just failed to find an Orient striker.
Cook continued to probe and Orient deservedly took the lead nine minutes from time when a lofted free-kick eventually found Sawyer, whose low shot from the edge of the area beat McLoughlin to his right for his first goal for Orient.
O’s pushed for a second and a great run and shot from Odubajo forced the Dons keeper into another save.
But the home side doubled their lead in the final minute, when Lisbie and Cox exchanged passes in the final third, which left Lisbie with an easy finish to McLoughlin’s right.
It was a 16th goal of the campaign for Lisbie and O’s will now travel to Coventry next Saturday looking to take their bid to the final day of the regular season.
Leyton Orient: Jones, McSweeney, Clarke, Vincelot, Sawyer, Cox, Odubajo, Rowlands, Smith, Lisbie, MacDonald (Cook 66).
Unused subs: Butcher, Vanderhyde, James, Lee, Obafemi.
MK Dons: McLoughlin, Otsemobor (McLeod 83), Lewington, Doumbe, Williams, Potter, Lines, Bowditch, Chicksen (Powell 62), Lowe (Chadwick 61), Bamford.