Leyton Orient 0 Salford City 3
Vanarama National League
Saturday 5th January
Salford City put a dent into Leyton Orient’s title wagon after leaving the Breyer Group Stadium with all the points thanks to a commanding performance that saw the Ammies put their promotion charge back on track after beating the leaders 3-0.
The O’s kicked off but it was the Ammies that had the first meaningful attack when with four minutes played a dink over the O’s defence set Matt Green free, but Dean Brill charged out of his box to clear the ball away.
It was an early indication of the Ammies attacking prowess and two minutes later they won themselves a corner, with Danny Whitehead’s delivery from the right being headed beyond Brill by Carl Piergianni to give Salford City an early lead.
Two minutes later and the Ammies had inflicted even further damage as Whitehead sent over a deep cross from the right that was headed into the bottom corner by Rory Gaffney to give his side a dream start. Ten minutes had yet to be played and already the O’s found themselves two-goals down.
The O’s did manage to get a ball into Salford’s box but James Brophy went down under Ibou Touray’s challenge, but the referee waved play on. Then Josh Koroma was hacked down just outside the Salford box, which then saw a melee that resulted in four yellow cards being dished out: Koroma and Lee for Orient with Salford’s Pond and Piergianni also seeing yellow. Once all that settled down Jobi McAnuff then fired his free kick straight into the Salford wall.
Salford’s counter attacks remained a constant threat, with pinpoint accuracy when it came to crosses troubling the O’s. A Gaffney cross nearly reached Green at the back post but Sam Ling managed to divert the ball away just in time. It may have been another Salford goal if he hadn’t done so.
It took the O’s half an hour before they could muster anything resembling a chance as Koroma stroked a shot straight into the arms of Chris Neal. The Salford stopper did have to get down low to save a McAnuff shot, and Koroma also steered one wide. However Salford’s defence had shut the O’s out, defending in depth and strength, the Ammies swamped, challenged and harassed any O’s player that got the ball anywhere near their penalty area. It was a defensive master class. And going forward, the Ammies were quick on the counter, and they launched one last effort before the break, which resulted in Gaffney dinking a shot over Brill’s cross bar.
The O’s needed to start the second half with some momentum if they wanted to get anything from this game. Two minutes into the second period and Koroma worked his way into a good position but Neal shut him out before he could get a shot off. And Brophy had a shot saved by the Ammies ‘keeper soon afterwards. Salford continued their strangle hold on Orient’s attack which meant that the O’s were not able to turn their possession into clear-cut chances. Koroma, Ekpiteta and McAnuff all had runs halted. Then just past the hour Ling linked up with Koroma, who then played the ball into the path of McAnuff whose shot was cut out by Neal.
Salford didn’t venture forward much as the second half progressed, they didn’t really have to and the longer the half went on the more arduous Orient’s task became. A deep cross from Lee was collected by Neal, and then new signing Jordan Maguire-Drew tried his luck with a free kick, which ended up sailing over the cross bar.
In the 80th minute the game was finally taken beyond Leyton Orient’s grasp as an in-swinging free kick by Walker found Piergianni at the back post, and he completed the demolition job by heading the ball home.
Leyton Orient remain top despite this result, but Salford, who had a bit of a wobbly spell over the Christmas break, are now up to 2nd and only two points behind the O’s. Orient have had a bit of a ropey spell themselves recently – Justin Edinburgh now has to try and keep the momentum going as we head into the business end of the season.
Leyton Orient: Dean Brill Sam Ling, Joe Widdowson, Josh Coulson (Dan Happe 65’), Jobi McAnuff (Capt), Macauley Bonne, James Brophy, Dale Gorman (Alex Lawless 63’), Josh Koroma, Marvin Ekpiteta (Jordan Maguire-Drew 63’), Charlie Lee.
Salford City: Chris Neal, Scott Wiseman, Ibou Touray, Liam Hogan (Capt), Carl Piergianni, Matt Green (Devante Rodney 86’), Tom Walker, Liam Nolan, Danny Whitehead (Adam Ronney 90’), Nathan Pond, Rory Gaffney.
Scorers – Carl Piergianni (6’, 80’), Rory Gaffney (8’).