Match Report: Leyton Orient 3 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Leyton Orient and Walsall.
Darrell Clarke's Saddlers arrived in London on the back of last weekend's dismal 3-0 defeat at home to Salford City. A result which saw their run of wins ended at four in all-competitions.

The Saddlers had enjoyed a rare spell of form over the latter stages of September and early openings of October and were keen to get their run back on track as they visited the Breyer Group Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Liam Kinsella got the match underway, but swiftly gave away a free-kick as Rory Gaffney fouled Josh Coulson. Leyton Orient were unable to make anything of the early set-piece, giving away a free-kick themselves seconds later for a foul on Dan Scarr.

Four minutes in, another foul from Coulson saw the Saddlers awarded another free-kick, in a dangerous position. Danny Guthrie played the ball into the box but was just unable to find his man and the hosts cleared the danger.

Walsall continued to enjoy a good spell of possession, winning several free-kicks in the following minutes as their hosts looked to get into the game, though they were ultimately unable to make the most of their dominance.

Ten minutes in, the Saddlers won the first corner of the match as a Zak Jules cross was deflected behind. Guthrie swung the ball in from the flag-kick, but Orient's defence were able to clear the danger.

Four minutes later, Walsall won a second corner, as Jules saw a shot from range blocked by Daniel Happe. Guthrie again delivered the ball into the box, but Leyton Orient 'keeper, Dean Brill was alert to the danger and gathered.

With just quarter of an hour played, Zak Jules became the first player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a foul on Dale Gorman.

Orient finally began to grow into the game as it continued, and won a corner in the eighteenth minute, which fell to Happe, who saw a headed effort cleared off the line by Gaffney.

The hosts continued to enjoy a brighter spell, testing Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts in the twentieth minute, as Conor Wilkinson tried his luck with a low effort, but the man between the sticks was able to get his body behind the effort to hold.

The Saddlers were quick to work the ball back up to the other end, where a pass across the box from Jules, was spilled by Brill, into the path of Stuart Sinclair, who needed no second invitation to turn it home.

Orient were quick to pick up where they had left off before the goal, and soon had the ball in the back of the net themselves as a through-ball Craig Clay was met by Matt Harrold and turned home, but the goal was chalked off as the scorer was deemed to have been in an offside position.

Thirty-one minutes in, the Saddlers won another corner, after a quick break culminated in the ball being deflected out of play. Gaffney played the ball into the area from the flag-kick, with Dan Scarr seeing the eventual shot trickle wide of the upright.

With thirty-three minutes on the clock, Matt Harrold became the second player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook as he picked up a booking for a foul on Scarr.

Six minutes later, the Saddlers again found themselves in shooting range, and won another corner, which Guthrie played into the box, where it was met by the head of Jules, who played the ball on for James Clarke, who saw his effort saved by Brill.

Moments before the break, Walsall won another corner as Rory Holden combined well with Gaffney before the latter saw a shot turned behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but neither side was able to make use of them, though Walsall did continue to try, seeing several half chances, and a corner, cleared before the referee's whistle sounded and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the visitors leading by one-goal-to-nil.

0 - 1

The teams returned unchanged following the break, and Leyton Orient got the action back underway. The Saddlers started the half brightly, testing Brill moments after kick-off with a Holden effort from outside the area, which the 'keeper was able to save.

Just three minutes into the half, Leyton Orient equalised, as Joe Widdowson curled an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box. His first goal in ten years.

Walsall were soon back on the attack, enjoying a prolonged spell of possession and causing their opponents a few headaches as they passed the ball between themselves with ease, though they were unable to truly test their defences.

The hosts were eventually able to win back possession, and fifty-eight minutes in won a free-kick in a dangerous position. The ball was swung into the box and found an unmarked Happe at the back-post, but Roberts was on hand to push the ball around the post. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

With fifty-nine minutes played, Daniel Happe joined the ranks in the referee's notebooks, as he was shown the yellow card for a rather unnecessary foul on Roberts.

As we reached the hour mark, the Saddlers fell behind for the first time in the game, as a defensive mix-up saw Kinsella over-hit a back-pass, which Guthrie left, allowing Clay to pick up the loose ball and play in Harrold, who duly converted.

With sixty-three minutes on the clock, the Saddlers made their first change of the afternoon, as Danny Guthrie, who appeared to have picked up an injury, was replaced by Cameron Norman.

In the sixty-eighth minute, both sides opted to make changes. Darrell Clarke choosing to roll the dice as he made both of is remaining substitutions, with Wesley McDonald and Rory Holden making way for Josh Gordon and Elijah Adebayo, whilst Leyton Orient's Dale Gorman departed in favour of George Marsh.

With seventy-five minutes on the clock, the hosts effectively put the game to bed, as Wilkinson was allowed to run through on goal before scuffing a shot, which trickled over the line.

The Saddlers set about looking to get back into the game, but after some good work from Jules, Gary Liddle fired an effort high over Brill's crossbar.

Seventy-nine minutes in, Orient were reduced to ten men, as a scuffle between Dan Scarr and Conor Wilkinson saw the latter presented with a red card, whilst, fortunately for the Saddlers, Scarr saw only yellow.

The Saddlers looked to make use of their extra man, with Norman curling a free-kick into the box in the eighty-second minute, but Scarr's flick on towards the corner had too much on it and the ball sailed out of play.

Three minutes after the sending off, Leyton Orient opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Matt Harrold making way for James Alabi.

After a quiet spell following the red card, five additional minutes were added to end the game. Three minutes in, Orient opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon, as James Brophy made way for James Dayton. Moments later, the Saddlers really ought to have pulled a goal back, but Adebayo was unable to convert at the back post, when it looked easier to have scored than not.

That would be the last real action of the afternoon though, and the referee's full-time whistle sounded with Leyton Orient running out winners by three-goals-to-one. A disappointing performance from the Saddlers, as they failed, once again, to capitalise on their early chances and ultimately failed to defend a lead.

3 - 1
Widdowson (48')
Harrold (60')
Wilkinson (75')
Sinclair (21')

Attendance: 6,951 (852)
Referee: Ben Toner
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