Leyton Orient 0-3 Stockport County

The Hatters’ final away-jaunt of the regular season took them to East London, where they ran riot against League Two Champions Leyton Orient to chalk up a three-goal victory and guarantee at least a finish in the play-offs.

Goals inside the opening 10 minutes, courtesy of Akil Wright and Callum Camps, got proceedings off to a sensational start – before County ensured the points, and a first win in E10 for nearly 15 years, with a third from substitute Connor Evans towards the end.

County showed four changes from the starting line-up at Edgeley Park against Rochdale a week earlier. Camps, Joe Lewis, Jack Stretton and Wright comprised the recalled quartet – replacing Neill Byrne, Jacob Davenport and skipper Paddy Madden (all of whom were named among the substitutes), as well as the injured Will Collar. Ryan Croasdale wore the captain’s armband in Madden’s stead – and there was a day to remember for 16-year-old midfielder Ashton Mee, who, by taking his place on the bench, featured in the senior squad for the first time.

The ‘O’s’, meanwhile, who had made sure of the divisional title seven days previously at Brisbane Road against Crewe, entered the field to applause from the County players and flame effects on the pitch. But any generosity on the Hatters’ part was very soon, and very  demonstrably, put to one side, as they took the lead after just four minutes and doubled it with nine on the clock.

Wright applied the finishing touch for his first league goal of the season by connecting with Chris Hussey’s cross from the right, after a corner by Hussey on the same flank had only been partially cleared.

And then, five minutes later, the advantage was extended, as Camps found himself in space on the edge of the box, before letting rip with a shot that flew into the left corner of the net.

Orient sought to respond through Tom James and Kieran Sadlier, whose respective efforts from the right were put behind by Wright and Lewis – and through Jamie McCart, who fired over after Idris El Mizouni had received a short corner and crossed from the left.

Four minutes ahead of the break, Stretton advanced through on goal – but fired straight at home goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux. And, in the course of added time, Ben Hinchliffe parried away a free-kick by James.

HALF-TIME: Leyton Orient 0, County 2 (Wright, 4; Camps, 9). 

Madden was introduced upon the resumption – replacing Tanto Olaofe, who had picked up a late first-half injury. And the Hatters found themselves with the inaugural chance of the new half, as Stretton squared to Lewis who fired beyond the right post from 12 yards.

At the other end, Paul Smyth wove his way to the right by-line before picking out George Moncur, whose shot was blocked by Croasdale. And, with the hour approaching, the hosts made an attacking triple substitution to freshen up their front line.

Hinchliffe had to be at his best to divert a delivery from the right by James that was heading towards one of the substitutes, Charlie Kelman – who himself went close a few minutes later, after latching on to Ruel Sotiriou’s low cross from the same flank, only to see his shot blocked and deflected past the near post by Wright.

But nine minutes from time, County made the game safe, as Evans, a dozen minutes into his cameo appearance, glanced home Hussey’s lofted free-kick from the right.

The result leaves the Hatters two points behind third-placed Northampton, ahead of the season’s final round of matches on 8th May.

FULL-TIME: Leyton Orient 0, County 3 (Wright, 4; Camps, 9; Evans, 81). 

Team (3-5-2): Hinchliffe; Wright, Horsfall, Lewis; Knoyle, Camps (Mee, 90 + 2), Croasdale (Capt.), Hippolyte (Davenport, 90 + 2), Hussey; Olaofe (Madden, 46), Stretton (Evans, 69).

[Debut for Ashton Mee, with a unique SCAN (Stockport County Appearance Number) of 1448.]

Unused Subs: Jaros, Byrne, R. Johnson.

Booked: Hippolyte, Hussey.

Attendance: 8,615 (1,214 away).

Reporter: Gareth Evans.

Photographer: Mike Petch.


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