Leyton Orient 0 Wycombe Wanderers 2 April 1st 2017.
It may have been April Fools Day but another defeat for the O’s certainly wasn’t humorous in any way, shape or form as Wycombe came away from Brisbane Road with a 2-0 win and three relatively easy points.
Two first-half goals for Wycombe Wanderers handed Leyton Orient a record-equalling eighth consecutive defeat at home in what was Omer Riza’s first match in charge.
The home side had Tom Parkes sent off after only 28 minutes before newly-appointed manager Omer Riza was sent to the stand for verbal abuse at referee Charles Breakspear as the teams returned for the second half. I’d like to have been a fly on the wall for that exchange.
The O’s were more than holding their own until Tom Parkes was shown a straight red card in the 27th minute although it was probably fairer if he had received a yellow rather than a straight red and Riza on the touchline was like a bulldog swallowing a wasp.
The irony was that up until the sending off Leyton Orient looked the better side and you could be misgiven for thinking it was Wycombe propping up the table and heading for non league football next season.
It was a high challenge on Garry Thompson that saw defender Parkes seeing red and Riza a blue mist and was harsh to say the least. Thompson was going for the ball and Parkes went simply to high. Within ten minutes Orient were 2-0 down and the game effectively over.
Orient had played some endearing football in the first 25 minutes the better side until Parkes’s dismissal and The Chairboys then took full advantage netting twice in two minutes and the O’s mirrored last weeks 3-0 defeat at Crawley where they conceded three goals in 9 first half minutes. In both games it was all over by the break. An intended clearance by the home side struck defender Michael Collins and the ball rebounded to the unmarked Matt Bloomfield who accepted a simple chance to open the scoring after 37 minutes.
Then, shortly afterwards, Orient’s Jens Janse and his goalkeeper Sam Sargeant collided and Weston pounced on the loose ball to double the lead. It was all a bit farcical.
This was Orient’s 16th home league defeat of the season as Wycombe climbed up to tenth place and an outside chance of making the play offs.
Riza made four changes to the team which lost 3-0 at Crawley Town last weekend and was without several players due to injury.
Myles Judd missed out with a back problem, so Teddy Mezague replaced him as O’s lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, which was a little different to the formation Danny Webb had been using up until his resignation last week.
Steven Alzate dropped to the bench with Jens Janse coming in and making his first appearance since November 8. Nigel Atangana missed out completely while Gavin Massey was ruled out with a knee problem, so Michael Collins and Rowan Liburd replaced them. Alex Cisak remained on the sidelines with a groin injury and was joined by Charlie Grainger, who had a similar issue so Orient certainly had their problems with injury.
Orient got proceedings underway and made a good start at Brisbane Road with Josh Koroma involved from the off. Koroma combined neatly with Liburd after four minutes and Koroma raced into the area, but was denied by Jamal Blackman.
Riza’s team continued to push for the opener and Mezague had a header cleared off the line by Myles Weston. Koroma was looking good and won O’s a free kick after eight minutes, but Callum Kennedy’s effort was easily saved. Wycombe demonstrated their threat less than 60 seconds later as Will De Havilland headed Sam Saunders free kick over.
Orient continued to press and Koroma was in the thick of the action, as his shot was deflected wide in the 11th minute.
After a strong start, the Chairboys slowly worked their way back into the contest and should have won a penalty in the 19th minute.
Adebayo Akinfenwa brought a throw down inside the area and volleyed towards goal, but Mezague blocked the effort with his hand. Despite referee Charles Breakspear who had a poor game all round was close to the incident, he waved play on and no penalty was given to the disgust on the Wycombe bench.
Soon after and Sandro Semedo tested Blackman before Koroma threatened on two more occasions. It had been a brilliant opening period for the 18-year-old, yet things were going to get a lot harder for Orient as Parkes received his marching orders.
Breakspear had made a similar decision back in September that resulted in Orient captain Robbie Weir being sent off against Plymouth.
After a solid start, O’s were now preparing to play over two thirds of the match with just 10 men. Manager Riza changed Orient’s formation to a 4-4-1 following Parkes dismissal and it didn’t take long for Wycombe to get on top.
Akinfenwa chested down a long ball and Kennedy’s attempted clearance hit his own team-mate Michael Collins and the ball rolled perfectly for Matt Bloomfield, who stroked the ball past Sargeant to give Wycombe the lead.
If O’s were unhappy after that moment, then two minutes later they were even angrier at Brisbane Road. Saunders played a perfectly waited ball forward and Janse and Chairboys winger Weston chased.
Janse tried to allow the ball to roll for Sargeant, but was given a shove by Weston so the pair collided. The ball rolled free and Weston tapped into the empty net and despite remonstrations, the goal stood.
It was another controversial moment involving referee Breakspear and his officials, but Orient’s defending left a lot to be desired. After Manager Riza was sent off at the break for something he said towards the referee, Orient faced more problems.
In the 50th minute there were heart-warming scenes at Brisbane Road, as everybody took part in a minute’s applause in memory of supporter Frankie Bish, who passed away on Thursday.
Kelly was trying to get the hosts playing again and put Liburd through in the 63rd minute, but Blackman saved with ease. It was nearly 3-0 just two minutes later, as Saunders let fly from range and Sargeant brilliantly tipped over with the save of the day.
Aaron Pierre was the next person to go close as his volley skimmed the crossbar, but it stayed just 2-0 and although Orient did create a decent opening in the 78th minute when Semedo brought the ball forward and it was knocked into Abrahams path, Blackman saved again.
Cries of ‘Becchetti out!’ and ‘sack the board’ were loudly sung inside Brisbane Road by most of the supporters. Even the Wycombe fans started joining in towards the end of the match before the full time whistle eventually followed.
All of the Orient supporters applauded the players off the pitch while chanting “Becchetti out.”
It is another defeat for O’s and with Cheltenham winning there is a 9 point gap at the bottom and simply too much to make up with so few games left.
Time to prepare for the National League and that is no April Fools Day joke.