An early first half strike from substitute Dan Happe prompted a happy start for Jobi McAnuff at the helm of Leyton Orient.
The O’s overcame a Grimsby Town side who are starting to lose hope at the foot of the table, with Paul Hurst’s days with the Mariners beginning to look numbered as the prospect of non-league beckons.
Grimsby Town: Eastwood; Hewitt, Waterfall, Menayese, Bunney, Morais, Rose, El Mizouni, Matete, Adams, Payne
Leyton Orient: Vigouroux; Akinola, Thompson, Turley, Widdowson, Clay, Cisse, Freeman, Kemp, Johnson, Brophy
Story of the match
McAnuff’s reign with the Orient didn’t get off to best start, as defender Adam Thompson was withdrawn from play due to an ankle injury and replaced by Happe.
Within the space of the 16th minute, both sides had chances, as Nick Freeman slotted the ball into James Brophy, who had been trusted in a slightly higher role this game, but his strike was stopped by a crucial block.
Grimsby immediately responded, as Stefan Payne created a yard of space and slid in Idris El Mizouni, but the ball got tangled in his feet and the chance was spurred.
However, a few minutes later and Leyton Orient found the breakthrough courtesy of super sub Happe. The defender, who had just replaced the injured Thompson, pounced onto a well-worked cross from Dan Kemp, before he turned the ball past Jake Eastwood to send McAnuff into jubilance on the touchline.
The O’s looked to immediately double their advantage, as Brophy performed a surging run down the wing before powering his shot narrowly over the bar.
Approaching the break, Leyton Orient continued to hunt down a second, as Danny Johnson produced a snap shot at goal which was originally parried by Eastwood, before Kemp rushed onto the rebound but he could only steer his shot wide of the target.
McAnuff’s side continued to be relentless, dominating the half and having one final chance before the referee brought the opening 45 minutes to a close. Brophy and Kemp, who had been excellent on either wings, linked up once again as Brophy pulled the ball back to the former West Ham winger, whose strike cannoned off of the crossbar.
Into the second half, and Leyton Orient continued to test Grimsby, as Kemp once again came unlucky to strike the bar from close range.
The Mariners were struggling to find a route back into the contest, and their hopes of an audacious volley from Lennell John-Lewis were scrambled as he fluffed it wide.
Hurst’s side did come close however, as the substitute James Hanson and John-Lewis linked up, with the latter striking the post after being threaded through.
As the game approached its dying stages, Grimsby continued to look for an equaliser and squandered what was perhaps their biggest chance, as Juliet Lamy floated a ball onto the head of John-Lewis, but he could only nod straight at Lawrence Vigouroux.
However, Grimsby couldn’t force an equaliser as the final chance fell to the away side, but as Tristan Abrahams failed to find the target, McAnuff was confirmed his first three points at the helm of Leyton Orient and a bitter sweet first victory in seven.
Finally, a glimmer of hope for Leyton Orient supporters who have not enjoyed watching their side play in recent weeks, as a new beginning gets off to a victorious start.
Whilst the game wasn’t electrifying performance wise, the O’s managed to keep a first clean sheet in their last three games and supplied defensive stability, despite being rocked by Thompson’s early injury.
Whilst Embleton lost the dressing room, McAnuff has an opportunity now to revamp the squad and rejuvenate a team which looked to have lost cohesion and chemistry, but perhaps with a friendly player like McAnuff at the helm the club can really focus on their season on the pitch, rather than squabbling off of it.
Grimsby remain bottom of the league and looking seemingly hopeless, it’s looking increasingly more likely that Hurst wasn’t the right man for the job and the club’s league position continues to be punished,
Player of the match
Leyton Orient’s Happe had a positive impact off of the bench, but Kemp was immaculate today with his assist and hitting the woodwork twice. He was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet and was a constant menace for the Grimsby defence.