SPORT FIRST REPORT
Sport First match report:
(Newspaper copy includes two fine photos by Dan Westwell)
Thanks to Carole for the transcription
By Adam Hartley
Alexander is great for O's
STRIKER Gary Alexander marked his installation as Orient captain with two goals in a victory that looked unlikely in the first half.
Alexander took just six minutes to score his eighth League goal of the season, sweeping the ball past Mansfield keeper Kevin Pilkington, after it was touched on by Mark Peters from Justin Miller's throw- in.
That was Orient's last threat of the first-half.
Mansfield had been quicker and more accurate with their passing and front runner Junior Mendes posed numerous problems for the Londoner's defence with his pace and strength.
Mansfield equalised from a corner after 33 minutes, when Wayne Corden's kick found its way to Jake Buxton, who provided Colin Larkin with the chance of a deserved equaliser.
Moments later, Orient full-back Matthew Joseph made a crucial tackle on Mendes, who seemed posed to give Mansfield the lead, at the expense of a corner.
From yet another set-piece, Orient survived a prolonged scramble on their goalline.
The hosts earned their first corner after 48 minutes and this was prelude to them upping the tempo.
The Londoners regained the lead in the 70th minute as Mansfield failed to clear David Hunt's long throw.
The ball ran to Tom Newey, who scored with a superb 25-yard drive that took a deflection.
Mansfield replied with a 78th-minute effort from Lee Williamson, which home keeper Glenn Morris only partially saved before the ball was scrambled clear.
Eight minutes from the end, Orient striker Jabo Ibehre cleverly eluded two opponents out by the corner flag and set free Newey whose cross was met by Alexander at the far post for Orient's third.
In this startling turnaround, Mansfield did not gain their first corner of the second half until the 86th minute, although they then had a headed goal from Rhys Day disallowed for an infringement elsewhere.
Orient manager Martyn Ling said: “The second- half was probably the best performance I have had. It was the first time we have had a complete performance for 45 minutes. I was not over impressed with the first-half, when I thought they were the better side.
“At half- time I said I was happy with the defensive work the players were doing but asked them to get their foot on the ball and get us passing.”
Mansfield manager Keith Curle was frustrated by his team's performance.
He said: “In the first-half we acquitted ourselves well. In the second-half we did not have that urgency about us to win the battle.”
L. Orient ........................ Mansfield
40----------Possession %---- 60
4-----------Shots on Target----5
3-----------Shots off Target----2
Latest | January 2004