Hartlepool 1 Leyton Orient 3: Second-half collapse costs Pools dear

Craig Hignett.
Craig Hignett.

A second-half defesnsive capitulation saw Hartlepool United throw away another lead and drop yet more points on home soil against League Two strugglers Leyton Orient.

Josh Laurent had put the home side well on the way to recording their first home win at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium with a strike on the stroke of half-time.

But second-half strikes from Sandro Semedo and an Ollie Palmer double ensured third-bottom Orient left the Vic with the spoils.

On the selection front Craig Hignett made just one change from the side beaten by Carlisle last week, with Scott Harrison making way for Nicky Featherstone.

Liam Donnelly slotted back into his more familiar role at in the heart of defence.

It was Pools who started the brighter of the two sides with the lively Laurent dinking over the top to Padraig Amond with just five minutes on the clock. But the striker's volley sailed over the top of Alex Cisak's bar.

Amond again had the chance to open his account for the day but his header from close range on the quarter hour, from a Laurent cross, was again off target.

It was then Lewis Alessandra's turn to be wasteful. Chief provider Laurent slid through the in-form forward but his attempts to round keeper Cisak were thwarted.

While Pools carved out a number of opportunities the visitors were not without their own ambition. And just before the half hour they almost got the opener - a Palmer header from a Callum Kennedy free-kick rattled Trevor Carson's bar.

Amond again had the chance to score with his head, but much like his first attempt, it sailed wide when it seemed much easier to score.

Just when it seemed like Hignett's men would go in at the break unrewarded, Laurent popped up with his first for the club.

An Alessandra corner from the left found Lewis Hawkins head in the area, and the midfielder's knock down was perfect for Laurent who applied the finishing touches from close range.

It was disjointed and far from pretty in the first 45, but given the chances created it was hard to argue that they didn't deserve to go in at the break ahead.

And they started the second half where they left off in the first, with Featherstone seeing a goal-bound effort blocked just 90 seconds in.

Fellow midfield workhorse Hawkins, who provided Laurent's strike, tried to get in on the act himself - on 52 he saw a header clawed away by the sprawling figure of Cisak.

But, against the run of play, Orient were back in it. A powerful shot from Semedo squirmed under the body of Carson. The keeper will definitely wish he'd got down quicker to the strike. Those type of saves are usually meat and drink to the Northern Irishman, but not on this occasion.

Just minutes later the game was turned on its head as Palmer cut in from the left and curled into Carson's bottom left hand corner for 2-1.

From a defensive perspective, it was a poor, poor goal to concede.

And things didn't get any better for Hignett's backline, as Palmer again waltzed through, unchallenged to net his second and Orient's third of the game on 69 minutes, to all but put an end to the contest.

From the joy of Laurent's goal, 25 minutes of madness cost Pools dear.

Alessandra had one free-kick which for a brief moment threatened to curl in and reduce the arrears but it went wide, and with it went Pools chances of getting anything out of the game.