On the whistle report – Leyton Orient 1 Hartlepool Utd 0

Neale Cooper
Neale Cooper
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The result means Pools have not taken maximum points on their travels since March and this was as lethargic and lacking in ideas as any of those outings.

The deciding goal arrived within two minutes of the second half, courtesy of Ryan Brunt, and the biggest surprise was that the margin of victory was not more.

And Neale Cooper’s men were only spared the indignity of slumping to the bottom of the table thanks to a 90th-minute Carlisle United equaliser at 24th-placed Bury.

Orient had started like a train and Moses Odubajo was denied a second-minute opener when his 20-yard smash, which skipped up off the turf, was flapped over the crossbar by Scott Flinders.

The same player capitalised on a moment of indecision between Peter Hartley and Darren Holden to take aim just moments later but Flinders was again equal to it, clawing away for a corner.

From that delivery Orient skipper Nathan Clarke rose to power a header toward the bottom corner.

But, once more, that man Flinders got down to scramble clear and Pools survived.

Orient were firmly in control, Pools struggling to maintain any possession, and Odubajo again went close when his deflected drive from range spun wickedly into the side-netting.

The visitors, though, survived until the break and had a chance to regroup after a lethargic first half.

But the second period begun in much the same vein as the first and the hosts were soon on the offensive, Brunt blazing over from 12 yards within 30 seconds of the restart.

Brunt, though, made no mistake two minutes later when Odubajo landed an inch-perfect centre on his brow and the striker duly nodded into the bottom corner from just six yards out.

The scorer had a chance for his and Orient’s second on the hour mark but screwed woefully wide when in on goal.

Jordan Richards was thrown on by Cooper midway through the second half and his first touch was a curling free-kick which bounced narrowly wide of the home goal.

But the visitors came even closer just moments later when, from Richards’ corner, Steve Howard crashed a header against the crossbar only for Jack Baldwin to be crowded out when attempting to prod home the rebound.

Pools’ period of promise soon passed and Dean Cox thought he had made the result safe with a stinging drive toward the bottom corner but Flinders extended his glove to brush around the upright.

But the visitors could not muster another attack and the full-time whistle was sounded on a somewhat inevitable defeat.