Leyton Orient 4-2 Harltepool United: Pools suffer fourth defeat of the season against League Two leaders

Hartlepool United were beaten by Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium. (Credit: Tom West | MI News)Hartlepool United were beaten by Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium. (Credit: Tom West | MI News)
Hartlepool United were beaten by Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium. (Credit: Tom West | MI News)
Hartlepool United will be pleased to see the back of August after their winless start to the season continued at Leyton Orient.

Pools conceded four for the third time already this season in all competitions as goals from George Moncur, Charlie Kelman, Paul Smyth and Ruel Sotiriou were enough to see off Paul Hartley’s side who scored twice through Wes McDonald’s fine goal and Josh Umerah’s penalty.

Moncur converted the O’s own spotkick inside the opening five minutes as Pools got off to the worst possible start before McDonald danced his way into the area to equalise just after the half hour.

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But Pools weren’t level for long as the impressive Kelman restored the lead with a powerful finish to beat Ben Killip.

Smyth added a third for the home side early in the second half before Umerah handed Pools a lifeline from 12 yards.

But again it was short-lived as Orient added a fourth through Sotiriou four minutes later.

Richie Wellens’ side might have had more on another day with Pools all at sea at times in defence as a troubling start to the season continued in London.

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Hartley made three changes from the side who were beaten 3-1 seven days ago by Bradford City including handing a debut to summer signing Mikael Ndjoli who replaced the missing Callum Cooke.

Ndjoli has been out with a hamstring injury but started at the Breyer Group Stadium just off striker Umerah.

Mark Shelton was also handed a first league start of the season in place of Mohamad Sylla who missed out on the squad while Rollin Menayese dropped to the bench for the returning Euan Murray as Hartley opted for a back four.

Murray has been absent over the last week and could not have made a worse start to the game with the O’s twice targeting the Scotsman in the opening minutes.

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But where the first occasion only led to a corner, the second led to the controversial awarding of a penalty for the home side as Murray got in a tangle with Kelman.

There can be no question about the awarding of a foul but the debate remains as to where the foul took place with many in the changed Pools colours insisting the foul took place outside the area.

But after deliberating with his assistant, referee Declan Bourne stuck with his decision as Moncur hammered home from 12 yards.

It was a nightmare start for Pools who had to ride out a bit of an early storm with Smyth dragging wide soon after.

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But to their credit, Pools slowly climbed back into the game and enjoyed some possession, albeit not causing any trouble to Lawrence Vigouroux in the Orient goal.

That was until midway through the half when Umerah out-muscled Darren Pratley to allow a turnover in play with Jake Hastie bursting forward before he was off target, despite having bodies alongside him in support.

Pools were almost made to pay for that moments later when Kelman got inside of Alex Lacey all too easily to test Killip with a fine save.

Then came more controversy on the half-hour as Pools, and Lacey, escaped what were strong appeals for a penalty as the defender lost flight of a direct ball into the area before both he and Killip got in the way of one another to seemingly leave Smyth with an empty net before being bundled to the ground.

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But despite vehemently protesting, the O’s were left wanting as Pools would head up the other end to equalise.

A cross from the left escaped Umerah’s control and fell into the path of McDonald who showed excellent composure and quick feet to advance his way into the area and find the bottom corner.

And Pools had the opportunity to take the lead from the restart when Umerah was able to find Hastie on the left but the former Rangers man curled narrowly over.

Instead it was the home side who regained the lead after Kelman latched onto another ball on the inside right channel before hammering beyond Killip at his near post.

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A stoppage in play on the stroke of half-time saw tempers rise between Hastie and captain Nicky Featherstone as Pools went in behind at the break.

And their task was made even harder less than three minutes into the second half when Theo Archibald’s deft touch found Smyth through the middle and he brought out a good stop from Killip only for the rebound to fall kindly in his path to tap into an empty net.

The O’s thought they had a fourth when Kelman latched onto Moncur’s lofted ball but he found the side netting, with many inside the Breyer Group Stadium thinking it had gone in.

Pools had the opportunity to strike back soon after when a bouncing ball beat Omar Beckles to allow Umerah a clear run on goal but he curled off target.

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The striker wouldn’t have to wait too long to make amends however as, following an instant impact from substitute Tom Crawford whose clever feet won Pools a penalty, which Umerah placed down the middle to convert.

Unfortunately Pools’ fightback was short-lived as the home side regained their two goal advantage soon after when Smyth’s ball from the right found Kelman at the back post who did well to find Sotiriou and he thumped beyond Killip.

Sotiriou almost added a fifth when getting on the end of Smyth’s clever flicked ball with Pools all over the place in defence as their search for a win continues.

Leyton Orient XI: Vigouroux, James, Happe, Smyth (Smith), Archibald (Sotiriou), Moncur (Brown), Mizouni, Pratley © (Clay), Beckles, Kelman, Hunt

Subs: Sargeant, Ogie, Thompson

Hartlepool United XI: Killip, Sterry, Lacey, Murray, Ferguson (Paterson), Featherstone ©, Shelton (Crawford), Hastie, Ndjoli (Hamilton), McDonald, Umerah

Subs: Letheren, Tumilty, Menayese, Niang