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Stoke City striker heads Leyton Orient to win over Hartlepool United
Leyton Orient ended a run of consecutive league defeats with a deserved 1-0 win over struggling Hartlepool United at Brisbane Road this evening.
Orient dominated the first half but were denied by the impressive Hartlepool keeper Scott Flinders.
The breakthrough finally came at the start of the second period when the lively Moses Odubajo's cross was headed home by Ryan Brunt.
Orient had more chances to kill off the contest but were denied by the excellent Flinders. It did not matter in the end though as the home side consolidated their position in the middle of the League One table.
The O's made three changes to the side which was beaten by Bournemouth at the weekend. Jimmy Smith, Odubajo and Brunt all came into the starting lineup.
Lee Cook, Anthony Griffith and Michael Symes dropped down to the bench but Scott Wagstaff was handed his home debut for Orient after his loan move from Charlton.
Orient made an excellent start to the match and nearly opened the scoring through Odubajo but his shot was pushed over by Flinders.
Odubajo was again involved when the ball fell to him and his strike was parried by Flinders. From the corner, Smith's header was brilliantly saved by the busy United goalkeeper.
There was real pace and purpose to the Orient attack which was in marked contrast from the side's performance at the Cherries on Saturday.
The O's again threatened from Martin Rowlands' cross but Brunt's header floated over the bar.
Orient created another opening from Brunt's flick on but Wagstaff was unable to properly connect with the ball when put through on goal.
The visitors, who came into the game without a win in their last nine games, forced their first effort on target but Ritchie Humphrey's tame strike was easily held by Ryan Allsop.
Odubajo continued to be the main threat for the hosts and he cut inside and fired in a shot which was deflected out for a corner.
The nosts had another opportunity but striker Brunt failed to make the most of it as he dragged his shot past the post.
Hartlepool almost struck against the run of play before the break but veteran striker Steve Howard's header was saved by Allsop.
The hosts had a great chance to score at the start of the second half when Brunt blasted over the bar.
But the O's grabbed the breakthrough they deserved in the 47th minute when Odubajo's cross was headed home by Brunt.
It should have been 2-0 shortly afterwards but Dean Cox's fizzing drive was tipped over by Flinders.
Substitute Jordan Richards nearly grabbed an equaliser with his first touch but his free-kick floated just past the post.
Orient had a major scare in the 71st minute when Howard headed against the crossbar. It was a warning that Russell Slade's side still needed to put the game beyond the visitors.
The hosts came so close to sealing the three points but Cox's fierce strike was brilliantly palmed around the post by Flinders. The United keeper was the only thing keeping Hartlepool in the contest.
The O's created another chance late on but Odubajo's powerful strike flew into the side netting.
Odubajo was given a standing ovation in injury time after the teenager was replaced by Griffith.
Orient comfortably saw out the game to secure their fifth win of the campaign and a welcome response after Saturday's disappointing performance.
Leyton Orient: Allsop; McSweeney, Sawyer, Chorley, Clarke; Cox, Smith, Odubajo (Griffith, 90), Rowlands; Wagstaff, Brunt
Subs not used: Baudry, Symes, Laird, Cook, James, Mooney
Hartlepool United: Flinders; Austin, Baldwin, Holden, Hartley; Humphreys, Franks (Richards, 65), Sweeney, Murray (Luscombe, 78); Noble (Poole, 55), Howard
Subs not used: Collins, Walton, Rutherford, McHugh
Referee: Brendan Malone