One place and three points is all that separates Leyton Orient from the National League drop zone after a long trip to the west county ended in a dismal 3-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Torquay United.

The hosts had just a fourth win of the season effectively sealed within two minutes of the start of the second period as Jamie Reid netted a third goal following first-half efforts from Josh McQuoid and Luke Young, before the O’s misery was compounded when Jake Caprice was sent off in the closing stages.

The loss extended Orient’s winless league run to a 14th game, a sequence that desperately needs halting when they travel to troubled basement dwellers Solihull Moors on Saturday.

Interim boss Ross Embleton made five changes to the side that drew with Chester in midweek. Charlie Grainger was back in goal following his hip problem, new loan signing Bondz N’Gala made his debut and there were also starts for Josk Koroma, Zain Westbrooke and Matt Harrold.

Having survived one scare when Ruairi Keating headed a Liam Davis cross wide, the O’s were to fall behind in the 16th minute as a loose pass from Craig Clay released Keating in the 18-yard box and he cut the ball back for McQuoid to convert at the far post.

The O’s struggled to get into the game but they had their first sight of goal when Harrold’s looping header was held by keeper Vincent Dorel. But a bad opening half was to get even worse soon after as Young fired past Grainger after latching on to a stray Westbrooke pass.

A two-goal lead could have become three when Grainger had to push a Davis strike away for a corner; Keating firing the resultant set piece wide.

Orient did have the ball in the net with seven minutes of the opening period remaining through James Dayton, but he was deemed to be offside following Koroma’s free-kick.

There were concerning scenes in first-half injury-time when Grainger stayed down after diving at the feet of Reid. Despite being able to get through until the break, the keeper was replaced by Sam Sargeant for the second half as Embleton also opted to bring on Romuald Boco for Westbrooke.

But Sargeant’s first contribution was to pick the ball out of his own net after a Torquay counter-attack two minutes after the restart ended with Reid racing through to score a third.

The O’s did create a couple of reasonable chances thereafter, with Dan Happe shooting over from a Jobi McAnuff set piece, before Dorel had to hold Dayton’s powerful drive from the edge of the box.

The hosts almost added a fourth though, when Reid capitalised on a Happe interception and was only denied by a fine stop from Sargeant.

Although Ruel Sotiriou replaced Koroma with 27 minutes to go, the hosts were rarely troubled thereafter and the O’s were to finish the game a man down as Caprice was sent off in the 86th minute for a bad challenge on Damon Lathrope.

Leyton Orient: Grainger (Sargeant, 46), Caprice, N’Gala, Happe, Widdowson, Westbrooke (Boco, 46), Clay, Dayton, McAnuff, Koroma (Sotiriou, 63), Harrold. Subs not used: Ellis, Mooney.