Orient suffered a disappointing start to the season after falling to a 1-0 defeat at Dean Smith’s Walsall.

Adam Chambers gave his former club a nightmare start with a vicious drive to hand the Saddlers the half time advantage.

Jimmy Smith went close with his head twice shortly after the break but was unable to force a leveller.

Chambers’ effort was enough though as Orient slipped to defeat.

Russell Slade handed league debuts to Scott Cuthbert, Jamie Cureton and Leon McSweeney, while fellow new boys Marc Laird and David Mooney were missing through injury.

Captain Stephen Dawson was also absent after struggling with an ankle problem, while Jamie Jones and Terrell Forbes are still missing having not seen any action in pre-season.

On loan Michael Richardson was on the bench after joining yesterday from Newcastle United, while Slade opted not to name a replacement keeper.

For the opposition, Smith gave a start to O’s old boy Chambers, while Ryan Jarvis had to settle for a place on the bench.

As expected, the season opener saw a lively start with both teams looking to stamp their authority early on.

Ben Chorley and Chambers clashed within a minute following a late challenge from the former Orient midfielder, while Smith tried his luck from range.

The home side looked very physical and threatened to disrupt the O’s passing style with some robust challenges.

The Saddlers proved they were more than just a physical outfit however when ten minutes in, a neat move involving Chambers saw Will Grigg’s left-footed effort drift wide for a corner.

It was clear early on that the O’s were not going to get everything their own way as the hosts continued to press.

Former Manchester City forward Jon Macken was the next to threaten, running from deep straight at Chorley and Cuthbert before firing wide, while Orient were restricted to efforts from distance, as Cureton found row Z with a half-volley.

The home side’s pressure eventually paid off and they took the lead after 21 minutes.

Chambers picked up a loose ball thirty yards out, taking just one touch before unleashing an unstoppable drive beyond the helpless Lee Butcher.

The goal seemed to settle the game down though with neither side creating chances in a midfield battle.

Chambers and Richard Taundry were proving crucial as an extra line of defence to the home side, not letting the O’s penetrate and attack in their usual manner.

Five minutes before the break, Walsall’s Claude Gnakpa went close, turning Chorley to float a delicate chip goalwards but Butcher was able to take it at full stretch.

The O’s stopper was given another scare shortly after when Macken sent a dipping half-volley narrowly over the bar, making a sweet connection from distance as the hosts took a half time advantage.

Orient looked a different side at the beginning of the second half with Dean Cox and Charlie Daniels linking well on the left.

The two combined to send a deep cross to the back post where Smith’s header was met by a fingertip save from James Walker.

Smith was at it again shortly after. Playing in a more attacking role, the wide-man forced another desperate save from Walker as the O’s looked for a leveller.

Walsall started to come back into the game though and although they created few chances of note, they were still able to give the O’s some cause for concern at the back.

Orient continued to press but despite late chances for Cureton and Richardson, the equaliser was not forthcoming as Slade’s side lost out.

Orient: Butcher; Omozusi, Chorley, Cuthbert, Daniels; Smith, McSweeney (Richardson 70), Spring, Cox; Revell (Téhoué 70), Cureton (Porter 83).

Subs: Odubajo, Cestor.

Walsall: Walker, Westlake, Butler, Lancashire, Sadler; Gnakpa, Chambers, Taundry, Hurst (Nicholls 79); Grigg (Jarvis 64), Macken (Smith 89).

Subs: Peterlin, Grof.

Attendance: 4,753 (792)