Ten-man Leyton Orient claimed a thrilling victory at Meadow Lane as they overcame Notts County 2-1.

Alan Judge smashed the ball against the crossbar early on as the hosts looked to take the game to Orient but Russell Slade’s side held firm.

The O’s had struggled to test the home keeper in the opening period but they still managed to secure a half-time lead when skipper Stephen Dawson struck with just a minute to play.

County were applying the pressure late on and Lee Hughes hit the post for them but Orient were able to keep them out.

Substitute Jonathan Téhoué added a second for the O’s late on but a Lee Hughes strike set up a nervous finish.

Leon McSweeney was sent off in injury time as Jeff Hughes missed a late penalty to ensure Orient would claim the points.

Slade kept faith with the side that comprehensively saw off Exeter City last week by naming an unchanged team.

Lee Cook made his final appearance on loan from Queens Park Rangers in a wide position while Kevin Lisbie and Jamie Cureton led the line together.

Ben Chorley was not in the squad but Dawson shook off a knock picked up last week to line up in midfield.

Lee Butcher continued in goal but there was no reserve stopper on the bench.

With the O’s going in search of back-to-back league victories, neither side managed to create much in the opening exchanges.

Cook looked very comfortable on the ball for Slade’s side but it was the Magpies who came closest to creating something – although former Preston striker Karl Hawley saw his effort fly over, while Neal Bishop’s header was comfortably wide.

Ten minutes in, Orient survived a real scare when Judge let fly from fully 35 yards and had Butcher beaten but the crossbar came to the visitors’ rescue as the O’s sought to attack themselves.

Much of their forward play came from the left flank with Cook showing some real quality and after beating his marker, he found an unmarked Lisbie but the forward was closed down before he was able to strike.

The game had to wait until the 34th minute for the next opening of note and it came for the O’s.

County were unable to clear their lines following a spell of Orient pressure and with the Magpies’ defence proving slow to push up, Matt Spring lofted the ball back over for an unmarked Lisbie but the striker’s first touch let him down as Stuart Nelson was able to gather easily in the home goal.

One minute before the break though, the O’s had the breakthrough and it came from the skipper.

Dawson made the most of some hesitancy from Jeff Hughes to steal the ball from the midfielder and strike beyond Nelson from 20 yards to give Slade’s side a half-time lead.

Needing a goal, County tried to pin Orient back early on in the second period and had Slade’s side defending very deep.

The closest they could come though was a high strike from Hawley which never looked in any danger of troubling Butcher, while Lee Hughes sent a tame effort straight at the keeper.

Jimmy Smith had fired wide for the O’s but the Magpies were presented with a great chance to level just before the hour as Lee Hughes found some space in the area but his strike was straight at Butcher.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, the hosts continued to press and seemed certain to level from a series of corners.

Sam Sodje’s header was deflected off target first before Jeff Hughes was unable to steer it goalwards.

The following set-piece saw Sodje again head towards goal but the effort was cleared off the line before Lee Hughes poked the ball on to the post as the O’s breathed a sigh of relief.

The Hughes’ were continuing to cause Orient problems as Lee was denied a penalty when tumbling in the area, while Jeff fired over inside the box.

With just five minutes to play, substitute Téhoué pounced after linking up with David Mooney to calmly pass the ball into the net for a two-goal advantage.

County pulled one back immediately though when Lee Hughes found himself inside the box to beat Butcher in the corner to set up a tense finale.

Orient looked to have thrown it away when McSweeney was shown red for a pull on Jeff Hughes in the area.

There was more drama to come though as Butcher saved the penalty to finally ensure Orient would claim the points.

County: Nelson; Kelly (Demontagnac 77), Sodje, Edwards, Sheehan; Mahon (Allen 17), J Hughes, Bishop, Judge; Hawley, L Hughes.

Subs: Mitchell, Bencherif, Hollis.

Orient: Butcher; McSweeney, Cuthbert, Forbes, Craig; Smith, Spring, Dawson, Cook (Porter 77); Lisbie (Téhoué 83), Cureton (Mooney 66).

Subs: Laird, Lobjoit.

Attendance: 5,830 (469).