Richie Wellens shares his verdict on O’s ‘outstanding’ 3-2 victory over Carlisle United…

Richie Wellens shares his insights on Leyton Orient’s triumph over Carlisle United at Gaughan Group Stadium. The O’s maintained their unbeaten streak in 2024 with a double from Shaq Forde and a goal from Ruel Sotiriou.

In response to their recent defeat to Bolton Wanderers, Orient’s manager, Paul Simpson, implemented five changes to the lineup. New signings Jack Diamond and Josh Vela were granted their first starts after brief appearances against Bolton. Alongside them, Fin Back, Jack Robinson, and Jordan Gibson were introduced, forming a restructured team in East London.

Having entered the game on a six-game unbeaten run, the hosts initiated the action with a chance in the fourth minute. A long ball launched Theo Archibald, whose lofted strike from the edge of the area narrowly missed the post, eluding Carlisle’s goalkeeper, Harry Lewis.

The match saw scarce clear-cut opportunities initially, but Lewis had to be alert to deflect a 25-yard strike from Jordan Brown after Orient applied pressure. Unfortunately for the Blues, they suffered a setback in the 20th minute when Diamond, showing promise, had to exit due to injury, with Sean Maguire taking his place.

Maguire made an instant impact, playing a crucial role in the opening goal. He set up Robinson with a well-timed pass, and the ensuing cross led to an own goal by United’s Omar Beckles, giving Orient a 1-0 advantage.

Orient responded to the setback positively, and Shaq Forde nearly equalized, but his shot from the right angle sailed over the bar. The hosts continued to press, and Forde eventually found the back of the net with a well-placed side-footed shot from the edge of the box, leveling the score.

The momentum swung in Orient’s favor, and just before halftime, Forde secured his brace, heading home from six yards after a corner was nodded back across goal by Brown. Controversy surrounded the goal as the Blues contested the legitimacy of the corner, citing a potential foul on Ben Barclay in the build-up.

The second half witnessed Lewis making crucial saves, denying Sotiriou’s early 18-yard drive. However, Sotiriou found the net later, slotting the ball into the bottom corner after a swift Orient counter-attack around the hour mark.

Despite Lewis thwarting Brown and Lavelle’s crucial interception preventing Joe Pigott from scoring, Carlisle United attempted a comeback. In injury time, they were awarded a penalty after Brown’s arm intercepted a low cross from Dan Butterworth. Maguire converted the penalty, but time constraints prevented United from securing an equalizer as Orient secured the victory.

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