The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Alan Pem­bridge

LEY­TON Ori­ent boss Ian Hen­don let out a deep breath on his way to the Rod­ney Pa­rade exit af­ter his side left with all three points, de­spite blow­ing an early two-goal lead.

Ori­ent main­tained their 100 per cent record to stay top of League Two, but they were made to work hard for vic­tory against New­port County.

The visi­tors made a blis­ter­ing start as a header from Paul McCal­lum and a Jay Simp­son scorcher blasted them to a 2-0 lead af­ter only seven min­utes.

McCal­lum and Dean Cox could each have ex­tended their ad­van­tage, only to waste promis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

And Terry Butcher’s New­port side showed they won’t lie down for any­one, con­jur­ing up two strikes in as many min­utes to go into the break level and right back in the match.

First Scott Bo­den crashed in a shot off the un­der­side of the bar af­ter a fine move on 41 min­utes.

Then, a lit­tle over 60 sec­onds later, County skip­per Mark Byrne gave vis­it­ing goal­keeper Alex Cisak no chance with a rocket into the top cor­ner.

The hosts dom­i­nated for much of the sec­ond half but couldn’t make it pay and they were pun­ished by man-of-the-match Cox just be­fore the hour mark.

“We had to work hard to keep the run go­ing,” said a re­lieved Hen­don.

“We started su­perbly with two good goals and we should have made it three when McCal­lum headed wide. Had that gone in then it would have killed off the game.

“But New­port came back and made it dif­fi­cult for us.

“It was a tough sec­ond half be­cause they were in the as­cen­dancy but Cox popped up to get the third and then it was a case of hang­ing on.

“We prob­a­bly didn’t de­serve the win be­cause New­port were more than wor­thy of a point but we have to be happy with dig­ging out a win away from home and we couldn’t have wished for a bet­ter start to the sea­son.”

At one point, New­port would no doubt have sniffed vic­tory, hav­ing bounced back from a night­mare start in front of their home fans to head into the break level, but Cox’s class told in the end.

De­feat leaves New­port with just one point from their open­ing four games and in­side the bot­tom two and Eng­land leg­end Butcher was left to rue missed chances and some sloppy de­fend­ing.

“It feels ter­ri­ble,” said the Ex­iles boss. “I thought we de­served a lot more.

“We came out in the sec­ond half and dom­i­nated it and they scored their third goal to­tally against the run of play.

“We’ve had chances to equalise at the end and apart from the first 25 min­utes we had con­trol of the game.

“We’re just bit­terly dis­ap­pointed that again we’ve let good op­por­tu­ni­ties slip by.

“The win will come and ob­vi­ously we want it to come soon.

“How­ever, we played some good football again against a team who are top of the ta­ble and a team that has had a lot of money spent on it.”


FIRST BLOOD: Paul McCul­lum opens the scor­ing for Ori­ent and cel­e­brates, inset, with Frazer Shaw and team­mates STAR MAN DEAN COX Ley­ton


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