London Calling! It’s a quick turnaround, as Exeter play their third game in 7 days when they travel to Leyton Orient on Tuesday. City have had a host of memorable fixtures against The O’s.
There have been 2-2’s; 3-0’s and 3-1’s in recent memory but this week we go back to the first of two 4-0 wins over the East London outfit, back in 2015.
Jed Penberthy looks back to the early stages of the 2015/16 season, when two penalties from Tom Nichols, a rocket from Alex Nicholls and a strike from David Wheeler thumped the league leaders.
Exeter City 4-0 Leyton Orient,
St James Park,
September 5, 2015
Leyton Orient amassed maximum points ahead of this fixture and sat comfortably at the top of the league. Impressive wins over Bristol Rovers and Newport County in recent weeks meant the O’s started the season in a rich vein of form.
On the other hand, it had been an average start to the season for Paul Tisdale’s men and went into the home fixture with Orient on the back of a 2-1 league loss to Wimbledon. Three changes from that game saw Tom Nichols, Alex Nicholls, and Christian Ribeiro return to the starting line-up.
The switches made an instant impact to the intensity for Exeter. Ryan Harley got forced out to the left wing and flicked a lovely ball in behind the visitor’s defence for Nichols to run onto. Charlie Grainger in the Orient goal got caught in no-mans-land and felled the City striker just inside the box.
Nichols brushed himself down and swept the Grecians into a fifth minute lead, with a nice placed effort into the bottom right corner.
Leyton Orient almost bundled in an equaliser from a corner. A deep ball to the back post was well met by Paul McCallum who headed back across the face of the City goal. Jay Simpson attacked the bouncing ball, but his header was desperately whipped off the line by Matt Oakley.
Eight minutes before the break Exeter doubled their lead. Harley again the provider twisting and turning in the box before laying back to Alex Nicholls at range. Nicholls neatly set the ball out of his feet before lasering an effort through a crowd of onrushing Leyton Orient defenders, and emphatically putting Exeter two-nil up.
The second half started in much the same vein. A long lump forward from Tillson was challenged by Tom Nichols. The strikers flick found its way into David Wheeler’s path who was bundled over in the box and referee Kevin Johnson pointed to the spot again.
Nichols added his second and the Grecians third, this time placing the ball straight down the middle.
Leyton Orient began to show glimpses of why they were unbeaten ahead of this game. Pritchard laid the ball out to Dean Cox on the left-hand side. The winger cut into his right foot and unleashed a stinger into Troy Brown. The ball fell nicely for Blair Turgott, who’s effort looked destined to nestle in the net if it wasn’t for Jordan Tillson’s expert block.
Cox caused problems again on the far side. McCallum missed a clean connection from the cross and the marauding Sean Colhessy was inches from turning the ball home.
Exeter finished the rout thirteen minutes from time. Tom Nichols set up Ryan Harley, whose shot was well saved by Grainger. Connor Essam inexplicably headed the ball back across his own box, on a plate for David Wheeler. The City number 22 set himself before picking out the far corner.
A comfortable afternoon for the Grecians against the league leaders. The result moved Exeter up into the play-off places, as the visitors maintained their position at the top. City would build on the win, with victory over Hartlepool the week later. This result began a downward spiral for Orient who’d remain winless for the next 5 league games.
Exeter City: Olejnik, Ribeiro, Tillson, Brown, McAllister (Woodman 80), Oakley, Harley, Nicholls, Noble (Oyeleke 88), Nichols, Wheeler (McCready 83)
Unused: Butterfield, Morrison, Reid, Pym
Leyton Orient: Grainger, Clohessy, Essam, Baudry, Dunne (Kashket 68), Pritchard, Moore (Turgott 58), James, Cox, McCallum (Palmer 75), Simpson
Unused: Shaw, Payne, Maguire, Sargeant
Referee: Kevin Johnson