Ten-man Exeter City fell to a 3-0 defeat against Leyton Orient on a day to forget in the capital.
First half goals from Aaron Drinan and Omar Beckles separated the sides at the break and Theo Archibald’s late strike sealed the points.
Matt Jay missed from the spot as City otherwise failed to cut through the resilient Orient defence.
Jonathan Grounds saw red to rub salt in the wounds for the Grecians.
The 646-brilliant travelling City fans stayed in voice throughout, even though the damage was invariably done on the pitch.
Matt Taylor made three changes to the side from Tuesday- with Josh Key, Tim Dieng and Grounds regaining their places. Padraig Amond started on the bench. The hosts stayed unchanged from their EFL Cup penalty defeat to QPR.
With the sun out; City looking beautiful in blue; and the travelling faithful going through the long-missed repertoire of chants, Orient got us underway.
Jevani Brown had the first minor sight of goal. Jack Sparkes’ flat cross was met by the City number 20, but tamely drifted into Lawrence Vigouroux’s gloves.
Cameron Dawson had to be alert in the fifth minute. Tom James’ teasing free kick was destined to nestle in the far corner had it not been for Dawson’s divine intervention. That said, the home side were ahead on 8 minutes.
A high ball forward allowed Aaron Drinan to muscle through and poke the ball into the City net, from close range.
Orient threatened again. Hector Kyprianou cleverly found Dan Happe with a backheel inside the Exeter box. Fortunately for the Grecians, Dawson was fully behind the centre-backs effort.
Dawson was also on hand to deny Dan Kemp after The O’s soaked up City pressure and forced an overlap on the counter. At the other end, Vigouroux reacted well to flap away a dangerous Sparkes cross.
Despite the Grecians’ growing pressure, on 25 minutes it was 2-0 the London side.
A clever free kick gave Darren Pratley too much room the box as the City defence were caught napping. The ball squirmed its way to Omar Beckles who diverted the ball goal bound.
Orient could have, and probably should have, made it three. Smart play down the left found space for Kemp in acres in the 18-yard-box. His inch perfect pass found Ruel Sotiriou who somehow put it over.
Nigel Atangana tried to channel is inner-Paul Scholes after a corner fell nicely for the volley. The only issue being the shot flew halfway toward the city centre.
Sparkes had Exeter’s best chance of the half on 39 minutes. Matt Jay’s flick found Brown who fed the wing-back inside the Orient box. The City number 3 tried to cut into his right foot instead of favouring his left. This allowed the O’s to get back and block the shot.
City looked bright after the break. With Matt Taylor’s words till ringing in the ears, the Grecians were looking to get in behind the Orient defence, where Josh Key almost forced Happe into putting it into his own net.
Matt Taylor was forced into a change with Jack Sparkes departing with his arm in a makeshift sling and Callum Rowe was given his Exeter City debut.
City were gifted a great opportunity from the spot with 25 minutes left.
Jevani Brown expertly chased down a loose ball but was wiped out by the encroaching Vigouroux in The O’s box. The Orient keeper soon redeemed himself as Matt Jay couldn’t convert the penalty.
Jonathan Grounds soon found himself walking down the tunnel after a second bookable offence, as the turf seemingly swallowed any remaining City hope.
Key tried to inject some spark as he cut onto his left foot and fired wide. Orient went straight up the other end and sealed the three points in style.
A threading ball down the right opened the tiring City defence. The cross was on a plate for Theo Archibald to stick beyond the helpless Cameron Dawson.
With the game settled in every aspect but the full-time whistle, Orient took their foot off the gas and made their extra man pay, seeing out the victory.
A reset will be needed for the Grecians ahead of Tuesday’s long trip to the Cumbrian coast, to play Barrow.
Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, James, Wood (Sweeney 83’), Happe, Kemp, Archibald, Drinian, Pratley ©, Beckles, Sotiriou (Smith 67’), Kyprianou
Subs: Clay, Smith, Young, Ogie, Tanga
Exeter City: Dawson, Key, Sweeney, Ray, Grounds, Sparkes (Rowe 62’), Atangana, Dieng (Kite 46’), Jay © (Amond 69’), Brown, Seymour
Subs: Lee, Caprice, Dyer, Dodd
Referee: Tom Reeves
Attendance: 4,860 (646 Away)