Sutton United 0 Leyton Orient 2 (Sadlier 14, Smyth 26)
League Two leaders Leyton Orient moved to the brink of promotion with a result that followed the form book, although it took two superb strikes from distance, one aided by a stroke of luck, for Orient to condemn Sutton to a third consecutive defeat. Orient deserved their half time lead, which could have been more commanding, and although Sutton were much more in the game after the break the goal that might have sewn seeds of doubt in a side that had seen a two goal half time lead disappear on Monday wouldn't come, and but for Jack Rose and poor finishing Orient would still have added to their first half goals.
With Ben Goodliffe absent following the birth of son Archie on Friday night, Joe Kizzi partnered Coby Rowe in the centre of U's defence with Enzio Boldewijn at right back and a start for Josh Neufville on the left, and Neufville might have marked his return from injury with an early goal when the ball fell to him just inside the penalty area from a David Ajiboye cross but he shot over the top under pressure from Paul Smyth.
By then Kieran Sadlier had already gone close when he flicked a Tom James cross just over at the near post, but in the 14th minute he had another chance with a free kick some thirty yards put after Kizzi had been harshly penalised for a challenge on Ruel Sotiriou. Sadlier's free kick was almost perfectly placed, but only found the net off the crossbar and Jack Rose. If there was a touch of fortune there, the second goal twelve minutes later was unanswerable as James celebrated his 27th birthday by collecting a pass from Smyth and arrowing a shot, again from all of thirty yards, beyond Rose's dive in to the top far corner of the net.
There might have been more before half time, with Sadlier scooping a Smyth cross over at the far post and Rose denying Smyth with a good save after Sotiriou had played him through on the right, but the second half saw Sutton much more prominent as an attacking force and Lee Angol glanced a header from a Boldewijn cross just past the post. Omar Bugiel was also just wide with a shot from the edge of the penalty area after a Sam Hart free kick had only been partially cleared, but too often U's final pass was poor and several set pieces ended up disappointingly in the hands of Lawrence Vigouroux. They were almost undone by a long ball over the top from James that saw Sadlier beyond Boldewijn but Rose again saving well, and when Vigouroux collected one corner and launched a clearance downfield, a mix-up between Ali Smith and Neufville allowed Smyth to serve a chance up to Sadlier on a plate, only for a wild finish to send the ball over the bar.
More defensive uncertainty, this time between Kizzi and Boldewijn, gave substitute Charlie Kelman the chance to go through the middle but Rose was again up to the challenge, blocking the shot with his legs, but for all the endeavour U's were unable to take advantage of the let-offs as Orient finished the afternoon with a foot in League One, with a point at Gillingham on Tuesday confirming their promotion.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, S Hart, C Rowe, D Ajiboye, J Neufville(sub K Kouassi 74), E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel, H Beautyman, L Angol(sub D Wilson 74). Subs n/u T Dickinson, C Dundas, L Gambin, R Milsom, M Dennis. Booked: Angol
Leyton Orient: L Vigouroux, T James, R Hunt, O Beckles, E Turns, I El-Mizouni,, P Smyth, D Pratley(sub J Brown 77), G Moncur(sub C Clay 89), R Sotiriou(sub A Drinan 77), K Sadlier(sub C Kelman 71). Subs n/u S Sargeant, S Ogie, J McCart. Booked: James, Sotiriou
Referee: James Oldham
Attendance: 4,828 (1,493 away)
Above photo courtesy of Simon O'Connor, Leyton Orient FC.