First-half mistakes gift Orient win
Two goals either side of the first-half cost Tranmere dearly as Les Parry`s side endured a torrid time in their first game back for two and a half weeks.
Scott Wootton`s header from an Aaron Cresswell free-kick put Rovers back into the game on 61 minutes, but a number of missed chances towards the end of the match cost the home side dearly as Orient walked out with the points.
Parry made five changes to the side that faced Hartlepool in their last game, with Gunnar Nielsen, Wotton and Jermaine Grandison starting at the back. Captain John Welsh returned from a suspension to take a place in midfield and Enoch Showunmi passed a late fitness test to feature up front.
With a number of full size indoor pitches in London, Orient have been one of the more equipped teams in the league during the cold spell. The Whites, looking like a team that hadn`t played for a while, predictably failed to settle quickly and a goal on 10 minutes made matters worse. Failure to clear a free-kick from the centre resulted with the ball falling to Stephen Dawson on the edge of the area and a cleanly struck a left footed effort found Gunnar Nielsen`s top right corner.
Needing to respond in some fashion, Tranmere started to pick up the pace. Starlet Dale Jennings produced some of the brilliance that has gained attention from Premier League clubs- faking a cross before sprinting past two men only to see his fired effort skim across the six-yard box on 14 minutes.
Enoch Showunmi should have levelled the scores minutes later after an Ian Thomas-Moore flick saw the target man put through on goal, only for his shot to be hit straight at keeper Jason Brown. Showunmi had another chance to find the net moments later with a well struck shot that was spilt by Brown, but neither he nor Sam Mantom could react fast enough to convert.
Jennings fought for a ball to carve an opportunity for Mantom on 19 minutes with the West Brom loanee`s shot deflecting off a defenders knee on its way over the bar. There could have been another own goal shortly after as Jimmy Smith`s header back to goal almost found the net as the home side bombarded Orient with crosses.
Showunmi was at the centre of the action for Rovers again as a neat turn created space in the area, only for the cross to be blocked out for a corner on 37 minutes. A John Welsh cross three minutes later ended in Showunmi heading agonisingly wide of the right-hand post as Rovers pushed on.
Peter Gulacsi`s last game for the Whites before the end of his loan spell from Liverpool saw the Hungarian punch into his own goal to gift Hartlepool a win at Prenton Park, and another gift came courtesy of his replacement. In only his second game for Rovers, Nielsen failed to hold on to a shot from Paul M`Poku which bobbled to the feet of Scott McGleish who rounded the Man City loanee to deliver a hammer blow on 45 minutes. Mick Russell blew for half-time soon after, with the home side booed down the tunnel.
In need of an attacking change, Max Blanchard was replaced by Lateef Elford-Alliyu- the third West Brom loanee to feature for Rovers this season- who took up the right-wing role as the Whites switched to 4-4-2.
Nielsen underwent small steps to redeeming himself by tipping Matthew Spring`s 20-yard shot over the bar on 51 minutes, while at the other end a neat passing move put Welsh in for a shot on the edge of the area, with the captain brining a save out of Brown.
Knowing that a goal soon would significantly boost Rovers chances of getting points out of the game, Parry`s attack looked desperate to push on. Showunmi`s header from a Wootton cross sailed over the bar on 58 minutes, but the defender found the net with a header of his own three minutes later from Cresswell`s curled free-kick- putting the home side within touching distance.
McGleish almost restored the two goal gap moments later as he went unchallenged inside the box on his way to heading wide of the goal on 65 minutes. But there was no time to reflect as Tranmere raced forward to the edge of the area where Thomas-Moore`s shot deflected out for a corner.
Orient`s keeper Brown then endured a frantic 10 minutes which started with an acrobatic save to deny Jennings on 70 minutes, with the Blackburn loanee smothering the rebound to prevent Showunmi from firing in.
Two changes soon after saw Adam McGurk replacing Thomas-Moore who looked to be carrying a calf injury, whilst Ryan Fraughan came on for Mantom in midfield on 76 minutes. Fraughan was involved soon after his introduction by starting a move which led to Brown pulling off another fine save to deny the frustrated Showunmi in a one on one on 77 minutes.
Brown was in action again after a deflected shot would have found the net on 78 minutes had it not been for an outstretched glove. Grandison pushed up-field to try his luck with a shot inside the box which was cleared off the line seconds later with Rovers still behind.
Known for acting as a second target man in desperate situations, Ian Goodison brought Nielson`s long ball down to shoot wide on 83 minutes, whilst the defender rocked the bar with a volley from McGurk`s cross in Tranmere`s next move.
The final 10 minutes saw Rovers desperately hoofing balls into the box in an attempt to get a late equaliser, only for Orient to clear their lines time after time. There was drama right at the end when referee Russell waived away penalty appeals after Fraughan went down in the box in stoppage time. The whistle that sounded seconds later confirmed Rovers second home loss in as many games.
Goals: Tranmere- Wootton (61)
Leyton Orient- Dawson (10), McGliesh (45)
Tranmere: Nielsen, Wootton, Grandison, Goodison, Cresswell, Mantom (Fraughan 76), Blanchard (Elford-Alliyu 45 HT), Welsh, Thomas-Moore (McGurk 71), Showunmi, Jennings. Substitutes not used: Collister, Bakayogo, Taylor, Akins.
Leyton Orient: Brown, Omuzusi, Whing, Brown, Dawson, McGleish (Tehoue 78), Revell, Daniels, Spring, Smith, M'Poku (Walker 85). Substitutes not used: Butcher, Cestor, Patulea, Millwood, Odubajo.
Referee: Mick Russell