2nd November 1991
Leyton Orient (a)
City quality factor goes unrewarded It's a pointless exercise as finishing power fails
Ed Hogg reports from Brisbane Road
SATURDAY was a good day for East End football fans. While West Ham, a side tradition- ally noted for their attractive brand of cer were winning 1-0 at First Div- sion champions and fierce local rivals Arsenal, Leyton Orient were beating Exeter City-gathering an increasing reputation for a slick style by the some scoreline. But there can be little argument that Orient, whose Brisbane Road home is barely a couple of miles from Upton Park, were more than fortunate to snatch three points from under the noses of Alan Ball's classy outfit. Only 17-year-old midfield prodigy Chris Bart-Williams and tricky left winger Ricky Otto ever looked capable of really troubling the Grecians. And both were involved in the against the run of play only goal after 50 minutes. Bart-Williams collected inside his own half and sprayed the ball out to a touchline-hugging Otto. He made some progress through the City defence before setting up Andy Jones for a 20-yard drive. When Exeter goalkeeper Kevin Miller could only parry home skipper Steve Castle walked the loose ball home. Orient are unbeaten at home this seasonm, but City enjoyed a huge ter- ritorial advantage and the lions' share of possession. Most of the O's attack- ing plans were restricted to long-range aerial stuff designed for big striker Kevin Nugent. City centre backs Scott Daniels and Peter Whiston coped admirably with that Steve Williams' experience enab- led him to win the midfield battle with Bart-Williams and, along with Vince Hilaire, was consistently involved in Exeter's most creative moments. Hilaire and left back Andy Cook booked for a fifth minute chop on Lee Harvey continually stretched the Orient defence in the first half. Orient's on-loan Sheffield Wednesday keeper Chris Turner was forced into the first save of a busy afternoon by Steve Moran, following a neat exchange with Hilaire.
Tom Kelly's intelligent ball inside Orient left back Warren Hackett gave Hilaire a chance, but he delayed too long and Adrian Whitbread got back to block. City keeper Miller did his first work midway through the half, falling comfortably on an Otto effort after Scott Hiley had been caught out by the wing Moran would have expected to hit the target with a 36th minute close range header after good prompting from Hiley, Gary Chapman and Hilaire, but the effort went wide. Miller was not unduly troubled by a Nugent header just before the break. And as Orient started to raise the tempo in first-half stoppage time, he comfortably clutched a Jones drive. But after Castle's early second-half opener, City wasted four good chances. Cook, Hilaire and Paul Wimbleton carved out the first for Moran. But he diverted Hilaire's neat cross the wrong side of the near post from six yards. Moran provided Wimbleton with an even better opportunity after 59 minutes, slipping the midfielder through unchallenged. But as Turner came out, Wimbleton crashed the ball into the side netting when a square ball to the unchaperoned Chapman looker a better bet. Hilaire was guilty of his miss 10 minutes later, slicing a speculative volley well wide from Williams' penetrating chip. But he appeared to have made amends less than 60 seconds later when he crossed for Whiston, who had galloped forward to join the City attack, to beat Turner with a diving header. But the ball shook the Orient crossbar, bounced down onto the goalline, and flew to safety.