DEPLETED Swindon Town were thoroughly outplayed as they were beaten 2-0 by high-flying Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road this afternoon.
The Robins were seen off thanks to two Lloyd James penalties in a 10-minute spell either side of half-time and were ran ragged by an excellent Orient outfit, who also saw Chris Dagnall hit the post and have a goal disallowed.
At the other end, O’s keeper Eldin Jakupovic was only forced into two saves by a Town team which often looked bereft of ideas with ball at feet and spent much of the match chasing their hosts’ shadows.
Swindon manager Mark Cooper initially made four changes to his starting line-up at Brisbane Road. Raphael Rossi Branco dropped to the bench in favour of Jamie Reckord, with Nathan Byrne moving to right-back, while Ryan Harley replaced the injured Louis Thompson in the middle of midfield.
Up front, Michael Smith returned to action after being cup-tied against Peterborough to fill the boots of Nile Ranger, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season, and Ben Gladwin came in for Dany N’Guessan – whose groin injury meant he was only fit enough for a place among the substitutes.
The Town boss was forced into a fifth in the moments before kick-off, however, when Wes Foderingham pulled up injured in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Tyrell Belford in goal.
Orient enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and almost went in front in the 20th minute when Dagnall latched onto James’s delicious chipped pass and prodded the ball against Belford’s left-hand post.
The O’s went on to dominate much of the first half and deservedly took the lead from the penalty spot three minutes before the break.
Reckord slid in unnecessarily on Moses Odubajo when the Orient winger was running out of room near the touchline and referee Gavin Ward had an easy decision to make. James sent Belford the wrong way from 12 yards and Swindon had another hill to climb on their travels.
That hill turned into a mountain within seven minutes of the second half, as Orient were awarded their second penalty of the match.
David Mooney cantered in behind Troy Archibald-Henville and the Town centre-back pulled back on the O’s striker’s shirt. The offence appeared to start several yards outside the box but, when Mooney tumbled over in the area, referee Ward had no hesitation pointing to the spot. Again, James sent Belford the wrong way.
Chris Dagnall thought he had added a third in the 69th minute when he nodded beyond Belford but the strike was chalked off by Ward, who spotted an infringement in the build-up.