Newport County 0-4 Leyton Orient: O’s still fighting

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Here at least was a morsel of joy at the end of what has been a torturous week in the life of Leyton Orient.

After the shock of a winding-up order and the launch of a fighting fund, the 400 travelling supporters left Rodney Parade on a long journey home savouring four goals and three points in a rare victory.

There is still work to do if they are to escape relegation. Indeed, who knows if the future will be decided on the pitch.

Leyton Orient’s player earned the right to breathe a sigh of relief after beating Newport

Leyton Orient have been in turmoil since Francesco Becchetti took charge in 2014

Leyton Orient have been in turmoil since Francesco Becchetti took charge in 2014

MATCH FACTS 

Newport: Day, Butler, Nelson (Rigg HT), Bennett, Jones (Labadie HT), Jackson (Williams 64), Samuel, O’Brien, Demetriou, Rose, Bird

Unused subs: Bittner, Reid, Bignot, Owen-Evans

Booked: O’Brien, Labadie

Leyton Orient: Grainger, Judd, Hunt, Parkes, Kennedy, Moncur (Mezague 87), Collins, Alzate, Koroma (Abrahams 68), Semedo, Dalby (Adeboyejo 84)

Unused subs: Sargeant, Moore, Ochieng, Happe 

Goals: Alzate 8, Koroma 13, 45+2, 64 pen

Booked: Koroma  

No one is prepared to predict what erratic owner Francesco Becchetti will do next.

But they cheered their young team from the pitch as manager Danny Webb tiptoed across the mud to milk the applause.

For Newport, defeat leaves them rock bottom and 11 points from safety. Four years after promotion at Wembley, they are staring at the prospect of a return to the National League.

Graham Westley’s team were jeered off by the home crowd and the manager was the target of abuse.

It was not the way for Westley to celebrate his 49th birthday, but he later pretended not to understand perfectly feasible questions from the local media about whether Newport could avoid the drop.

At times the match at Rodney Parade was a slog but the Orient fans who went were rewarded

At times the match at Rodney Parade was a slog but the Orient fans who went were rewarded

This was the bitter end of the EFL, where nerves are frayed and clubs fighting for their lives.

Westley fidgeted around the artificial surface of the technical area with the sleeves of his black sweat-top pushed up towards the elbows and Mr Tom emblazoned across his shoulders.

Webb, hair slicked back, punched the air having risked the flying mud of Rodney Parade in a pale grey cashmere coat, which drew the attention of the home fans behind his dug-out.

At 33, Orient’s boss is a young manager, elevated from his role in the club’s youth system and at this time of crisis has turned to those players he has known since he arrived at the club as coach of the under-14s. Webb started with seven players under 21. They were falling down with cramp by the final whistle but they did him proud.

Steven Alzate, 18, on his first start, tapped the visitors into the lead before Josh Koroma, also 18, scored three, his first senior goals, completing his hat-trick with a second-half penalty.

Josh Koroma scores from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick on Saturday

Josh Koroma scores from the penalty spot to complete his hat-trick on Saturday

Koroma was applauded by the Newport fans when he was replaced by Tristan Abrahams, another second-year scholar. Their efforts were appreciated by Os followers. ‘I understand the future is the biggest worry for our fans,’ said Webb. ‘I’ve been here four or five years and some of them have supported the club for 50 or 60 years. This club is their life and soul. We’re employees.

‘To come here in those numbers and show support, and not an ounce of negativity, is a credit to them.Hopefully this gives them a bit of respite and a good Saturday night.’

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But will it ultimately change anything? No one in Newport seemed to know. Becchetti was not there. The Italian owner has not attended games since he was offended by a protest organised by fans at home against Blackpool in November. He is said to watch the games live on television.

‘I haven’t spoken to the chairman since it went public with the winding-up order,’ said Webb. ‘All I can say is that the players’ and staff wages went in on time.

‘As the days go on we’ll know a bit more. That’s out of our hands. It’s hard to put it to the back of your mind as a player. But we can’t show any signs that it’s getting to us.’

The Os fans, too, remain defiant. LOFT (the Leyton Orient Fans Trust) have a contingency plan in having launched a regeneration fund with an aim to raise £250,000.

The fund went past £10,000 in the first 24 hours and was up to £33,000 by kick-off on Saturday.

Alan Chandler, a lifelong fan, sat before the match, contemplating the idea of selling more than 3,000 programmes and Orient memorabilia to help the cause.

They arrived fed up and resigned to the worst and they left feeling very much the same way.

But they were at least three points better off and having enjoyed a thumping 4-0 win.



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