Unlucky for some, 13: New defeats Old as Wellens’ Leyton Orient win away at Weaver’s Harrogate Town


New got the better of the old in Tuesday evening’s game at the EnviroVent stadium as Richie Wellens’ Leyton Orient won 3-0 against Simon Weaver’s Harrogate Town – a tale of 13 being unlucky for some.

Three second-half goals earned Orient the points with Aaron Drinan grabbing a brace and Ruel Sotiriou adding the other.

Town boss Weaver is the longest-serving boss across English football’s top four divisions, the 44-year-old has been with the Sulphurites since May 2009, currently approaching the end of his 13th year in North Yorkshire.

Wellens meanwhile has played for and managed a wealth of clubs in that same period, only in his 13th day of employment as the Orient boss when he made the trip to Harrogate.

In this instance, the 13 days of experience for Richie Wellens outweighed the 13 years of Simon Weaver.

Harrogate are now winless in seven, losing eight of their 16 League Two games so far in 2022 and are firmly on the slide. Meanwhile, Orient meanwhile are unbeaten in six, winning their last two, and are pulling away from any relegation worries which lingered when Wellens was appointed.

The Action

In a goalless first half, there were plenty of chances with Wellens’ side enjoying more of them, and it was they who had the first real threat 13 minutes in as Theo Archibald saw a header blocked before following up with a strike which cannoned off the foot of the post.

Sotiriou then brought a good save out of Town goalkeeper Mark Oxley one-on-one, before Otis Khan tried his luck from range without success.

Mark Beck prodded wide at the other end under pressure from Orient shot-stopper Lawrence Vigoroux, while Sotiriou also had a snapshot from the edge of the area go wide of the mark prior to the break.

If their first-half performance wasn’t great, Harrogate’s efforts after the restart were far from up to scratch. Under pressure from the off, striker Drinan fired home in style on 52 minutes to hand the visitors the lead.

And six minutes later, when the Sulphurites failed to deal with a long throw into the area, Drinan was on hand from point-blank range to convert a second, his 12th of the league season.

With that, the game and the win was wrapped up, but Orient were in the mood for goals and did get another before the final whistle.

Having spurned a glorious chance from 12 yards out, Cypriot forward Sotiriou made no mistake gifted the opportunity for a one-on-one with Oxley from Rory McCardle’s wayward attempt at a clearance.

Harrogate did go close to a consolation, hitting the woodwork through both Jack Diamond and Simon Power whose chance looked easier to score than miss, but it wasn’t to be for the hosts.

In fact, substitute Paul Smyth could and maybe should have made it four for Orient late on, as should fellow change Harry Smith who struck the post with Oxley beaten in the last action of the contest.

3-0 come the end though, and the 206 travelling Orient fans were rewarded for their efforts with a comprehensive victory from their side.

Next Up

Harrogate will look to bounce back and claim only their fourth league victory of the calendar year by the end of March when they head to bottom club Scunthorpe United on Saturday.

The Iron are adrift in 24th-place and are all but mathematically confirmed as being down, so Weaver’s side have a huge opportunity to get a victory which would ease the relegation worries of some in North Yorkshire.

After their long Tuesday night trip up north, Wellens’ O’s are back on home turf come the weekend, welcoming Barrow to the Breyer Group Stadium and going in search of a third-successive three points.

If Orient can better Harrogate’s result on Saturday, then they would leapfrog their midweek opponents.

Both sides should have enough to steer clear of any real trouble, but still, need a few more points on the board to make absolutely sure of another season in League Two.

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