Leyton Orient finally got back to winning ways this afternoon, when goals from Paul Smyth, Ruel Sotiriou and Harry Smith saw them overcome Rochdale in Richie Wellens’ first home match in charge.

The O’s went behind after six minutes, from an Alex Newby strike, but a thunderous Paul Smyth strike just before the interval, along with second half strikes from Ruel Sotiriou and Harry Smith saw Orient take all three points from the match.

The Dale had the first chance of the match, when James Ball fired an effort in low toward goal, but Lawrence Vigouroux got down well to deny the midfielder at his near post.

From the following corner however, Alex Newby found a yard of space in the box, and finished emphatically past Vigouroux for the first goal of the match. It was not the start Richie Wellens would have wanted in front of the fans at the Breyer Group Stadium for the first time.

The O’s went agonisingly close to an equaliser in the 21st minute, when Ruel Sotiriou was able to find Aaron Drinan with a pinpoint cross, but Drinan’s header was instinctively palmed away by Rochdale goalkeeper, Jay Lynch.

Rochdale came close to a second on 28 minutes, but Lawrence Vigouroux did well to deny Liam Kelly’s free kick from the edge of the box.

Again, from the following set piece, Orient struggled to defend, but thankfully for the O’s, Eoghan O’Connell fired wide from point blank range.

The O’s equalised in the 41st minute with an absolute thunderbolt, when Paul Smyth picked up the ball after Ruel Sotiriou beat two Rochdale defenders, to rocket a shot past Lynch into the top corner. Smyth, who has had a season largely frustrated by injury, certainly enjoyed that one, with the trademark somersault to match the strike.

After a largely frustrating first half, Smyth’s wonderstrike dragged the O’s back into the contest for what was sure to be a competitive second half.

Half time Leyton Orient 1-1 Rochdale

After a fairly subdued first ten minutes of the second half, the O’s burst into life. Firstly, Paul Smyth drove at the Rochdale defence, his ball was deflected back to Theo Archibald who’s attempt was blocked by Jeriel Dorsett.

Seconds later though, The O’s did take the lead with another sublime strike, this time from Ruel Sotiriou. The ball was deflected back to the Orient man in form, and he made no mistake with his finish, driving the ball in from the edge of the box after a Shadrach Ogie long throw caused chaos in the visitors box. The Breyer Group Stadium erupted, as the whole of the Orient outfield side celebrated in at the corner.


Paul Smyth again created an opportunity for himself in the 67th minute, but from a wide angle, his shot just whistled over Lynch’s crossbar. The O’s were certainly in the ascendency at this moment.

Hector Kyprianou and Ethan Coleman were replaced in the 68th and 70th minutes respectively, by Otis Khan and Darren Pratley. Paul Smyth’s afternoon however ended in disappointment, as he hobbled off in the 73rd minute, to be replaced by Harry Smith.

In the 81st minute, The O’s killed the game off, and there won’t have been a more popular goalscorer inside the Breyer Group Stadium this afternoon. Adam Thompson did superbly well to find Theo Archibald, who brought the ball down excellently to unleash a shot at goal. Archibald’s effort was deflected towards Harry Smith, who got his head to the ball before Lynch to put the game to bed. Smith’s first goal since December was greeted with unanimous, euphoric relief.

The O’s continued to apply pressure, and Theo Archibald’s cross, via a Harry Smith flick on, found Otis Khan at the back post, but Liam Kelly did his defensive duties well to deflect the ball out for an O’s corner.

Connor Wood struck an effort high and wide for the O’s in the first of six additional minutes, as the O’s continued to press, and minutes later, Theo Archibald had a half volley saved by Lynch from point blank range.

That was it for the encounter, and a long, long, awaited run without three points was finally over for the O’s. Goals from Paul Smyth, Ruel Sotiriou and Harry Smith were enough to give Orient the victory, in Richie Wellens’ first home game as the O’s head coach.

Full Time : Leyton Orient 3-1 Rochdale

Leyton Orient XI –

Vigouroux, Wood, Thompson, Smyth (Smith, 75), Archibald, Drinan, Beckles, Sotiriou, Ogie, Kyprianou (Khan, 70), Coleman (Pratley,64).

Goals –

Smyth (40), Sotiriou (58), Smith (80)

Yellow Cards –

Kyprianou (49), Vigouroux (85).

Rochdale XI –

Lynch, O’Keeffe, O’Connell, Dooley (Charman, 77), Ball, Newby, Dorsett, Keohane (Done, 66), Kelly, Clark, Campbell.

Goals –

Newby (6)

Yellow Cards –

Ball (82), Campbell (85).

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