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Swindon Town 0-1 Leyton Orient
A second-half goal from Lee Cook condemned Town to their first home defeat to over a year on Saturday.
It was a disjointed display from the hosts, who looked short of ideas throughout what was a sweltering afternoon at the County Ground, and Russell Slade’s team fully deserved the three points.
Paolo Di Canio made five changes to the side that lost to Oxford United in mid-week, with Darren Ward, Simon Ferry, Paul Benson, Giles Coke and Adam Rooney making way for Alan Navarro, Aden Flint, Tommy Miller, James Collins and Matt Ritchie.
Both sides struggled to gain a foothold during a drab opening to clash, but it was the visitors who took the initiative on the half hour mark.
And they squandered two golden opportunities to take the lead within 10 minutes, as first Michael Symes somehow managed to fire a Dean Cox cross wide of goal from 10 yards, before Kevin Lisbie headed another Cox delivery inches wide with Wes Foderingham beaten.
Town’s best chance of the half fell to Raffa De Vita, but the winger mishit a difficult volley into the turf and Orient defender Ben Chorley made a simple block.
Di Canio would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle with the scores still level, but although his side made a brighter start to the second half, they continued to struggle to create a clear cut chance.
And the hosts found themselves behind seconds before the hour mark, as Orient midfielder Cook succeeded where Symes and Lisbie had failed earlier in the afternoon.
When makeshift left-back Fedde Bessone failed to clear the ball, Leon McSweeney pounced and crossed low for Cook who found himself unmarked at the back post and finished from close range.
Town pushed hard for an equaliser soon after, but nearly found themselves two goals adrift as the impressive Dean Cox drifted a 25-yard free kick inches over the top, with Foderingham again well beaten.
Di Canio made his full quota of substitutions in search of an equaliser, but though the introduction of Simon Ferry, Paul Benson and Adam Rooney injected a little more energy, Town still failed to seriously test O’s ‘keeper Ryan Allsopp.
Right-back Joe Devera had their best chance, but could only skew his 15-yard effort into the side-netting on 84 minutes, when he might have done better.
As the final whistle blew, Di Canio was left to ponder what went wrong, and how to put right a worrying sequence of three consecutive defeats.