A 90th minute George Moncur saw Leyton Orient defeat Reading FC 2-1 and extend the visitors winless run on the road to 17 league games.
The home side took a deserved lead through a Jordan Brown strike from the edge of the box, but saw their advantage cancelled out by Reading defender Tyler Bindon who pounced on a rebound to bundle home. But a poorly-defended corner allowed Moncur to steal in and snatch the three points.
Looking to end their well-documented barren league run on the road, Reading boss Ruben Selles originally made three changes to the 11 which lost convincingly at Northampton in midweek, bringing in Sam Hutchinson, Dom Ballard and Harvey Knibbs. But an injury to Hutchinson in the warm-up meant Charlie Savage retained his position.
Maligned defenders Tom Holmes and Nesta Guinness-Walker made their returns to the matchday squad, taking their places on the Royals’ bench.
The hosts came into the encounter in 16th position in the table, winning two of their last five games. Manager Richie Wellens, whose son Charlie joined Reading in the summer, stuck with the same line up which went a goal up in Tuesday’s abandoned match against Lincoln City.
Both sets of players, staff and fans observed a minute’s applause before kick off for Orient fan and former stadium announcer Derek Reynolds, who died that evening after falling ill during the game. Members of the Reynolds family joined the O’s in the centre circle as the ground paid tribute to a much-loved member of their community.
Orient managed the emotion of the occasion better in the opening stages, playing expansive football and exploiting their opponent’s frailties down the wings. Joe Pigott came close to opening the scoring with a header which David Button did well to tip onto the bar.
But the ‘keeper couldn’t prevent the hosts from going in front in the 26th minute. Breaking free on the counter, a cross from the right was only half-cleared, the ball falling nicely to Jordan Brown on the edge of the box who fired low into the Royals’ net.
Orient had won two and lost two of their league games at Brisbane Road this season, and that unpredictability came to the fore as Reading started to regain control. Lewis Wing and Dom Ballard struck shots on target, and it proved to be third time lucky for the visitors who went ahead through defender Bindon.
A Matty Carson delivery from the left was met by Ballard, whose header ricocheted off the bottom of the post. With Bindon stealing in at pace, the New Zealand defender was just about able to readjust his body to scuff the ball into the far corner, much to the delight of the travelling fans. The goal meant Reading went into the break all-square.
Neither side found their stride after the interval, with very few clear-cut chances falling to their front men besides a handful of promising-looking counter attacks.
The hosts were presented with a golden opportunity to regain the lead as Ruel Sotirou rattled the crossbar with a fierce effort from the left side of the penalty area.
Midweek defeat in the East Midlands had seen the Royals’ winless away run in the league extended to 17 games, and in an attempt to buck the trend, Selles turned to his bench, introducing Guinness-Walker, Ben Elliott and Paul Mukariu.
The changes were to be in vain as Orient grabbed a winner in the 90th minute. Button, who had been solid up till then, came charging out to meet a corner, missed the ball and the goalmouth scrabble which ensued saw substitute George Moncur bundle home and secure three points for his side.
With precious little time to work with, Reading could only fashion an opening through Elliott, whose acrobatic effort flew just over the bar, but that was to be the extent of their riposte.
With their well-anticipated match-up with Oxford United postponed due to the international break, the Royals will have to wait until October 21, to play their next league game, a trip to Charlton Athletic.
Leyton Orient: Brynn, Turns, Happe, Brown, Pigott, Sotirou, Archibald, Cooper, El Mizouni, Sanders, Hunt
Substitutes: Howes, HAmes, Sweeney, Moncur, Drinan, Pratley, Graham
Reading: Button, Dean, Knibbs, Ballard, Azeez, Ehibhatiomhan, Savage, Bindon, Wing, Abbey, Carson
Substitutes: Boyce-Clarke, Holmes, Elliott, Camara, Mukairu, Guinness-Walker, Vickers