Leyton Orient 0
UNITED secured successive victories for the first time this season and a dominant display against a Leyton Orient bereft of confidence.
The Gulls never looked back once Josh McQuoid converted the opener on 16 minutes and Luke Young doubled the advantage with a stinging drive.
Any chance of an Orient revival was cut short by Jamie Reid scoring immediately after half-time and the score could have been a lot worse for the visitors, who also lost Jake Caprice to a late red card.
United boss Gary Owers understandably stuck with the same side that performed so well in winning 1-0 at Sutton in midweek but there was a new face on the bench, as international clearance arrived in time for French striker Guy Gnabouyou to be included among the substitutes.
Leyton Orient are a side seeking a new leader but interim manager will be leaning heavily on the vast experience of their director of football Martin Ling, who was a hugely popular figure during his time at United. The O’s also included a familiar player on their page in the shape of former Gull Mark Ellis.
United started the game on the front-foot but it took nine minutes for the first real opening, as Ruairi Keating scampered down the left and delivered a back-post cross that came ever so close to finding the deep run of Reid.
A fine move down the opposite wing moments later saw McQuoid release Liam Davis for a sprint down the left and his dinked cross was headed narrowly wide by the onrushing Reid.
The opening goal was on the cards and United delivered on 16 minutes, when a slack pass from the Orient midfield sent Keating clear in the right channel and his low cross was slid over the line by McQuoid at the far post.
There was a distinct lack of confidence in the Orient approach, hardly surprising from a side on a run of 13 games without victory, and the onus was on United to turn the screw.
The chance to double United’s lead came from a clever chipped free-kick to the near post by Luke Young and McQuoid twisted his body into position before steering a deft header narrowly past the top corner.
Leyton Orient mustered their first effort on target on the half-hour but the looping header from Matt Harrold was easy for Vincent Dorel to gobble up from under his crossbar.
It was the briefest foray for the visitors and their misery was compounded when Young picked up the ball in midfield, and he was given the freedom of Plainmoor to surge forward, smashing the eventual low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
The Gulls were having fun and it was very nearly a third when another unchecked break ended with a pass wide for Davis, who was denied by an excellent save from Charlie Grainger, diving high to his right-hand side.
A reality check then arrived in the form of a swift ball over the top that was neatly lashed into the corner by James Dayton. The offside flag had long been raised but a stern warning to United that the next goal could change the whole pattern.
The sight of Ling heading toward the tunnel from his seat in the Family Stand was enough evidence that the Orient hierarchy were not impressed with their day, but United’s second-half focus had to be about building on a strong 45 minutes.
Before all that, however, the visitors had to provide lengthy treatment to Grainger following a heavy collision with Reid in the final play of the first period.
It was a sign of Orient frustration that two substitutions were made at the break, the first enforced, as the injured Grainger was replaced in goal by Sam Sargent and the second saw Romauld Boco come on for Zain Westbrooke.
United paid no interest to their changing opponents, notching a decisive third in ruthless fashion, as a threaded pass to Reid allowed him to burst through on goal and prod a low finish past Sargent and in off the post.
At the other end, Dorel was protecting his clean sheet in fine fashion, leaping to his left and palming wide a vicious drive from Boco. United were very soon bearing down on Sargent’s goal again and Reid came within inches with a curling effort just past the far post.
Reid then turned provider, bustling the ball into the path of Keating, who shook off some more hesitant defending from Orient but was denied a goal when Sargeant impressively repelled his low shot after narrowing the angle.
Ruel Sotoriou for Josh Koroma was the final Orient change but United continued pouring forward, with Jazzi Barnum-Bobb next to close with a low cross awkwardly turned around the post by Sargeant.
Owers turned to his bench with the introduction of Rhys Murphy for Keating on 73 minutes and the new man was almost picked out by fizzing low cross from Reid, who was enjoying his afternoon running at a beleaguered defence.
It was then the turn of Gnabouyou to make his Plainmoor debut, with McQuoid given a well-earned rest. Just when it seemed impossible for the day to get any worse for Orient, Caprice was shown a straight red card for a horrible reckless challenge on Damon Lathrope.
The Gulls were waltzing to all three points; the impressive Liam Davis went close with a deflected effort and the resultant corner was headed over by captain for the day, Sean McGinty.
Game over and United can now look forward to the visit of Aldershot with genuine momentum for the first time in a long time.
United (3-4-1-2): 30 Vincent Dorel; 2 Michee Efete, 21 Alex Davey, 5 Sean McGinty (capt); 16 Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, 8 Luke Young, 4 Damon Lathrope, 3 Liam Davis; 13 Josh McQuoid (22 Guy Gnabouyou 81); 10 Ruairi Keating (39 Rhys Murphy 74), 19 Jamie Reid Substitutes (not used): 1 Ryan Clarke (GK), 23 Ryan Higgins, 27 Jennison Myrie-Williams.
Leyton Orient (4-4-2): 1 Charlie Grainger (12 Sam Sargeant H-T); 2 Jake Caprice, 33 Bondz N’Gala, 25 Dan Happe, 3 Joe Widdowson; 7 Jobi McAnuff (capt), 27 James Dayton, 31 Zain Westbrooke (11 Romauld Boco H-T), 23 Craig Clay; 19 Josh Koroma (28 Ruel Sotiriou 63), 24 Matt Harrold. Substitutes (not used): 10 David Mooney, 29 Mark Ellis.
Sent off: Caprice 86
Referee: Richard Hulme
Attendance: 1,913 (316 away)