The Daggers FA Cup run came to an abrupt end at the Matchroom Stadium last night as a battling second half fight back ultimately came to nothing writes Ricky Butler.
Trailing 2-0 at the break John Still's side once again showed great battling qualities to score twice in a minute midway through the second half but it was not enough in the end as they crashed out at the first hurdle for the second year in a row.
The Daggers starting XI showed one change from the clubs' first meeting ten days ago, with Peter Gain replacing Victor Palsson in midfield, while new loan signings Kayleden Brown and Medy Elito were both ineligible having signed after the original first round date meaning Nathaniel Pinney and Billy Bingham were recalled to the squad.
But the Daggers got off to the worst possible start, conceding inside ninety seconds. Dean Cox was fouled by Mark Arber out on the right and Charlie Daniels' free kick was turned home by the surprisingly unmarked Scott McGleish from close range.
The O's looked to take advantage of a shaky start from the visitors and in-form striker Alex Revell almost made it two four minutes later with a header that flew just wide of Chris Lewington's left hand upright, following a great cross from Cox.
But slowly the Daggers began to get a foothold in the tie. Will Antwi headed straight at home keeper Lee Butcher from a Danny Green cross in the 11th minute while Green then saw a goal-bound effort blocked by defender Terrell Forbes soon after.
But it was Orient who doubled their lead midway through the first half. A lovely through ball from Paul-Jose M'poku sent Revell clear of the Daggers defence and he showed all the confidence of a man who had scored six times in his previous five matches with a cool finish past Lewington.
With their cup dream now hanging in the balance Still's side upped the tempo and almost found a way back eight minutes before the break when a header from Bas Savage was cleared off the line by Matthew Spring. But Orient broke quickly and were close to grabbing a third when Revell again got clear of the Daggers back line, although thankfully Lewington was able to block his effort this time and it remained 2-0 at the break.
It was going to take something special if the Daggers were to save themselves in the second half but they have made a habit of such comebacks in the past and they conjured up another with two goals inside sixty seconds.
They were given a lifeline in the 67th minute when referee Simon Hooper ruled that O's defender Elliott Omozusi had handled in the area and, despite the inevitable protests from the hosts, Green kept his cool to fire the spot kick beyond Butcher. A minute earlier they though they'd scored but hte referee said the ball hadn't crossed the line despite looking a foot over.
Suddenly the Daggers had a spring in their step and they were level straight from the restart as Solomon Taiwo fired into the bottom left hand corner of the net from 25 yards to send the 794 away fans into dreamland.
With the hosts still reeling from that double setback Cardiff loanee Taiwo burst forward again and tried to repeat the trick, but this time his long range effort flew inches wide of Butcher's right hand post and Orient had survived.
The visitors now looked the more likely winners and substitute Gavin Tomlin almost completed an incredible turnaround thirteen minutes from time with a neat shot on the turn inside the O's penalty area that was just too close to Butcher.
That proved to be the turning point as Orient delivered the knock-out blow just two minutes later. Cox whipped in another dangerous corner from the right and McGleish rose to power a header into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Still responded by replacing Peter Gain with Damian Scannell and the move should have paid dividends seven minutes from time. Green skipped past Daniels down the right and his low cross found the former Southend winger in space at the far post just two yards out, but with the goal at his mercy he succeeded in merely directing the ball back across the face of the goal and the chance was gone.
That proved to be the Daggers last opportunity to save their cup dream and it is Orient who will now travel to Droylsden in front of the live TV cameras a week next Monday, leaving Still's men free to concentrate on survival in League One.
Att: 2,901 (794 away)