TRAVELLING fans enjoyed a healthy serving of pie and smash in East London as Town reignited their bid for the League I play-offs.
Lee Clark’s seventh-placed side looked more than hungry for a much-needed three-point haul – and achieved their objective with a gutsy performance.
Goals from top scorer Jordan Rhodes, his 19th of the season, and Theo Robinson, his 10th in his first start since October 3, saw off the challenge of the O’s.
Now Colchester, beaten 1-0 at Walsall and two points above Town, will be looking over their shoulders, as will Millwall, in action at Leeds tonight, Swindon and Charlton, who visit the Galpharm on Saturday.
Charlton are third, but only six points ahead of Clark’s men, and cutting that gap to three would make things very interesting.
Click here for an image gallery from Saturday's game including both goals and an appearance by Jonathan Tehoue.Related content
So too would a defeat for Colchester in their game in hand at home to Brentford tomorrow.
As Clark said before Saturday’s showdown, Town can only concentrate on getting as many points as possible between now and teatime on Saturday, May 8, when they complete their regular season at Exeter.
And this was a great way to begin the final 10-game run-in.
There were few real scares for a visiting defence in which skipper Peter Clarke excelled and Aussie left-back Dean Heffernan responded superbly after his tough examination by leaders Norwich the week before.
While Jason Demetriou, who was well shackled by Lee Peltier, shot over in the first half and Sean Thornton forced Alex Smithies to scoop the ball up and over the bar with a shot from a late free-kick, the main home threat came from Jonathan Tehoue, the man Town tried to sign in January 2009.
A contractual dispute between the burly Frenchman and Turkish club Konyaspor prevented a deal, and by the time Tehoue became available late last year, Town had moved on.
Rhodes and Robinson, of course, were among the strikers Clark signed in the meantime, and both showed their penalty-area prowess by making the most of lovely deliveries by Gary Roberts and Anthony Pilkington respectively.
Rhodes registered his first goal in seven games in the 26th minute, steering the ball home to complete a swift counter-attack which begun with a solid Heffernan challenge and continued when Danny Drinkwater swept the ball out to Roberts on the left.
And Robinson showed quick reactions to reach Pilkington’s cross from the right ahead of his marker and volley past keeper Glenn Morris at the near post.
The goal capped an encouraging display by the 21-year-old former Watford player, who went through one on one with Morris after only five minutes, but showed a touch too much of the ball to the keeper, who managed to smother.
Roberts had a shot blocked, then drove wide after Robinson pulled back Drinkwater’s quickly-taken free-kick.
And Rhodes was only narrowly off target from Pilkington’s cross as Town flexed their muscles before opening the scoring.
There were further first-half efforts from Pilkington, who brought a smart save from Morris, Robinson, who shot wide from a Pilkington cross, and Rhodes, who was too high after a neat pull-down from a teasing Roberts delivery.
Rhodes was just over from the edge of the area, and Neal Trotman’s header tested Morris before home midfielder Adam Chambers came close to gifting Town a second with a sliced clearance in the 57th minute.
The second duly arrived from a move initiated by the hard-working Rhodes, and as Town snuffed out any lingering Leyton threat, substitute Antony Kay almost made it three with a low shot which was deflected for a corner.