Leyton Orient 2, Norwich City 1
David Cuffley SLIDESHOW: Norwich City’s promotion jitters surfaced again as two first half goals by Leyton Orient’s Sean Thornton condemned them to their second successive away defeat. The Canaries still have work to do to clinch their return to the Championship after taking just four points from their last four games.
Norwich City's promotion jitters surfaced again as two first half goals by Leyton Orient's Sean Thornton condemned them to their second successive away defeat.
The Canaries still have work to do to clinch their return to the Championship after taking just four points from their last four games.
Both goals conceded came from free-kicks as Thornton scored after three and 29 minutes. Between those two efforts, Korey Smith had equalised with his fourth goal of the season and City's 100th in all competitions.
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After the break, Fraser Forster made two fine saves to keep City in contention and substitute Anthony McNamee came closest to salvaging a point when he hit the woodwork in stoppage time, but it was not to be.
The defeat meant Norwich have won just once in 26 trips to the capital and must return there again to take on promotion-cashing Charlton on Saturday.
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City boss Paul Lambert made three changes at the Matchroom Stadium - two by choice and one of them enforced.
Goalkeeper Fraser Forster returned from a two-match ban in place of Declan Rudd, while there was a double change in attack.
With skipper Grant Holt suspended and Anthony McNamee relegated to the bench, both Stephen Elliott and Oli Johnson were included in the starting line-up.
Another striker, Cody McDonald, was recalled to the bench for his first involvement in the first team squad since the game at Millwall on February 6.
Orient included two ex-Canaries in their eleven in striker Ryan Jarvis and former loan midfielder Jimmy Smith.
There was a shock for City and their 3,000 travelling fans when Orient took the lead in only the third minute.
A free-kick from the left by Chorley was nodded on by McGleish and Thornton, back in the side after suspension, got the wrong side of the defence to chest the ball wide of Forster and knock it home.
Forster had to be quick off his line after 14 minutes to beat Jarvis to a McGleish through-ball, but as City broke, Johnson set up Elliott for a shot that was partially blocked before running through to 'keeper Jones.
Russell and Chris Martin both had long-range shots blocked as City stepped up their bid for an equaliser.
It came, sure enough, in the 19th minute when Korey Smith scored his fourth goal of the season.
It was a well-worked effort as Elliott turned Chris Martin's pass into Smith's path and he placed his shot perfectly home from 20 yards.
It was City's 100th goal in all competitions this season.
Thornton shot wide from a half-chance after City lost possession on the right side of the defence.
It was almost 2-1 to City after 26 minutes when Chris Martin struck the foot of the post with an audacious 30-yard shot after collecting Drury's throw.
Instead, Orient regained the lead three minutes later when Thornton scored his second. City were undone by another free-kick, this time from Daniels, who swung the ball in left-footed from the right side, Thornton again getting behind the defence to beat Forster with a powerful header.
Doherty had to make a vital header to prevent Jarvis getting on the end of a cross by Thornton five minutes before the break, then Russell conceded a free-kick from which Daniels curled in a swerving left-foot shot that Forster had to beat away.
In the final minute of the half, Jarvis fired wide after a fine four-man move by Orient.
t Half-time: Leyton Orient 2, Norwich City 1
Elliott was in trouble straight after the restart when he appeared to overstretch and was not moving too freely.
McGleish volleyed wide seven minutes after the break, but Jimmy Smith was booked for a foul on Johnson as City counter-attacked.
Nelson blocked a shot from Spicer after a promising move down the left by Orient.
City made their first change with a quarter of the match remaining, McNamee replacing Lappin and taking up his wide left position.
Forster had to race from his line to clear from Jarvis after a backpass by Russell Martin fell short.
Daniels was very close to making it 3-1 after 77 minutes when he burst clean through the City defence but Forster smothered his low drive.
Forster saved again a minute later, this time superbly from McGleish's left-foot shot.
City made a double change with 11 minutes left when Hughes and McDonald replaced Johnson and Elliott.
Skipper Doherty was pushed into attack in the closing minutes.
Hughes was so close to levelling within two minutes of coming on when his powerful shot was kept out by Jones.
In stoppage time, McNamee was even closer to salvaging a point when he struck the woodwork.
t Result: Leyton Orient 2, Norwich City 1
t Leyton Orient: Jones, Lichaj, Chorley, Mkandawire, Daniels; Chambers, Thornton, Jimmy Smith, Spicer, Jarvis, McGleish.
Subs: Morris, Purches, Ashworth, Demetriou, Pires (for Jarvis, 86), Baker, Patulea.
t Norwich City: Forster; Russell Martin, Doherty, Nelson, Drury; Russell; Korey Smith, Lappin; Johnson; Elliott, Chris Martin.
Subs: Rudd, Spillane, Rose, McNamee (for Lappin, 68), Gill, Hughes (for Johnson, 79), McDonald (for Elliott, 79).
t Referee: Graham Scott
t Attendance: 7,520
t Goals: Orient: Thornton (3, 29). Norwich: Korey Smith (19)
t Bookings: Orient: McGleish (27), Jimmy Smith (53), Lichaj (65). Norwich: Johnson (31), Chris Martin (62), Drury (83), Russell (90)