Leyton Orient 3 Pompey 2

Gareth Evans scores Pompey's second goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans scores Pompey's second goal. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Francesco Becchetti elected to embark on a cringe-inducing lap of honour to savour the occasion.

Perhaps Leyton Orient’s excitable owner ought to have also hoisted aloft several members of Pompey’s defensive unit on to his shoulders.

For their essential contribution deserved just as much appreciation from the Italian during his exuberant post-match reaction to victory.

The glorious feat of a fifth triumph in their last 22 fixtures prompted Becchetti to tear off his coat in front of the South Stand and reveal a replica shirt adorned with his name.

Then it was off to hi-five those supporters congregated along the front of the North Stand, their outstretched hands so willingly offering congratulations on a 3-2 success over the Blues.

It was in stark contrast to the stormy mood of Paul Cook moments later on the Brisbane Road touchline while many were still attempting to digest the breathless actions of Becchetti.

A third defeat of the League Two campaign – and the target of the Pompey manager’s ire was fixed upon several members of his side.

Not so much a result earned by Ian Hendon’s side, rather gifted to them through errant defending from the visitors.

Such a summary is not designed to disrespect the hosts, who clearly treasured the Boxing Day outcome judging from the owner’s antics.

They impressively seized upon their numerical advantage when the moment helpfully arose to turn the occasion on its head having been staring into the face of a defeat.

Indeed, once Adam Webster was dismissed for tangling in the penalty area with Jobi McAnuff on 22 minutes, it heralded a sustained period of domination from Hendon’s team.

The purple patch dispersed when equilibrium was restored on 51 minutes after skipper Mathieu Baudry followed suit, yet within a minute Orient had still turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead.

The lead proved too great to claw back for the Blues, despite Gareth Evans netting, as they subsequently slipped to a first defeat in nine matches.

And for Cook, who cut an angry figure in the aftermath, also declining to conduct a Sky Sports interview, the standard of defending was alarming.

Errors were at the heart of all three Orient goals, the identification of the individuals culpable varying with opinion.

Certainly in the heat of the moment Danny Hollands and Webster exchanged words and apportioned blame following their key roles in the first goal the Blues conceded.

Overall, also include Matt Clarke, Brian Murphy and stand-in centre-half Adam Barton in the identification line-up and you have the chief culprits responsible for the goals shipped.

Misjudgments, honest mistakes and lack of experience deprived the visitors of what had earlier appeared to be a three comfortable points.

At the other end, a number of superb stops produced by Alex Cisak ensured the hosts did not concede more than twice as they hung on to their three points.

Incidentally, Cisak made one appearance for the Blues in November 2012 during a brief loan spell which saw him crowned man of the match against Coventry.

On Saturday he was Orient’s hero, while his Pompey counterpart once again raised question marks against his first-team presence.

Not that Murphy should be singled out for stinging criticism, the Brisbane Road outcome was no one man’s folly.

Yet supporters are noticeably losing faith in a keeper who attracted sarcastic cheers from some of the 1,316 visiting fans whenever he subsequently caught the ball.

Throw in a one-match ban for Webster to rule him out of today’s visit of Luton Town and suddenly several fires have broken out and require swift attention by Cook.

January is looming and with it arrives the welcome opportunity to strengthen areas left exposed by both injury and lack of form.

Still, there was no suggestion of what was to come as Pompey took a fourth-minute lead against Orient.

Kyle Bennett’s cross from the left flicked off Evans and then struck the head of the unfortunate Connor Essam to enter the net for an own goal.

Moments later, Bennett weaved his way into the box and when his shot was saved, Cisak somehow also managed to stop Caolan Lavery’s follow-up header.

It appeared only a matter of time before the flowing Pompey would double their advantage, that was until an error defensively.

On 22 minutes, Hollands fired in a pass towards his own goal with too much power, leaving Webster unable to get out of its path and struggling to control.

As he tangled with McAnuff inside the penalty area, the defender ended up the wrong side of his man and slipped, taking his opponent down with him.

Referee Graham Horwood instantly pointed to the spot and, with Webster effectively having denied a goalscoring opportunity, the youngster was given his marching orders.

With Christian Burgess injured and Jack Whatmough not yet considered ready for first-team action, Barton was asked to climb off the bench and partner Clarke in the centre of defence.

It was left to Jay Simpson to finish from the spot and suddenly it was 1-1 with the Blues down to 10 men.

Orient began to dictate the game and on the stroke of half-time took the lead when Cole Kpekawa’s hopeful lofted ball from just past the halfway line wasn’t dealt with.

Murphy came and went, while Clarke allowed himself to be out muscled too easily by Ollie Palmer, who glanced a header into the net.

Yet Cook’s men received a lifeline on 51 minutes when Baudry responded to a free-kick he had won by leading with his head against Michael Doyle, the red card following.

From that very free-kick, Sean Clohessy’s ball to the far post was headed home by Palmer, who had lost Barton.

Regardless, the Blues began to dominate the 10 v 10 scenario and, on 66 minutes, Bennett’s sublime pass released Evans to make it 3-2. Cisak had already saved an Evans header and went on to deny Ben Davies and Evans again at the death, although Orient substitute John Marquis struck a post following more poor Pompey defensive play.

A very merry Christmas then for Orient and the giddy Becchetti, although not everyone was smiling.

Assistant boss Andy Hessenthaler had apparently been kicked out at by the owner at the start of his victory lap.

For all the back slapping, it seems the hosts also have their problems.