Big was beautiful for Albion as, at long last, they rediscovered their goal touch with a vengeance.

Dean Wilkins started Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Brentford with a pint-sized strike partnership of Jake Robinson and Dean Cox.

He went for a much more muscular approach on the Seagulls' return to the capital last night by resting Robinson and teaming up Bas Savage with Joe Gatting.

How it paid off on a night when pretty much everything went right for Albion.

Savage and Gatting were both on the scoresheet after Dean Hammond opened the scoring in the first half with his tenth goal of the season against the club he once served on loan.

Dean Cox added a final flourish to complete a handsome second win out of 11 in the League for Wilkins' rejuvenated side.

It was injury-hit Orient's second heavy defeat in succession following their 5-0 hammering at Bournemouth and, while Albion have given themselves valuable breathing space, O's remain in the relegation zone.

As well as the changes up front, Albion had different full-backs following the setback at Brentford.

Sam Rents replaced the suspended Kerry Mayo on the left and Adam El-Abd reverted from midfield to right-back at the expense of Arsenal loanee and former Orient trainee Joe O'Cearuill, who paid the price for a poor performance at Griffin Park.

Orient were without former Albion transfer target Jabo Ibehre, Luke Guttridge and Justin Miller, who were all injured in the weekend debacle at Bournemouth.

The O's gave a debut to former Norwich midfielder Phil Mulryne, who was briefly on trial with the Seagulls around the time that Mark McGhee was sacked.

Wilkins employed a midfield diamond, Alexis Bertin operating in a holding role with Cox on the right, Hammond on the left and Nick Ward behind the front pair.

It had some effect, because there was certainly more fluency than had been the case in the first half at Brentford.

Albion hit plenty of long, diagonal balls in the direction of Gatting, the right-sided attacker. Early on Gatting nodded down a cross from Cox and it needed a combination of Brian Saah and keeper Glyn Garner to deny Savage.

Gatting was heavily involved again in the 25th minute when he touched on a raking cross from Rents and Garner had to save at the feet of Cox.

Despite those moments of promise, it was Orient who had the two best opportunities in the opening half hour of the contest.

James Walker, on loan from Charlton, chested and volleyed on the turn after Mulryne shaped to shoot before dinking the ball into the box.

A couple of minutes later Joel Lynch was blatantly tripped but the linesman, who was only ten yards away from the incident, did not flag and the referee waved play on.

It could have been costly but Gary Alexander could only find the side netting from a narrow angle.

Wilkins eventually switched his strikers, a move which paid off handsomely with the manner in which Albion at last ended their goal famine in the 39th minute.

Savage, popping up on the right delivered a cross which found its way through to Hammond, lurking in space beyond the far post.

The captain picked his spot with an angled effort across Garner into the roof of the net from ten yards to bring the curtain down on a drought spanning more than seven hours.

Hammond's first goal for two months could have been followed by a second for the Seagulls on the stroke of half-time.

A cross from Cox cleared Gatting but ended up back at his feet via Savage.

The young striker's close range stab was deflected over the bar for a corner.

The second goal Albion needed to kill Orient off should have arrived three minutes into the second half. An inviting centre from Bertin, which was struck with pace and zipped off the rain-soaked surface, cried out to be converted inside the six-yard box but it just eluded the lunging Gatting.

When the lead was doubled, in the 57th minute, it was well worth waiting for.

The impressive Bertin began the move with a pass which released Cox down the right wing. He crossed low into the area for Savage, making an intelligent run across the front of his marker, to fire a first-time shot with his right foot into the roof of the net.

It was the first time Albion had scored twice in a match since the home win against Cheltenham at the start of December and there was more to come as the confidence flooded back.

Gatting got in on the act in the 67th minute, poking in from point blank range after the diving Savage headed back another cross from Cox from beyond the back post.

The only disappointment for Albion was the failure to keep another clean sheet. They looked very comfortable until the 87th minute when a quickly taken free-kick by Shane Tudor caught them out and substitute Jason Demetriou glanced a consolation header past Michel Kuipers.

The Seagulls were not finished though. Nathan Elder, on for Gatting, flicked on a long clearance for Cox, with a nice sense of symmetry, to score with an angled shot.

He was also on target when Albion beat Orient by the same score at Withdean in September.

ALBION (4-1-2-1-2): Michel Kuipers; Adam El-Abd, Guy Butters, Joel Lynch, Sam Rents; Alexis Bertin; Dean Cox, Dean Hammond; Nick Ward; Joe Gatting, Bas Savage. Subs: John Sullivan, Jake Robinson, Tommy Fraser, Nathan Elder for Gatting (withdrawn, 85), Joe O'Cearuill.

LEYTON ORIENT (4-4-2): Glyn Garner; Alton Thelwell, Brian Saah, John Mackie, Matthew Lockwood; Shane Tudor, Adam Chambers, Phil Mulryne, Wayne Corden; Gary Alexander, James Walker. Subs: Donny Barnard for Alexander (withdrawn, 68), Glenn Morris, Derek Duncan for Corden (withdrawn, 74), Aiden Palmer, Jason Demetriou for Mulryne (withdrawn, 61).

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