After 14 league games without a win, Justin Edinburgh took charge of his first batch of games. Would the former Northampton man get the new manager bounce?
In his first game, Edinburgh’s O’s travelled to face rock bottom Solihull Moors, can you sense where this one is going? A major call from Edinburgh putting goalkeeping coach Dean Brill between the sticks, a man who hadn’t played a game for two and half years. In a shaky start where Orient continued their performance for Torquay, Brill was keeping the O’s in the game. Joe Widdowson made some last ditch tackles but Solihull struck with you’ve guessed it…. a free header.
Well I think Dean Brill would tell you right now that it was a mistake at his near post. Orient struggled and it could have worse had Brill not saved a penalty in the dying minutes. 15 league games, no win, frustration was for all to see in the away end with emotions running high.
Could Edinburgh halt the run at home to joint leaders Sutton United. Indeed he could and what relieve there was all around Brisbane Road. Bonne struck from the spot after Dayton was taken out in the box. A totally different Orient side, who had their passion back but were thankful for a fine Dean Brill stop which on other day changes the game.
Harrold doubled the advantage early in the second half with a header before Bonne struck his second of the game. It was happening, a win at last well Orient did have to concede first when Tommy Wright fired home. But Dayton wrapped up victory and finally “Rocking all over the world” reverberated around Brisbane Road.
With a League win under the belt, the O’s travelled to Haringey Borough in the first round of the FA Trophy. A team 58 places below Orient but with a new manager, would the tie still be a banana skin? Certainly after conceding within five minutes. Returning Josh Coulson knew he was in for a fight with Haringey all over Orient. A brilliant Brill save kept Orient in the game.
Second half, it was a totally different contest, Edinburgh gave them a rocket, Coulson volley home from a corner seconds before he was substituted. Then within seconds of coming on Matt Harrold headed Orient to Round Two from another corner. Two wins in a row, what is going on at Orient? Edinburgh’s side just about past the test, on to the next one.
Maidstone United away and another plastic pitch. You’ve guessed it….. actually we won on a artificial surface for once, what is going on? On loan Bondz N’Gala poked Orient ahead from yet another corner. Orient were realising what National League football was all about. Compact, tough to beat and doing the nasty parts of the game. Orient wrapped up their third, yes third win a row when Bonne swept home a Jake Caprice cross. Sending the Orient fans, who had been packed in the away end like cattle, into raptures. Even breaking the gate onto the pitch, yes you know who you are……..
A boxing day derby against Dagenham & Redbridge was next in the offing. A chance to treat the old man and become part of the prawn sandwich brigade for a day. A great day including a fine victory, a fourth on the spin. Coulson’s headed (well it is hard to miss with the sheer size of the thing) the O’s ahead in the second half, after a wonderful Dayton cross. The winger was at it again when he laid in Macauley Bonne who took two bites at the cherry before squeezing the ball home. A feel good factor was starting to return, with the spirit in the squad clear to see.
The month and year was seen out when Bromley arrived in E10. The O’s were keen for some revenge after their 6-1 mauling back in August. But once more than small, irritating striker in George Porter managed to get N’Gala sent off, much to the anger of Edinburgh and the rest of the Brisbane Road crowd. Unfortunately Louis Dennis curled Bromley ahead in the first half but any onlooker will tell you now, how Orient didn’t get a least point it beyond them.
Playing with 10 men, Orient were creating chance after chance after chance, but nothing was dropping in. Coulson was winning everything from set pieces, he had one cleared off the line, one smash the post but nothing nestled in the net. A second defeat under Edinburgh, the key was how would they respond after another setback?