A second half MacAuley Bonne penalty was the difference as Leyton Orient picked up back to back wins. Orient’s main man struck home from the spot with 21 minutes to go after Josh Koroma was fouled in the penalty area. The win see Edinburgh’s men extend their unbeaten run to five games ahead of their trip to Gateshead next week.
Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh was enforced into one change from the side that started at Maidstone on Tuesday. James Brophy dropped out with a hamstring injury with captain Jobi McAnuff returning after an ankle injury.
Luke Garrard also made one change from his side that drew 1-1 with Gateshead in midweek. Connor Smith made his first start of the season as Justin Shaibu missed out. Angelo Balanta moved alongside Josh Umerah in attack while Smith started behind the two.
The O’s fell behind early in their last home match against Barrow and Edinburgh’s men looked to start on the front foot. Jobi McAnuff picked out Joe Widdowson on the overlap, his cross found Josh Koroma but the O’s youngster fired over.
Boreham Wood netted from a corner in midweek and were causing Orient problems from set pieces with defender David Stephens the main target. The O’s had a warning sign as Balanta was flagged offside after he stroked home from a free kick at the back post.
Garrard’s side were finding joy with balls in behind Orient’s defence with striker Joh Umerah dominating the aerial battles. The on loan Charlton man was holding the ball up well trying link play for his side. However, it was Koroma hold up play which nearly created the opener. Receiving the ball just inside his half, he held off his man and played MacAuley Bonne in down the left but Bonne’s shot was parried to safety.
The game was tight with neither side creating many chances, Charlie Lee saw an effort deflected over for Orient while Umerah dragged a shot wide from inside the area. Jobi McAnuff’s effort from distance was easily saved by Ellery Balcombe in the Boreham Woo goal.
Orient started the second half bright with only a piece of brilliant defending keeping them at bay. James Dayton created space down the right, his cross looked certain to find Koroma but a great tackle from Tom Champion cleared the danger. Josh Coulson was replaced by Daniel Happe with what was reported a hint of concussion.
Craig Clay had continued where he left off on Tuesday, breaking up playing and putting Orient on the front foot. He was next to close but he could only head a Joe Widdowson cross wide. With the game opening up slightly, Happe only on the pitch for a matter of minutes could only fire wide at the back post for a corner.
Boreham Wood were finding it harder to keep possession in the final third, created their best chance of the game but Ricky Shakes’s goal bound effort was tipped around the post by Dean Brill. As Orient were beginning to find space going forward it was Koroma who was the difference. Picking the ball up on the left, he drove inside the Boreham Wood penalty area and was brought down by Shakes. Bonne stepped up a duly dispatched the spot kick for his third goal of the season.
As time was ticking down, Orient began to sit deeper inviting some pressure but Boreham Wood were lacking composure in the final third. Captain Jobi McAnuff could have put the icing on the cake but his brilliant run ended with a shot smothered by Balcombe. The O’s saw the remaining minutes out to pick up their second win of the season, moving them up to ninth.
A week is a long time in football, after a terrible first half performance against Barrow and conceding yet another goal in the last ten minutes last weekend. We now look at a second win in four days, our unbeaten run increasing to five games seeing a game out twice. The confidence is increasing and the players are starting to find form.
Craig Clay, a man who flatter to deceive in the opening run of games and I was one of the people wondering how he still was in the team. But just like his Tuesday’s performance, he was brilliant once more in the center of the park. Doing the simple things well and breaking a lot of play up. Battling away alongside Charlie Lee who is slowly improving but with Dale Gorman now full fit, they now know, a poor performance means they could be benched.
Another good display from Myles Judd, defending well for the majority of the game, but did lose some composure in the first half. Shortly after being booked, he raced into another challenge and on another day, it could have been a different story. However, he is young and learning his trade but he is certainly making Sam Ling work for his place back in the team.
Jobi McAnuff was his usual bundle of energy and using his experience in midfield. Bonne was barely given a sniff today but does what he does best, put the ball in the back of the net. Lastly, Josh Koroma continues to improve with a lot of credit going to Justin Edinburgh who is highlighting his man management skills. A man who struggled to even make the matchday squad in the first half of the season last year, but now looks like a man you can’t leave out of the starting 11.
Another weekend, avoiding defeat. I could get used to that. Well, in a rare week off with no midweek fixture. It is Gateshead away up next, where we ended the season well in April. But the Heed army have started the season well and it proves to be an exciting encounter, that is if we can see it trying to see the pitch from the stands. The dreaded running track returns, see you all in Newcastle for Game 6