Leyton Orient made in nine unbeaten with a 3-0 home win over Solihull Moors last night. Charlie Lee headed the O’s ahead on the stroke of half time, after Adil Yussuf hit the post early on for Moors. Solihull searched for an equaliser but their task was made harder when full back Jamie Reckford was sent off after two cautions. MacAuley Bonne tapped home for Orient’s second before substitute Matt Harrold stroked home in added time to help move Orient up to second.
Orient who had won their previous two heading into the clash named an unchanged starting 11 for the fifth consecutive game. The only change came on the bench with Dale Gorman called up for International Duty, Alex Lawless returned to the matchday squad.
Solihull who were fresh from their 2-1 triumph at Barrow on Saturday made two changes. Jermaine Hylton and Jamey Osborne dropped to the bench with Luke Maxwell and Cory O’Keeefe into the starting 11.
The O’s were out of the traps from the off with Josh Koroma curling effort straight into the arms of Solihull keeper, Ryan Boot. Orient were trying to gain the upper hand early but MacAuley Bonne couldn’t direct a Joe Widdowson cross goal-bound. It was definitely a fast start with Orient looking bright, especially down the right between Myles Judd and James Dayton. And it was this combination which set up Koroma but the O’s youngster could only head over the bar.
Despite the early chances, Solihull were clearly growing into the game going close when Danny Wright’s effort was saved brilliantly by Dean Brill after a fast break from Moors. The chances kept coming but Marvin Ekpiteta couldn’t add to his two league goals seeing his flicked header going wide from a Charlie Lee long throw.
Wright and his partner Adi Yussuf were becoming more and more influential with Solihull wondering on 15 minutes how they hadn’t taken the lead. Following a flowing move, Cory O’Keeffe was free on the right edge of the penalty area but his effort was saved by Brill. The rebound fell to Kyle Storer but a brilliant Ekpiteta block saw the effort moved to safety.
Charlie Lee glanced a James Dayton corner wide of the goal as both sides seeked the first goal in E10. Then another chance for the Moors, a long clearance by Ryan Boot put Yussuf in the clear, after evading both Ekpiteta and Brill, the Solihull striker saw his swivelled effort role agonizingly into the post and away from danger.
Solhull were a threat from set pieces with Orient having to be thankful for Craig Clay after the midfielder cleared Luke Maxwell’s effort off the line. In a frantic, end to end first half, Lee saw a volley sail straight at Boot, before the controversy started. With a minimum three minutes awarded at the end of the first half, Orient were awarded a free kick on the left. With time clearly elapsed and much to Tim Flowers’s annoyance Orient took the free kick with the ball going for a corner. McAnuff’s delivery found Lee who was going to be denied this time and he glanced in for the opening goal.
With Orient ahead at the break, Solhull looked to force an equaliser but their task was made harder. Following the restart, two rash fouls in three minutes saw defender Jamie Reckford sent for an early bath. The O’s had the initative with the lead and the man advantage however Solihull clearly still a danger on the counter attack. Brill was called on once more after great work from Danny Wright found Kyle Storer on the edge of the box but his fierce effort was parried to safety.
Orient needed a second goal to make sure of victory and despite three clean sheets in their last four, you could feel the nerves in the crowd. Bonne thought he had grabbed number two but his header from a Myles Judd center was brilliantly tipped around the post by Boot. However, the O’s number nine, wasn’t going to be denied and after excellent work by Koroma, the O’s youngster crossed for Bonne to tap home and make sure of victory with five minutes to go.
The O’s met it three in added time after Judd found Bonne on the right, his shot squirmed under Boot into the box. Fresh from the bench Matt Harrold was quickest and slotted home to make it five wins from their last six.
Another game, another win and Orient stay unbeaten and it was another game where it cleared could have been different. Solihull caused Orient problems in the first half, yes it was after a period of early dominance by Orient where they could have been ahead. But the physical presence of Yussuf and Wright was causing the O’s backline problems and had to be thankful for last ditch challenges, blocks and a fine performance from Dean Brill.
But isn’t that a sign of a good team and a team which you want them to have those battling qualities. Marvin Ekpiteta had another super game, where he was caught out a few times but his pace and composure got him out of some sticky situations. Brill, a man criticized in the opening few games has definitely earned his keep with some fine saves preserving Orient’s unbeaten run.
Myles Judd, another stormer from he O’s youngster who continues to improve week in week out. Judd had a difficult afternoon on Saturday against Binnon-Williams and Chesterfield but his energy levels were phenomenal last night. Flying down the right and the most pleasing thing was the link up play between himself and Dayton. Yes, his final ball into the box needs to improve on a regular basis but he is once more an exciting prospect who has grabbed his chance with both hands.
And Josh Koroma, a man who this time last year was no where near the first team. People may be thinking he didn’t have a good game last night, gave the ball away. Yes he probably did however this time last year would you have seen him have the composure with five minutes to go to square the ball to his strike partner to make it 2-0. A “maturing performance” is what Edinburgh described it and that is clearly evident but he is clearly make large strides forward.
“A tough game” is what Edinburgh described it where his side are finding different ways to win and I think most Orient fans would agree last season we probably would have succumb in the first half to a goal. But this Orient team are different and are willing to put their bodies on the line for the cause.
Orient sit second with nine games gone and are perfectly positioning. A great start where the foundations have been built but there is one hell of a long way to go. Next up Halifax away on Saturday, a team who were flying up in the play offs places. Another tough trip but most important thing is to take each game as it comes and just focus on the next one. The signs are there for all to see but we head to Halifax for Game 10 for a 46 game season. That’s the next game and that should be as far as anybody is looking right now.