Leyton Orient moved back up to second with an impressive 3-1 victory at promotion rivals AFC Fylde. MacAuley Bonne put the O’s on their way firing in his 14th of the season after four minutes before Danny Rowe levelled from distance for the Coasters. Youngster Josh Koroma put the O’s back ahead just before the break with a wonderful solo effort before striking his second six minutes after the restart to keep Orient unbeaten on their travels in the league.
Fresh from back to back wins in the past week, AFC Fylde manager made two changes to his side that beat Gateshead on Tuesday night. Luke Burke and Serhat Tasdemir came into the starting 11 as Arlem Birch and Gime Toure dropped to the bench.
After their 1-1 draw at Eastleigh in midweek, O’s head coach Justin Edinburgh made two changes to his side. Myles Judd missed out through suspension so Joe Widdowson came back in after completing his three match ban. Dale Gorman came in for his first league start with James Brophy dropping to the bench.
With both sides losing just one league match all season, they both looked to start on the front foot. With both Myles Judd and Sam Ling missing, Craig Clay deputised at right back and was caught out in the first minute. Fylde left back Zaine Francis-Angol was played in down the left side, his cross found Danny Rowe who saw his effort saved by Dean Brill.
Fylde were looking to assert themselves on the O’s but Orient had other ideas and took the lead after just four minutes. A long ball forward by Dale Gorman found Josh Koroma who shrugged off his defender and found his strike partner MacAuley Bonne. The O’s frontman made no mistake finishing beyond Jay Lynch to score the first goal against Fylde in 614 league minutes.
Justin Edinburgh’s men were dealt a blow after just nine minutes when midfielder Charlie Lee had to be replaced through injury. James Brophy replaced Lee as captain Jobi McAnuff moved into the center of the midfield. Fylde were growing into the game and enjoying large spells of possession, mostly in front of the O’s defence.
Danny Rowe, Fylde main threat, was the one to watch for Orient but the prolific frontman had other ideas. After four goals in his last three games, he made it five in four games, rifling home from 20 yards as the O’s backline afforded him so much space in midfield.
The O’s were looking to play on the break, utilising the pace of Bonne and Koroma but were affording space in the midfield. Rowe and Nick Haughton both tested Dean Brill from distance before Orient began to force their way back into the game. After a sustained period of possession, the ball was worked nicely to Dale Gorman, who shifted the ball onto his right foot, but could only curl his effort wide of the post.
With Fylde’s defence weary of Koroma and Bonne, Orient went back in front two minutes before half time. Koroma was fed the ball on the left hand side, he broke inside two Fylde defenders and toe poked the ball home, in front of the jubilant away support.
Ahead at the break, Orient would get chances in the second half, it was a matter of how clinical they would be with them. We didn’t have to wait long for the answer as Bonne pounced on a mistake at the back, playing in Koroma. The O’s youngster made no mistake finishing beyond Lynch to make Orient the first side since March to score three goals against Fylde in the League.
Fylde were rocked by Orient’s third goal but continued to enjoy the majority of possession with Orient waiting to hit on the counter attack. Clay continued to do brilliantly at right back, thwarting Rowe and Franics Angol on many occasions. The Coasters did go close when Andy Bond connecting at the back post but the ever dependable Josh Coulson cleared the danger.
Dean Brill was called into action when Serhat Tasdemir turned well on the edge of the box, but his low shot was palmed away by Brill to preserve the two goal cushion. Challinor threw Joe Cardle and Gime Toure on to try and get his side back into the game but Orient remained solid at the back, limiting Fylde to very little.
Orient continued to look a threat on the break with Marvin Ekpiteta going close with a header as time ticked away. With five minutes added on, the O’s continued to throw bodies on the line and held for an impressive 3-1 victory at Fylde who had the best defensive record in the division.
Well, what a day, what a performance, a statement from Justin Edinburgh’s men. Going to a side that had only conceded seven goals in 18 games and score three goals in 51 minutes. A side that has belief, continue to impress and shows all the signs of being a real contender at the top of the National League.
What more is there to say about this team, the center back pairing of Marvin Ekpiteta and Josh Coulson, Joe Widdowson returning, playing like he’d never been away. Dale Gorman impressing on only his second start of the season, Dayton on one wing, Brophy on the other, McAnuff in the middle. Macauley Bonne and Josh Koroma in attack.
Every player deserves a mention but for me Craig Clay, another outstanding display, at right back too. Didn’t look out of place after his initial scare, Orient’s best midfielder this season filling in at right back and once more impressing. One of the first names on the team sheet and a real stand out for the O’s this season.
A statement of intent from Orient who have now taken 10 points out of a possible 12 against the current top six, winning their last three. A result which comes five years and one day since Orient’s 3-1 victory at Peterborough in 2013. Orient are a real force this season and with a front two who continue to score Orient will have a chance. Consistency will be the key but with Edinburgh at the helm, there is no better man to be in charge of this side.
A week off next week, some time for some rest and recovery but keeping the boys chomping at the bit for the next game. Orient continue to gain momentum as they hit another key part of the season.
Sitting on the train on the way back, looking back at a 1.30am alarm for work, three hour journey to Fylde, nothing beats that feeling of an away day victory with LOFC. Only problem is what fills the void of no Orient game next week……