Blimey, that was some away day wasn’t it. A 2-0 away win in Europe to make it a club record 11 unbeaten away from home in a season. A tense 85 minutes where the O’s had to be thankful to goalkeeper Dean Brill for two key saves. Before utter delirium amongst the 603 travelling fans as MacAuley Bonne smashed home the opener only to followed up by more ecstasy when James Brophy lobbed in for the second to see Orient go four clear at the top of the National League.
Looking back, just 364 days ago Orient had just lost 3-0 away at Torquay to make it 14 games without a win, fast forward to now. Orient sit top of the tree, one loss in 21 league games and a side that has everything you want to love in it. It’s been a journey in the past year with Justin Edinburgh, but a great one at that, topped off with another win on the road today, what following Leyton Orient is all about.
Away League Record since Edinburgh’s appointment:
P23 W13 D7 L3 F35 A13 Clean Sheets – 9
On a day where every Orient fan knew that it was the biggest game of the season, 3rd vs 1st at the top of the league. Unbeaten at home vs unbeaten away, something had to give. In truth the game went with the script, Wrexham enjoying spells of possession while Orient sitting in and looking to hit on the counter.
It was cagey affair with neither side looking really threatening going forward, Wrexham’s 4-3-3 system was giving them more of the ball in the midfield and options went looking to go forward. Neither side were going to give anything away lightly but it was Dean Brill who was the first keeper into the action. Following a quick free kick in midfield, Rekeil Pyke beat the offside trap and the attention of Myles Judd but saw his effort brilliantly saved by Brill.
The O’s struggled to create going forward with MacAuley Bonne and Josh Koroma failing to keep possession to allow them to get up the pitch. Wrexham began to grow into the game but Orient’s defence was holding strong with Josh Coulson and Marvin Ekpiteta clearing from danger.
0-0 at the break, the game was only going to get tenser with neither side wanting to lose the game. Wrexham were gaining the ascendancy in the contest but were unable to test Brill. However that all changed in the 63 minute when Shaun Pearson’s free header was excellently stopped by Brill to keep Orient’s goal in tact.
Edinburgh introduced James Brophy from the bench in place of James Dayton and the former Swindon man was ready to make an impact. The diminutive winger almost created the opening goal after good work down the right, his low cross went straight across the face of the goal.
Orient were starting to find little pockets of space in attacking areas but the final ball was lacking in promising positions. As the game ticked into the final 15 minutes, Wrexham boss Sam Ricketts threw on James Jennings, Mike Fondop and Jordan Maquire-Drew in search of that precious opening goal. Jennings did go close but his header from Luke Young’s cross found the waiting arms of Brill.
The O’s have been known for striking late in games this season and they did once more on 86 minutes. A Jobi McAnuff corner was nodded down to MacAuley Bonne inside the six yard box and the prolific frontman made no mistake firing into the roof of the net to send 603 away fans wild.
The sucker-punch, away from home, against an unbeaten side, strike five minutes from time. Perfect timing, with Orient becoming the first side to lead at the Racecourse this season. Wrexham would throw everything at Orient to look to get back level but it was Josh Koroma who nearly made it two. A wonderful run down the left, saw him evade three challenges but his curling effort cannoned back of the post.
However, the O’s did strike once again after substitute James Alabai pressured a long ball forward. Rob Lainton was forced to head the ball away but only to the waiting James Brophy was calmly volleyed the ball over him and into the empty net to ensure Orient made their way back from Europe with all three points.
What more is there to say about this team. Solid at the back, clinical in attack, exactly what you need at this level. And with two home games in the coming week, Orient should be aiming to stretch their lead at the top of the league.
Bonne may get the headlines for another crucial goal but anybody who was there today, will say there was only one man for Man of the Match, Dean Brill. Two key saves at crucial times in the game, kept Orient in the game and ensured another clean sheet.
There is belief and a real desire in this group, from the players to the management team. Everyone at the club is pulling in the right direction, it’s about time Orient had something to smile about.
Tuesday’s is Orient next biggest game, home to Aldershot, same mentality, same desire, same result, we hope. All that we know is in Justin We Trust.