Leyton Orient 1 Cheltenham Town 0: Five things we learned
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
George Sessions kept a close eye on some of the things you may have missed from Saturday’s League Two opener at Brisbane Road
Leyton Orient, like they have all summer, remembered Justin Edinburgh in a perfect and poignant way on Saturday with a hard-fought victory in their first match back in League Two with several tributes occurring throughout the afternoon.
Josh Wright grabbed the winner in the 68th minute to send Cheltenham Town home pointless, but they left east London with plenty of respect.
1. Robins first of many to remember Edinburgh
Cheltenham Town's supporters group 1887 Red Army showed their class in June when they arranged for a giant flag to be created in memory of Edinburgh.
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It read 'he made you dream again' on the iconic picture of O's late head coach on the Brisbane Road pitch after the National League title had been secured.
The Robins supporters quickly reached their JustGiving page target and the perfect tribute to Edinburgh was on its way.
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Most Orient supporters got to see it for the first time on Saturday, initially on display outside the ground before it was carried around the pitch just before kick-off.
James Knight and Owen Robinson, of 1887 Red Army, had been in the capital the weekend before for O's open day, and they were back again and got to meet Charlie Edinburgh at half time.
They presented him a cheque of £1,700 for the Justin Edinburgh 3 Foundation and Cheltenham's show of class will long be remembered in E10 and no doubt they will be the first of many to pay tribute to Orient's legendary manager this season.
2. Referees are no better at this level
How many times did we moan about decisions by some of the referees in the National League last season? The quick answer is a lot!
Well, judging Saturday that theme may continue into this campaign after a below-par display by Michael Salisbury at Brisbane Road.
The referee surprisingly awarded Orient a free kick in the seventh minute when it seemed Luke Varney had been fouled by home goalkeeper Dean Brill and made more bizarre decisions after.
It sparked Cheltenham supporters letting out a big cheer midway through the first half when they had a decision go for them.
Unfortunately for the Robins that was not a sign of things to come with Varney shown a second yellow in the 70th minute for catching Marvin Ekpiteta while challenging for the ball in the air.
Things then went from bad to worse for Michael Duff's team with Rohan Ince given his marching orders for chucking at bottle at one of the officials.
Whether those two deserved to be shown red cards or not, what seems likely is that referees will continue to dominate post-match press conferences and conversations involving supporters of League Two clubs this campaign.
3. Patience will be needed with certain players
A slow start was expected from Orient after the emotion of two flags in tribute of late boss Edinburgh being taken around the pitch and then a minute's silence.
O's did in fact begin poorly and were lucky not to give away a spot-kick early on, but the team did eventually settle into the contest.
Some struggled more than others though, and were unable to show the type of quality everyone is aware they possess.
Ekpiteta and Jordan Maguire-Drew spring to mind in this category with both not at their best on Saturday.
The young duo didn't necessarily perform poorly, but just weren't at the top of their game, although they don't have a vast amount of League Two experience to boast.
Maguire-Drew has made some appearances in the division on loan, yet not many and Ekpiteta had never played in the Football League before Saturday and therefore some patience is required with them and others as they settle into a new level.
4. James Alabi above Matt Harrold in pecking order?
When interim head coach Ross Embleton turned to his bench to bring on a forward, it was James Alabi, not Matt Harrold, who got the nod.
This is in stark contrast to the second half of last season when Edinburgh went to the experienced former Crawley Town man on a number of occasions and he generally did come up with the goods.
After a strong pre-season, Alabi got a chance off the bench on Saturday and made an impression in his six-minute cameo.
For now, it suggests the ex-Tranmere Rovers forward is above Harrold in the pecking order, which continues a remarkable turnaround for the 2018 summer signing.
He was transfer-listed in May, but an excellent pre-season saw Embleton overturn the decision and Alabi is firmly part of the first-team set-up at Brisbane Road again.
5. Justin Edinburgh's legacy imprinted onto Brisbane Road walls
What Edinburgh achieved at Brisbane Road in such a short space of time has ensured he will be remembered as one of the club's great managers.
No one can argue with the job he did at Orient in merely a year-and-a-half and now his imprint on the club is official.
On the second floor stairway at O's, a collage of pictures includes legendary forward Peter Kitchen, Laurie Cunningham, John Mackie, Dean Cox and many others to have turned out for the east Londoners.
If you walk up another floor, there is now a wide picture of the whole squad and staff celebrating with the National League title.
Typically, in the corner is Edinburgh - allowing everyone else the spotlight - but he is there nevertheless and it means his imprint is officially on the walls at Brisbane Road.
Yet again this summer the club have gone about remembering their late manager in the best type of way and after Saturday, there seems no doubt they will continue to do just that on and off the pitch.