Leyton Orient get off the mark in the National League with fine victory over Solihull Moors
- Credit: Archant
National League: Leyton Orient 3 Solihull Moors 1
Leyton Orient got off the mark in the National League with a comprehensive showing at home to Solihull Moors, as they secured their first points of the season with a fine 3-1 victory.
Summer signings Charlie Lee, David Mooney and George Elokobi all netted, as O’s produced a much better display compared to Saturday’s performance.
It was exactly what head coach Steve Davis would have wanted to see and delighted the 4,000 Orient fans in attendance.
Although it is early days yet, this was the type of showing many expected from a club of O’s stature.
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Davis kept faith with the team which started at Sutton United and also fielded the same substitutes.
It was a chance for those who disappointed on Saturday to redeem themselves and in front of what was set to be a big crowd.
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Fans were queuing at the ticket office over an hour and a half before kick-off with a real buzz back around Brisbane Road.
Solihull got proceedings underway with the O’s supporters making a thunderous amount of noise in E10.
It didn’t translate into a quick start with both teams cancelling each other out in the opening exchanges.
Orient’s first change of the game occurred after eight minutes, but Mooney’s long-range effort was easily saved by Connal Trueman.
Less than 60 seconds later and the fans favourite forced the first corner and Macauley Bonne brilliantly flicked on Jobi McAnuff’s delivery, but nobody could get a telling touch at the back post.
Confidence was starting to fill into the players and O’s nearly opened the scoring with 13 minutes on the clock.
Lee brought the ball forward in midfield and passed into McAnuff’s path. The Jamaican squared up to Kalern Thomas before working a yard of space and then firing an effort against the post.
It was a brilliant passage of play and a sign of things to come at Brisbane Road, as Steve Davis’ team turned it on.
Mooney was the next player to try his luck, but he lashed past the post from range after more neat build-up.
Orient were dominating and Alex Lawless got them on the front foot with 17 minutes played, as he took a quick free kick and found Bonne, who ran at the Solihull back four before drilling against the post and wide from 12-yards.
Davis would have been hoping it was only a matter of time before O’s opening their goal account in the division and he didn’t have to wait long.
McAnuff’s set-piece delivery was good again and Moors failed to clear the ball, which allowed Lee to scrappily divert the ball into the corner after 21 minutes.
Brisbane Road erupted and Orient’s first-team captain was embraced by the rest of his team-mates.
Solihull immediately looked for a reply and gave O’s a reminder of their threat five minutes after the opener.
Afolayan Oladapo drifted in between Elokobi and Joe Widdowson, but on the stretch could only volley well wide.
It was nearly 2-0 with half an hour gone though, when James Dayton struck the post with an inswinging free kick and McAnuff could only fire the rebound wide from the edge of the area.
After the disappointment of Saturday, Orient were well and truly putting it behind them with a strong showing at Brisbane Road.
They needed a second goal, however, and in the 33rd minute they really should have got it!
Elokobi powerfully won the ball in the air and Paul Green lose the flight of the ball, which saw Bonne get through on goal, but he poorly lobbed wide.
Orient had a brief moment of panic nine minutes before the break when former West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City midfielder Darren Carter produced a dangerous cross, but Oladapo’s knock-down was cleared.
As the first-half drew to a close, Solihull started to press a little bit more and were nearly given an opening in the 43rd minute.
McAnuff, who had been outstanding up to this point, looked to pass back to Grainger and fortunately O’s goalkeeper was able to win a goal kick despite pressure from the Luke Benbow.
There was still time for Orient to create another chance, as Lee passed into McAnuff and he lashed wide under pressure.
The fourth official signalled for two minutes of additional time, but Davis’ team were unable to add to their tally before the break.
As the east Londoners got the second period underway, they knew getting a second goal quickly was key and they did just that.
Bonne held the ball up magnificently around 40-yards away from Solihull’s goal and passed out to Caprice on the right.
O’s right-back took on his marker before spotting the late run of Mooney and finding the forward, who guided the ball into the net to spark wild celebrations in front of the South Stand.
It was just what Orient needed and exactly what Davis would have asked for during his half time team talk.
Despite doubling their advantage, the hosts continued to work extremely hard all over the pitch to prevent Solihull being given a potential way back into the contest.
Thomas smashed high and wide just after the hour mark before O’s took control of proceedings once again.
Mooney played a measured ball which split the Moors back four and Dayton looked set to create a tap-in for Bonne, but left-back Thomas made a stunning last-ditch tackle.
Orient went even closer to a third in the 66th minute when Caprice’s cross dropped for Bonne and he laid it for Dayton, though his effort was deflected wide.
The attacking pair combined again from the following corner with the wide man crossing in for O’s number nine, but his near post shot was stopped by Trueman.
As the match entered its final 20 minutes, Davis urged his side to keep the ball and tire out the visitors.
Craig Clay entered the fray with quarter of an hour remaining with the impressive Lee making way to a standing ovation.
Straight after the substitution Moors pulled one back slightly against the run of play when Oladapo fired in with 13 minutes left.
It briefly saw the tension increase inside Brisbane Road, but Elokobi made sure the mood was jubilant 60 seconds after the visitors goal.
Dayton produced a wonderful delivery from a corner and O’s centre back powered the ball into the corner.
Clay nearly added a fourth with 10 minutes remaining following another top set-piece, but Trueman denied him as Orient searched for more goals.
Davis made another change with three minutes remaining, as the superb McAnuff was replaced by Rommy Boco.
Oladapo should have pulled one back for Solihull on the stroke of full time after Coulson made a rare mistake, but he fired wide from a good position.
Five additional minutes were added on at the end of the 90 and there was another time for Josh Koroma to be introduced, but the full time whistle followed soon after.
It brought to a close a impressive performance from Orient and one they will look to replicate on Saturday at home to Maidstone United.
Leyton Orient: Grainger; Caprice, Coulson, Elokobi, Widdowson; Dayton (Koroma 90), Lawless, Lee (Clay 75), McAnuff (Boco 86); Mooney, Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Clark.
Solihull Moors: Trueman, Cullinane-Liburd, Green, Kelleher, Thomas (Cleary 76); Carline, Carter, Murombedzi; Oladapo, Edwards; Benbow (Dunkley 72).
Unused substitutes: Vaughan, Kettle, Tonks.
Attendance: 4,411 (97 Solihull Moors’ supporters).