Leyton Orient secure first National League win of 2018 with crucial 2-1 victory at Halifax Town thanks to Josh Koroma’s winner
- Credit: Archant
National League: Halifax Town 1 Leyton Orient 2
Leyton Orient ended their four-game wait for a National League win with a 2-1 victory at fellow strugglers Halifax Town this evening.
Goals from Macauley Bonne and Josh Koroma earned Justin Edinburgh’s side all three points – their first success league of 2018.
The victory moves the O’s up to 17th now and five points ahead of the bottom four with 15 games left to play this season.
Edinburgh was forced to make two changes to the team which narrowly lost 3-2 at home to Aldershot Town on Saturday.
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Alex Lawless missed out due to suspension while James Dayton wasn’t part of the squad after suffering a calf injury at the weekend.
Ebou Adams replaced Lawless in the centre of midfield to make his league debut for the O’s and Koroma started on the left.
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Halifax included Michael Collins, formerly of Orient, in their starting XI and it was the hosts who got proceedings underway at the Shay.
The first chance of note went to the visitors, but Koroma could only fire straight at Sam Johnson after a quick free kick.
Billy Heath’s team responded quickly with Shaun Tuton going ever so close with an effort in the ninth minute.
Matthew Kosylo, who caused O’s problems in the previous meeting at Brisbane Road in September, was involved with quarter of an hour played, but Dean Brill was alert to stop his through ball finding Tuton.
Three minutes later and Edinburgh’s men threatened and this time they took the lead in west Yorkshire.
George Elokobi made an important tackle and the ball found its way to Dan Holman, who threaded a pass into the path of Bonne and he fired home his 17th strike of the campaign in all competitions.
Orient nearly made it 2-0 in the 21st minute when Jobi McAnuff and Clay combined before Holman saw an effort saved by Johnson.
Five minutes later and the O’s stand-in captain was involved again, as his cross found Bonne, but he could only head over.
Halifax managed to weather the storm and with the half an hour mark approaching, they slowly regained a foothold in the game.
Kosylo saw an effort fly wide after Adams had fouled Tom Denton just outside the Orient area.
The pressure from the hosts was growing and it was no surprise when they levelled the scores in the 32nd minute.
Josh MacDonald’s cross caused problems for O’s and Denton was on hand to fire in from close range, having also scored for the Shaymen in their 3-0 win in east London at the start of the season.
A stoppage in play occurred shortly after the goal, but once play resumed Orient got back on the front foot and showed their potency again.
Koroma was picked out on the left and worked a yard of space before drilling past Johnson for his second goal of the campaign.
It was a brilliant moment for the teenager and rewarded the faith placed in him by boss Edinburgh.
Halifax responded strongly with MacDonald firing wide from a decent position on the left-hand side in the 41st minute.
Collins was then involved, two minutes later, as he found Cliff Mayo and the right-backs cross briefly caused some issues for O’s before Brill claimed the loose ball.
Two minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the 45 and Halifax should have levelled moments later.
A cross from Tuton found Denton at the back post, but the tall forward tapped wide to let Orient off the hook.
Referee Peter Gibbons blew the half time whistle soon after to bring an encouraging opening 45 for the visitors to an end.
Edinburgh’s side attacked straight after the restart with Bonne and Holman looking a threat from the off.
Koroma was also proving to be a nuisance for the home back four and won O’s a free kick in the 50th minute, but McAnuff’s shot took a deflection and went wide.
Orient continued to push and probe and find interchanging between Bonne and Clay saw the former get a sight of goal, but O’s top goalscorer could only lash wide with 55 on the clock.
The same duo combined again two minutes later, but a good tackle from Moyo halted the move and it seemed to jolt Halifax back into action.
Heath’s team threatened through Kosylo on the hour mark, but Jake Caprice defended well to stop the danger.
It was all Halifax now, but Denton could only head over a MacDonald cross with the hosts now building ahead of steam.
Good defending from Elokobi, who firstly blocked a cross from the right before heading a corner clear, ensured O’s remained 2-1 ahead at the Shay with less than half an hour to go.
After riding the Halifax storm, Orient looked for their third goal of the game, but Holman was crowded out in the area with 19 minutes left.
The Cheltenham Town loanee was in the action again moments later when he played a neat one-two with Koroma, which forced a corner for the O’s.
Edinburgh saw his side fail to do much with the set-piece though, as the game entered its closing stages.
Orient perhaps should have put the game to bed with 13 minutes to go when forward duo Bonne and Holman linked up again, but the former couldn’t beat Johnson from a tight angle.
A McAnuff free kick then caused the Shaymen problems in the 80th minute, yet his delivery couldn’t find Bonne at the back post.
Tempers became heated three minutes later after a late tackle on Koroma by Halifax substitute Jake Hibbs, but both sets of players soon dispersed.
It was the east Londoners again who threatened with three minutes to go when young Koroma played Bonne in, he found McAnuff, but the skipper couldn’t beat Shaymen custodian Johnson.
The fourth official then signalled for five minutes of stoppage time, which only added to the nerves of the 133 travelling Orient supporters.
Edinburgh’s team held on though, to secure a massive three points and end their four-game wait for a league victory.
After putting his faith in Koroma, the O’s head coach was rewarded and Orient travel to Dover Athletic in the third round of the FA Trophy with renewed confidence now.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Caprice, Coulson, Happe, Elokobi; McAnuff, Adams, Clay, Koroma; Holman, Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Mooney, Moncur, Harrold, Reynolds.
Attendance: 1,352 (133 Leyton Orient supporters).