Vintage performance by O’s downs struggling Hawks and sends them top
- Credit: Archant
National League: Leyton Orient 4 Havant & Waterlooville 0
A sensational first half from Leyton Orient helped them record a comprehensive 4-0 win over Havant & Waterlooville at the Breyer Group Stadium which sent them back up to first spot in the National League table.
Justin Edinburgh’s men were a class apart throughout, but especially in the opening 45 when they scored three times through Josh Coulson, an own-goal and Charlie Lee.
Macauley Bonne, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Friday, got on the scoresheet in the second period too on another great day for the east London club.
Edinburgh made five changes after the 2-0 loss at Maidstone United in the FA Cup last weekend.
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Myles Judd, Craig Clay, James Dayton, captain Jobi McAnuff and Josh Koroma all returned to the starting XI while James Brophy, Dan Happe and Dale Gorman had to settle for a place on the bench.
Alex Lawless and Matt Harrold, both of whom featured from the off in Kent, were not included in the 16-man squad as the O’s boss made several changes with the focus back on the league once again.
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The main people behind ‘The Greater Game’ play and the cast were presented to the home crowd before kick-off on a cold, chilly day in east London.
After defending an early free kick, Orient set about trying to make inroads into the away defence, but no genuine chances were created in the opening 10 minutes.
There was a stoppage during the aforementioned period after Lee clashed heads with Hawks captain Brian Stock, but the former Gillingham midfielder was able to resume.
Dayton had an effort with 11 on the clock, but he failed to trouble the goal of Ben Dudzinski as his shot flew well wide.
It offered the home fans some encouragement, however, and two minutes later they were celebrating.
Dayton was again involved and his wicked delivery from a free kick near the touchline took a touch and although Lee’s diving header was denied by Dudzinski, Coulson was on hand to tap home for his second goal of the campaign.
Havant did try to respond and Ibra Sekajja saw a deflected shot from outside the area saved comfortably by Dean Brill, but Orient were brimming with confidence now.
Edinburgh’s side were fizzing the ball about with pace and precision and the visitors simply couldn’t cope.
It should have been 2-0 in the 16th minute when Lee’s long throw was flicked on by Coulson and after Bonne made a nuisance of himself, Will Wood could only head to Koroma, but the teenager dragged his volley wide from 10-yards.
The chances kept on coming for Orient and good pressing from Koroma saw the ball come for McAnuff and he found Judd, who saw a cross blocked behind for another corner.
O’s had looked dangerous from set-pieces so far and this one produced the second goal of the afternoon.
McAnuff’s delivery was superb and although Bonne didn’t get a touch, his presence put off Theo Lewis and the Havant midfielder could only divert the ball past the away goalkeeper for an own-goal.
After 18 minutes, Orient were in cruise control, but after failing to score in their last two games in E10, the 1-0 loss to Sutton United and the 0-0 draw with Hartlepool United, they seemed desperate to get more goals.
McAnuff and Bonne played a one-two and the latter curled over in the 20th minute after good play earlier by Sam Ling and Clay to win the ball back.
The O’s had to wait until the 28th minute to create their next real opportunity, but it was more scintillating football.
Captain McAnuff burst into the area and found Koroma, who teed up Clay, but the central midfielder saw a low effort tipped wide by Dudzinski.
Havant couldn’t live with Orient, but did try to threaten in the 29th minute when Sekajja ran at the home defence, but Marvin Ekpiteta slide in superbly to win the ball back and help get the hosts’ on the front foot.
Koroma showed a glimpse of his skill with 33 on the clock when he produced a classy drag back inside the area, but his cut back for Bonne evaded the forward and a potentially wonderful goal went amiss.
Orient were winning by two, but their play deserved more goals and Lee helped give the sccoreline some deserved gloss in the 39th minute.
The midfielder, who had already impressed alongside Clay, won the ball back near the centre circle, burst forward and although he had Dayton to his right, he went alone and produced a thunderous strike from 30-yards which nestled into the bottom corner.
It was a fantastic goal and, like Coulson also, his second of the season and gave O’s an excellent cushion.
Lee Bradbury’s Hawks did have a chance to pull one back on the stroke of half time, but Lewis headed Brian Stock’s cross over from six-yards when unmarked.
Soon after referee Martin Woods brought the first 45 to a close and it ended a simply brilliantly first half for Orient.
The visitors made a change at the break, bringing on Alex Bradley for Sekajja, but it failed to affect the tide of the game.
More lovely play put Dayton through and he looked to poke into the bottom corner, but Dudzinski saved impressively, although referee Woods bizarrely awarded a goal kick instead of a corner in the 49th minute
Three minutes later and Koroma showed more skill out wide to beat his man and his cut back for Dayton saw the winger get a shot off, but Havant’s goalkeeper saved well again and this time a set-piece was given.
It seemed only a matter of time before Orient grabbed a fourth and in the 57th minute they were inches away from doing so.
McAnuff and Koroma linked up again and Clay found Bonne, who turned on the afterburners to race into the area and he unleashed a brilliant strike which hit the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.
Everyone in an O’s shirt were enjoying themselves and especially Koroma, who was giving Tyler Cordner a torrid time, and he sold the Havant defender another dummy in the 59th minute, but his cross-cum-shot just missed Dayton.
Another chance had gone begging, but on the hour mark the fourth arrived and what a goal it was.
First Bonne nutmegged an opponent before Clay went one better with a through ball which nutmegged an opponent and Bonne applied the finishing touch – drilling in at the near post to grab a goal a day after his 23rd birthday.
It was nothing less than he deserved, but the first negative of the afternoon occurred for the O’s in the 66th minute when the excellent Ling was forced off and replaced by Brophy, who went to left-back with Judd moving across to the right side of defence.
Havant began to enjoy some more joy during the middle period of the second half, but Brill wasn’t called into action too much as Orient’s back four dealt with most attacks effectively.
More substitutions were made with Gorman replacing the superb Lee in the 73rd minute before four minutes later Dayton made way for James Alabi.
Orient almost made it 5-0 when McAnuff’s free kick in the 78th minute was headed down by Coulson, but fellow defender Ekpiteta could not apply the required touch.
As the seconds ticked away at a cold Breyer Group Stadium, the O’s looked to finish with a flourish and should have grabbed another eight minutes from time.
Judd, after almost giving the ball away, won it back and found Clay, who picked out Koroma in space.
The teenager ran at the Havant back four and teed up Bonne for a chance, but the O’s hitman saw a weak low effort easily saved by Dudzinski.
Edinburgh’s team continued to probe the visitors defence and two substitutes nearly combined for a goal in the 88th minute, but Alabi fired over on the stretch after a good cross by Brophy.
Havant almost spoiled Brill’s hopes of a clean sheet on the stroke of full time when Bradley Tarbuck drilled towards goal from range, but fortunately for Orient his shot sailed just wide.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the 90 and although O’s attacked some more, they had to settle for a 4-0 win.
It is the best victory they’ve recorded at home under Edinburgh and boosts confidence ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Eastleigh.
A late goal for Chesterfield against Wrexham also meant Orient moved back up to first to cap a fantastic day for the club.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Ling (Brophy 66), Coulson, Ekpiteta, Judd; Dayton (Alabi 77), Clay, Lee (Gorman 73), McAnuff ©; Koroma, Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Happe.
Havant & Waterlooville: Dudzinski; Tarbuck, Strugnell, Harris (Huggins 85), Cordner, Wood; Cosgrove (Pavey 66), Stock ©, Lewis, Sekajja (Bradley 46); Kabamba.
Unused substitutes: Woodford, Robinson.
Attendance: 5,043 (224 Havant & Waterlooville supporters).