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Great night for Hartlepool United and Matthew Bates as National League safety is confirmed, but one to forget for Leyton Orient

PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 April 2018

Leyton Orient centre back George Elokobi clears the ball forward despite close attention from Ebbsfleet United forward Danny Kedwell (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient centre back George Elokobi clears the ball forward despite close attention from Ebbsfleet United forward Danny Kedwell (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

Justin Edinburgh was sent to the stands at Victoria Park while George Elokobi and James Brophy came off with injuries during the 1-0 loss

Leyton Orient’s five-match unbeaten run in the National League came to an end on Tuesday night after the O’s lost 1-0 at Hartlepool United.

Justin Edinburgh’s team were looking to boost their chances of finishing in the top-half with a win at Victoria Park, but suffered a bad night in the North East.

Louis Laing’s 39th-minute header handed the Monkey Hangers all three points while George Elokobi and James Brophy came off with injuries and Orient’s head coach was also sent to the stands late on for hitting the dugout.

The O’s started strongly despite the long trip as first Brophy tested Scott Loach before Josh Koroma went through on goal, but he could only fire wide.

It would prove costly as six minutes before half time, the visitors failed to defend a free kick into the area and Laing managed to head over Dean Brill to open the scoring.

Elokobi was forced off just before the break with a thigh injury and Brophy come off at half time because his hamstring was causing him problems.

Dan Happe and Lamar Reynolds replaced the pair and the former nearly levelled when he smashed an effort against the crossbar following a Jobi McAnuff free kick in the 53rd minute.

Reynolds and Macauley Bonne both had efforts off target before the game went into the final 10 minutes.

Further opportunities were created as McAnuff saw a shot deflect wide before O’s top goalscorer Bonne had an effort go over and more drama ensured before full time.

Marvin Ekpiteta’s header looked destined for the net, but Pools Josh Hawkes got back to clear and the result means Hartlepool will play in the National League again next season.

Caretaker boss Matthew Bates told Pools PlayerHD: “I feel pride, relief and like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

“It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes you can’t be pretty and I thought defensively we were outstanding, especially in the second half.

“I want to give a special mention to Louis; it’s funny how football works but I am pleased that he is the one that popped up with the winning goal that ultimately keeps us in the division.

“I’m proud of the lads, I thought they were brilliant and I don’t think you can underestimate what they have had to put up with in the last few months.”

While Hartlepool were able to celebrate safety, Orient were left to rue missed chances and they are now four points off 12th-place with only three league games left.

Factor in the injuries to Elokobi and Brophy and it ended up being a night to forget in the North East and has halted some of the O’s momentum ahead of hosting Wrexham at Brisbane Road this weekend.

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