Edinburgh pleased with victory and reaction to leveller
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 March 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
The O's kept pace with their promotion rivals by triumphing 2-1 away to Havant & Waterlooville last weekend
Leyton Orient head coach Justin Edinburgh was happy to see his players respond well to conceding at Havant & Waterlooville during Saturday’s National League win.
The O’s secured a 2-1 victory despite the Hawks equalising in the 67th minute at West Leigh Park.
Jordan Maguire-Drew’s stunner handed the east Londoners a half-time lead, but Alfie Rutherford produced an equally exceptional strike to make it 1-1.
Orient were not about to drop points in the division again, though, as Josh Coulson’s header seven minutes later handed the away side a vital three points.
“We needed to get back to winning ways in the league and this is a tough place to come to and it was a hard-fought win, so it was a valuable three points and one we are delighted with,” Edinburgh told BBC Radio London.
“I was disappointed we didn’t go on and get the second goal before they equalised. It was a bit of a sucker-punch.
“We started to slightly drop deeper and deeper and too many gaps opened up between the back three and midfield and when that happens, anything can happen.
“The equaliser was probably as good as Jordan’s strike, so it was disappointing, but credit to the players for responding and getting the winning goal.”
O’s nearly went ahead early on in Hampshire, but Sam Ling was denied after a superb Joe Widdowson cross.
In a 3-4-1-2 formation, Orient got plenty of joy out wide in the opening exchanges and took a deserved lead in the 35th minute when Maguire-Drew tried his luck from 30-yards and audaciously lobbed Ben Dudzinski.
Marvin Ekpiteta nearly doubled the lead on the hour mark, but he hit the crossbar with a sliced volley and then the Hawks levelled.
Rutherford’s initial effort was blocked by Coulson, yet he smashed the rebound first-time and it flew past Dean Brill into the top corner with 67 on the clock.
Havant’s joy was shortlived, however, as minutes after Maguire-Drew had struck the crossbar, O’s went ahead again.
Ling’s throw managed to beat the man at the near post and Coulson flicked it on with enough loop and power to beat Dudzinski.
Orient now had to hold on for the final 16 minutes and they just about did, yet only after Joe Quigley had fired over and Ling had blocked a stoppage-time effort on the line before Brill was able to gather the loose ball.
By hook or crook, Edinburgh’s men had got over the line in a league game on the road and this should boost them ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Barrow.
The O’s know another away victory would see them leapfrog Solihull Moors and put some pressure on Wrexham ahead of the Dragons visit to E10 on Saturday.