O’s have to think late equaliser will make difference, says Harrold

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 April 2019

Leyton Orient forward Matt Harrold manages to deflect the ball into the corner to equalise against Halifax Town (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient forward Matt Harrold manages to deflect the ball into the corner to equalise against Halifax Town (pic: Simon O'Connor).

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The former Crawley Town forward dedicated his leveller for Leyton Orient against Halifax Town to his late Grandad

Leyton Orient striker Matt Harrold wants his goal in the 2-2 draw at home to Halifax Town on Saturday to be the clincher in the race for the National League title.

Justin Edinburgh’s team appeared to be heading for back-to-back defeats before the O’s substitute made his mark in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Harrold’s goal – his sixth of the campaign in all competition – sparked jubilant scenes in east London and helped Orient remain just a point behind leaders Salford City, but crucially with a game in hand still.

If they can win at home to Eastleigh later today, Saturday’s memorable equaliser will feel a significant moment and that is how the O’s squad are viewing it.

“We have to think that goal will be the one which wins us the title,” Harrold said. “In the dressing room we have that much belief in each other that we don’t see this result as a huge setback.

“Obviously we wanted to win the game and it was a game we easily could have won, but we haven’t lost and we have ended on a positive.

“We have showed good character to come back from two goals down. We have also had a few injuries which have killed our rhythm of late, but we will keep going until the end.”

The goal for Harrold meant a bit more than usual to him as well given his Grandad passed away last week.

After coming on with 13 minutes to go, the former Southend United striker always felt he could make a difference.

Harrold explained: “It has been a bit of a tough week. My Grandad passed away, he was 97 and I was quite close to him, so I always fancied if I got a chance something might go in.

“You get feelings like that and it went for me and it was lovely to see it roll in off about three ricochets, but I’ll claim it.”

Over the last few months Harrold has really made an impact for boss Edinburgh and his goals have proved crucial.

There are now strong calls for him to start against Eastleigh instead of Jay Simpson or Macauley Bonne and no one could have predicted that back in February.

It has been quite the turnaround for the local footballer, who was born in Leyton and attended Trinity Catholic High School in Woodford.

Upon signing for Orient in August 2017, Harrold set out trying to be part of a title-winning team and while it took longer than expected, under Edinburgh O’s have flourished.

The forward, once of Southend United, has not always been flavour of the month with fans, but recently has turned around some of his detractors.

Injuries have badly affected his time in east London, in particular the hamstring issue he suffered towards the end of last season, yet that is now in the past.

Harrold added: “I would like to think I am showing my worth now, but it has not always been easy. We have a strong squad and that is one of our strengths, that the manager has a big group of players to pick from and a competitive group.

“I had quite a serious injury at the end of last season and it took me a while to get going, but the gaffer was really honest with me.

“He admitted I probably come back quicker than the club thought and that I just had to keep training hard. I did that and I never wanted to leave or anything like that.

“I always felt I could have an impact and I am a bit more experienced now. I am at an age where I know what I can do and I know what I can bring on the pitch and I know I am always ready when needed.

“Something I’ve always understood is I am ready if I am not starting, so I don’t sulk and I just try to read the game and have an impact when I come on.

“I can do that for a few more years yet as well as start games and it is about having an impact when you get a chance and staying focused.”

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