Late Leyton Orient fight back sends them top of the National League
PUBLISHED: 21:42 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:28 10 April 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
National League: Leyton Orient 3 Eastleigh 2
Leyton Orient fought back to seal a 3-2 victory thanks to two second-half goals and move them two points clear of title rivals Salford City at the top of the National League.
The O’s found themselves 2-1 down early on as former striker Paul McCallum struck twice alongside a Josh Koroma equaliser, but Macaulay Bonne and James Brophy both found the net to seal the three points at Brisbane Road.
Head coach Justin Edinburgh made two changes from the starting line-up that drew 2-2 with Halifax Town on Saturday.
Right-back Sam Ling returned from injury and Marvin Ekpiteta was brought back in after serving his one match suspension to replace Jay Simpson and Charlie Lee.
The visitors got off to a strong start, forcing James Brophy to clear a McCallum header off the line from a Jack McKnight corner in the third minute.
Only a minute later, 25-year-old striker McCallum opened the scoring as he headed home a cross from right wing-back Josh Hare.
Orient started pressing forward and was rewarded in the 11th minute as Josh Koroma poked the ball home at the back post after a long throw-in from Sam Ling was flicked on by strike partner Macaulay Bonne.
Bonne and Koroma continued to link up this time with the club’s top goal scorer flicking the ball into space down the left flank with the later latching onto it.
The 20-year-old had his effort blocked and put out for a corner in the 18th minute.
Three minutes McCallum nabbed his second of the match as he got headed home a dangerous cross from Michael Green after the left-back had the ball laid off to him by defender Joey Jones in the 21st minute.
Academy product Koroma continued to be the focal point of attack for the hosts as he played a superb ball across the pitch for Brophy.
The former Swindon man cut inside and was brought down – rewarded Orient with a free-kick near the edge of the box.
Koroma drove the ball through the wall but his free-kick effort was denied by goalkeeper Luke Southwood.
Orient got off to the stronger start in the second-half but couldn’t break down Eastleigh’s back line in the opening minutes.
In the 57th minute a counter attack led to Brophy playing Joe Widdowson in down the left.
The left-back picked out Bonne and the Zimbabwean International turned on his marker and fires into the bottom right corner to level the score.
Four minutes the O’s made it 3-2 as Ling played a one-two with substitute James Brophy before playing the ball across the box to Brophy at the back post, who tapped it home.
The visitors Michael Green went close in the 72nd minute when he rifled a shot just wide of the left post.
Ben Strevens’ side went close once again five minutes from time when substitute Mark Yeates found McCallum inside the box, but the former West Ham youngster headed his effort over.
Orient managed to weather the storm and hang on for the vital victory.
Leyton Orient: Brill, Ling (Harrold 80), Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson, Lawless (Dayton 40), Clay, Brophy, Koroma, Bonne.
Unused subs: Sargeant, Maguire-Drew, Simpson.
Eastleigh: Southwood, Hare, Jones, Hobson, Boyce, Green, McKnight (Gobern 73), Miley (Yeates 82), Matthews, Williamson (Zebroski 82), McCallum.
Unused subs: Flitney and Dennett.