O's fire warning shot to chasing pack with another win
PUBLISHED: 21:54 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 21:54 12 March 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
National League: Aldershot Town 1 Leyton Orient 2
A brace from Josh Coulson helped Leyton Orient move three points clear at the top of the National League table following a 2-1 win at Aldershot Town this evening.
The O’s fifth victory in a row occurred only after a nervy finale, much like all of their games recently, but Justin Edinburgh and his squad didn’t care come full time.
Having clinched an important win on Saturday, Orient had backed it up impressively and this month they have started to look like potential league championship winners, although there is still nine crucial matches still to go.
Edinburgh made two changes to the team which saw off Wrexham by a 1-0 score last weekend with Jamie Turley on the bench and Jay Simpson missing out with a slight hamstring injury.
Replacing them was Coulson and Matt Harrold, but after only five minutes O’s were forced to make another switch.
Jordan Maguire-Drew suffered an injury and was replaced by James Brophy and it was the Shots who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.
It remained goalless, however, and in the 34th minute the deadlock was broken by the division leaders.
Substitute Brophy whipped a corner into the area and Coulson was on hand to power home a header for his fourth goal of the season.
Almost as soon as the celebrations in Hampshire had stopped, Orient forced another corner and the result was the exact same as minutes earlier.
Brophy produced a dangerous delivery and ex-Cambridge United favourite Coulson got up highest to nod into the net and cap a fine return to the starting XI.
O’s managed to threaten some more before half time, but it remained 2-0 at the break with Edinburgh’s team on course to go four points clear of Wrexham.
Shots piled the pressure on at the beginning of the second period, yet the away side stood firm and seemed to have seen off the initial onslaught.
However, with 19 minutes left the hosts were awarded a penalty when Scott Randell was brought down inside the area by Marvin Ekpiteta.
The same man dusted himself down and beat Dean Brill from 12-yards to set up yet another tense finale for Orient.
Aldershot pushed men forward and Brill was called into action several times, but the visitors held on for another pivotal victory.
O’s fifth consecutive win sends them three points clear at the summit with Solihull Moors in second on 70 points.
It caps another superb week for Edinburgh’s team and they will now switch focus to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy, with the first leg at home to AFC Telford United on Saturday.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe; Ling, Clay, McAnuff ©, Widdowson; Maguire-Drew (Brophy 5); Bonne, Harrold (Dayton 80).
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Turley, Gorman.
Attendance: 1,989 (729 Leyton Orient supporters