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O’s up to second after Ling and Simpson get off the mark

PUBLISHED: 21:47 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 21:47 05 March 2019

Leyton Orient's Sam Ling heads the ball forward (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient's Sam Ling heads the ball forward (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

National League: Barrow 2 Leyton Orient 3

Leyton Orient moved up to second in the National League table with a fantastic 3-2 win away to Barrow this evening.

A difficult encounter was expected for O’s up against a dogged outfit, but the visitors were strong defensively and clinical in attack.

Justin Edinburgh kept faith with the XI which won 2-1 at Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday and the substitutes were the same too.

Following a quiet start to proceedings in Cumbria, the deadlock was broken with 13 minutes played.

Captain Jobi McAnuff played the ball out wide to Sam Ling and his cross-cum-shot ended up in the back of the net to make it 1-0.

It was a vital goal for Orient, but they were not content there and went close through Jordan Maguire-Drew, Macauley Bonne and Dan Happe.

Barrow had opportunities too, yet the score remained the same until half time with the O’s 45 minutes away from moving up to second.

A good start after the interval was required and Jay Simpson provided it with his first goal for the club since returning in February.

Joe Widdowson produced an excellent ball forward and Maguire-Drew found former Arsenal man Simpson, who rounded Joel Dixon and made it 2-0.

The Bluebirds pushed further forward now and Orient had to defend manfully during the early part of the second period.

Happe was forced off in the 65th minute as well and Jamie Turley replaced him, and then Orient were in dreamland.

Simpson won the ball in midfield and found Bonne, and despite his slight drought in front of goal, he unselfished squared for Maguire-Drew and he smashed home.

With 21 minutes left in Barrow, Edinburgh’s men were heading for an easy win, but the hosts had other ideas.

Josh Kay let fly and his deflected effort beat Dean Brill to reduce the deficit and set up a potentially nervy finale with 71 gone.

Three minutes later and the 148 travelling supporters started to worry even more as the Orient advantage was cut again.

Barrow produced a wonderful move and Rhys Turner applied the required finish from close range to make it 3-2 with 16 minutes left.

It was now a case of whether the east Londoners could hold their nerve or not and they made changes to help get them over the line.

James Brophy and Charlie Lee were introduced as Maguire-Drew and Simpson made way with the seconds ticking away in Barrow-in-Furness.

Five minutes of stoppage time increased the tension inside the stadium, but Orient saw out the final exchanges to secure a vital victory.

It makes it back-to-back league wins for O’s and three in a row ahead of Saturday’s pivotal clash at home to leaders Wrexham.

Edinburgh’s team know a success in E10 this weekend would take them top and after a tricky start to 2019, things are falling into place again for the east London side.

Leyton Orient: Brill; Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe (Turley 65); Ling, Clay, McAnuff, Widdowson; Maguire-Drew (Brophy 77); Bonne, Simpson (Lee 85).

Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Harrold.

Attendance: 1,130 (148 Leyton Orient supporters).

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