Search

O’s shut out title rivals to return to the summit

PUBLISHED: 14:41 09 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 09 March 2019

Leyton Orient players Craig Clay, Macauley Bonne and Martin Ekpiteta celebrate a goal (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient players Craig Clay, Macauley Bonne and Martin Ekpiteta celebrate a goal (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

National League: Leyton Orient 1 Wrexham 0

Marvin Ekpiteta’s second-half strike settled a tight contest between Leyton Orient and Wrexham at the top of the National League this afternoon.

Chances were few and far between in east London, but O’s only effort on target was all they needed to clinch a vital 1-0 win in front of the BT Sport cameras.

It was the first time Orient had won a live television match in four-and-a-half years and the celebrations at the end of the 90 showed you what it meant to the hosts.

Justin Edinburgh, at such a crucial stage of the season, has got his players back on track and their fourth win in a row in all competitions was their best of the campaign to date.

Orient made one change to the side which won at Havant & Waterlooville and Barrow with Jamie Turley starting in place of Josh Coulson.

Coulson dropped to the bench with O’s no doubt protecting his fitness after only just coming back from a hamstring injury.

Elsewhere, it was much of the same for the hosts, who went with their 3-4-1-2 system up against Wrexham’s combination of 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3.

The Dragons, unbeaten in six, entered the game as leaders and brought an excellent travelling support from Wales.

It contributed towards a superb atmosphere inside the stadium and a fast start occurred with Orient forcing a corner inside 60 seconds.

Jobi McAnuff’s delivery was dangerous too and dropped for Craig Clay, who worked a yard of space, but dragged wide from 10-yards.

Plenty thought it was in, but Wrexham had survived and then started to stamp their mark on the contest.

Before they could, the visitors had to withdraw Brad Walker due to injury with Bobby Grant replacing him in the fifth minute.

Wrexham had a degree of assurance about them in the opening exchanges and after a lack of opportunities, they went close in the 20th minute.

Ekpiteta, already on a booking, allowed Ben Tollitt too much space and he took control of the ball and let fly from a tight angle, but his effort sailed just wide.

It was a good moment for the Dragons and Ekpiteta and Turley were having a tough time so far, although it remained goalless by the midway point of the half.

O’s reminded the away side of what they could do in the 24th minute as Jay Simpson whistled past two players in stunning fashion and found Maguire-Drew, yet he drilled wide on the volley.

Although Turley and Ekpiteta were struggling a touch, Orient were producing glimpses of quality in attack.

Simpson in particular was enjoying some joy and both sides had contributed towards a more quality than usual National League encounter so far.

Chances were at a premium, but O’s almost broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute and what a goal it would have been.

Occupied by two opponents, Simpson spun out of trouble wonderfully and passed out to Sam Ling and he found Macauley Bonne in the area, but he nodded wide from six-yards on the stretch.

Two minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the 45 and they went by with little to note as an absorbing half of football finished goalless.

Edinburgh’s team got the second period underway and went close again with 48 on the clock in E10.

Dan Happe picked out Ling with a fantastic crossfield pass and the wing-back come inside, but Rob Lainton came out well and bravely blocked.

The Wrexham goalkeeper picked up an injury in the process, though was able to carry on as the noise inside the ground increased.

Bryan Hughes’ team threatened again in the 53rd minute when Beavon knocked down for Tollitt, but his effort was brilliantly blocked by Ling.

Unfortunately for Ling it was one of his last involvements in the clash as he needed to come off five minutes later.

James Brophy replaced him and went to left wing-back with Widdowson switching to the right.

The substitute didn’t take long to get into the swing of things and got fans off their seats with a great run, but his final ball was lacking.

A couple of corners in quick succession added to the growing belief inside the ground, but Wrexham, to their credit, defended well.

Orient were getting closer and in the 72nd minute the breakthrough was finally made in east London.

Simpson did well, but failed to pass to Ekpiteta in space and checked back inside, but the ball fortunately ricocheted to Ekpiteta and his effort squeezed into the net.

The half volley appeared to hit the post and just about beat Lainton in the Wrexham goal, though O’s players didn’t care and celebrated wildly with their supporters.

Now it was all about whether Orient could hold on and with Happe a colossus at the back, they saw out the initial storm from the Dragons.

Matt Harrold and Coulson were introduced as the seconds ticked away in E10 before six minutes of stoppage time was added on.

It brought groans from the home supporters and Wrexham substitute Cole Stockton almost made things worst, but his fierce long-range effort was parried by Brill.

Despite more Wrexham possession, Edinburgh’s team stood up tall to the challenge and they saw the rest of the time added on out to return to the summit.

The celebrations at full time were a mixture of joy and relief. For the first time in quite a while, Orient had got over the line in a big match.

Next up for O’s is a trip to Aldershot Town on Tuesday night where they know a fifth consecutive win will keep them top.

Leyton Orient: Brill; Ekpiteta, Turley, Happe; Ling (Brophy 58), McAnuff ©, Clay, Widdowson; Maguire-Drew (Coulson 88); Bonne, Simpson (Harrold 83).

Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Gorman.

Wrexham: Lainton; Kennedy, Lawlor, Pearson ©, Jennings; Young, Walker (Grant 5); Rutherford, Wright, Tollitt (Stockton 83); Beavon (Oswell 71).

Unused substitutes: Dibble, Roberts.

Attendance: 6,643 (931 Wrexham supporters).


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Latest East London Sports News

53 minutes ago

In-form West Ham forward Michail Antonio has been ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool, but David Moyes is hopeful he will not be missing for too long.

10:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton admits they’re missing special moments without fans in the ground as they head into another hectic week.

Yesterday, 13:00

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff has backed English Football League chairman Rick Parry’s combative letter to the Government and revealed the toll on players caused by the continued absence of fans from matches.

Wed, 16:00

London Lions have added Great Britain centre Fahro Alihodzic to their roster as they approach the start of the domestic season and look to January’s FIBA Eurocup campaign.

Wed, 15:00

A programme to get more youngsters involved in outdoor sport is being started at Mile End stadium in the search for “the hockey stars of tomorrow”.

Wed, 13:00

West Ham United fan and budding journalist Kwame Boakye is feeling optimistic under manager David Moyes.

Wed, 10:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton was ‘disappointed’ that his side failed to push on after early lead as they drew 1-1 with Exeter City.

Tue, 20:55

League Two: Leyton Orient 1 Exeter City 1

PROMOTED CONTENT

Did you know? UCAS gets almost 3 million university applications from around 700,000 people each year. That’s a lot of competition. So how can your son or daughter stand out? 

With winter fast approaching, it is now more important than ever for us all to carry on following COVID-19 precautions to help stop the spread of the virus by always observing the three-tier local restrictions and remembering three key words – Hands, Face, Space.

The NHS COVID-19 app can make a real difference to how we all tackle the pandemic, protecting our loved ones and those most at risk from coronavirus. Everyone aged 16 and over across England and Wales can download the app for free and play their part in combating the pandemic.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Latest from the East London Advertiser