O’s need to arrest slump, but there is no need to panic yet
PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 January 2019
Leyton Orient v Ebbsfleet United(a)
Winning a title was never going to be easy and O’s have hit a bump in the road, but they have enough quality to get over it
Leyton Orient’s 2-0 reverse away to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday meant for the first time since December 2, 2017, they had suffered back-to-back National League defeats.
After losing 3-0 at home to Salford City on January 5, the E10 club were hoping to respond in Kent, but went down again after goals by Jack King and Chris Bush.
This is the first time Justin Edinburgh has experienced two league losses in a row at O’s and it is a big test for the leaders.
However that is the key from it all – they remain where they want to be and that’s top of the table.
Some may say it is luck because others haven’t made the most of Orient’s mixed form in recent weeks, but the table never really lies.
If O’s remain first after 30 matches then it is down to the fact they deserve to be there and with just 16 games to go, this is where calm heads are needed.
Orient have enough experience in their ranks when it comes to coaching staff and players to last the distance with just over three months to go.
Jobi McAnuff has seen it before in a title race, James Dayton is the same and Craig Clay and Josh Coulson have both gone up from this league too and all have been absent of late.
Injuries have played a big part in this slump of four losses from their last seven matches in the division with O’s spine hit hard.
Any team would miss McAnuff, Dayton, Clay, Coulson and likely player of the season Marvin Ekpiteta while Charlie Lee has been ruled out at times too.
This has contributed towards defeats against Boreham Wood, Dagenham & Redbridge, Salford City and now Ebbsfleet.
Yet even in those games Orient had chances and moments to turn the tide and a lack of quality in both areas has been costly.
Opportunities were squandered and Josh Koroma and Macauley Bonne were both marked tightly, which will be a familiar tactic.
Edinburgh must find a plan B if his two main attackers are not firing on all cylinders, but he also needs help from his squad.
People like James Brophy and Jordan Maguire-Drew must step up, especially the former, and at the other end this is a big moment for Dan Happe and one he can take.
Jamie Turley also looks a fine addition and he will be key over the coming weeks while Coulson and Ekpiteta continue to recover.
Winning a title was never going to be easy and O’s have hit a bump in the road, but they have enough quality to get over it and stay top come the end of the season.