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O’s legend Kitchen impressed with the balance of National League high-flyers

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 November 2018

Josh Coulson celebrates scoring for Leyton Orient against Havant & Waterlooville with a 'Baby Shark' celebration (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Josh Coulson celebrates scoring for Leyton Orient against Havant & Waterlooville with a 'Baby Shark' celebration (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Simon O'Connor Photography

The 66-year-old, who helped produce ‘The Greater Game’ play, praised the work of Justin Edinburgh

Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta holds off Hartlepool United forward Niko Muir (pic: Simon O'Connor).Leyton Orient's Marvin Ekpiteta holds off Hartlepool United forward Niko Muir (pic: Simon O'Connor).

Leyton Orient are second in the National League table after 19 games and legendary forward Peter Kitchen believes a big part of their success is the balance in Justin Edinburgh’s team.

All over the pitch there seems to be strong relationships formed, with Marvin Ekpiteta and Josh Coulson solid at the heart of the O’s defence.

Further forward, Craig Clay and Charlie Lee have developed a formidable partnership in the middle of the park, while up top Macauley Bonne and youngster Josh Koroma look lethal at times – a prime example the recent 4-0 win vs Havant & Waterlooville.

Kitchen, an Orient star in both the 70s and 80s, has been mightily impressed with the way the east Londoners have gone about their business so far.

“The key to a successful team is having the right balance because you need to have players who will take a backseat which brings the best out of others and this team has a good balance,” Kitchen said.

“We have Marvin at the back who has come on leaps and bounds and he looks very steady.

“We all said Orient would miss George Elokobi, but Marvin has stepped in and has made the role his own now.

“Josh is alongside Marvin and they compliment each other very well, but in midfield I think there is more to come because James Brophy is one of the best players we have got and he has not shown his best form yet.

“He has had a few injuries, but if he can get a run and more consistency it will help and up front Macauley is doing well and scoring lots of goals, so things are looking good for Orient.”

The O’s have caught the eye at both ends of the pitch this season with 37 goals scored in 19 games – the joint-second best in the league behind Harrogate Town – while in defence they have only conceded 11 times, which is the third best in the division.

It is a stark contrast to when Edinburgh took over on November 29 with the club on a 15-match run without a National League win.

Kitchen, who scored over 50 times for Orient in two spells, added: “Justin halted the slide last season and steadied us down and we have some very good players who are capable of taking us back into the Football League and playing at that level.

“The only thing with the National League is the results are very erratic. We beat Havant 4-0 and they beat Maidenhead United 7-0 a few days later, so I think that shows there is still a lack of professionalism at some teams.

“Once you get higher up the leagues you don’t see that, but Orient are playing well as a team, keeping it tight at the back and also scoring goals and that is a combination which will bring success.”

Given Kitchen was part of the O’s side which reached the FA Cup semi-finals in the 1977/78 season, he is well placed to talk about what makes a squad tick.

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