A game of two headers. Josh Coulson’s early glace and Matt Harrold’s late power-header secured the points at The Breyer Group Stadium.
Orient got the game underway and attacked from the whistle. Jordan Maguire-Drew’s corner kick was short to Jobi McAnuff who crossed for Josh Coulson to flick into the top corner giving the O’s the lead just two minutes into play.
Orient looked good and our next chance fell to Maguire-Drew himself, he attempted to find the top corner of the net on the turn following Joe Widdowson’s cross but James Belshaw was equal to the left-footed shot.
Macauley Bonne thought he had doubled our lead after 20 minutes, he turned Maguire-Drew’s shot into the back of the net but for the flag on the far side signalling the forward’s offside position.
After a frantic start the game settled down and Harrogate saw much more of the ball inside our half, but the back line stood strong as the visitors’ only attempt came from he head of Mark Beck which Dean Brill caught with ease.
There were only three minutes left of the first-half to play when Maguire-Drew was tripped up by Josh Falkingham as we countered a Harrogate defence which was tight on numbers.
McAnuff and Josh Koroma stood over the resulting free-kick and it was the captain to take the kick but the ball missed the target by inches.
The visitors saw a shot saved by Brill when Jordan Thewlis took aim from distance as the O’s went in ahead at the break.
Orient started the second-half well and had the first after the restart, Koroma chopped onto his left-foot inside the box but fizzed an effort into the stand behind the target.
Harrogate had a huge opportunity to draw level when Thewlis beat the offside-trap, rounded Brill but thankfully struck the post after he took a few too many touches. James Brophy was in the right place at the right time to clear the danger.
Matt Harrold was introduced in-place of Maguire-Drew who this afternoon, made his first start since returning from injury at Aldershot town earlier this season.
Harrold was involved straight away, he headed Brophy’s corner just wide of the far post as we looked to add a cushion to our lead.
With 20 minutes left to play a corner saw our centre-back pairing link up inside the Harrogate box. Dan Happe’s cross dropped to Ekpiteta at the back post, he lined-up a shot but saw Belshaw stretch out a strong right hand to deny us.
Next to try his luck was forward Josh Koroma, he flashed a shot over from distance and that proved to be his final contribution as Jamie Turley was introduced as his replacement.
A minute of normal time remained when Thewlis had the chance to level the scores again, he similarly rounded Brill and got his shot off quickly but for a wonderful sliding challenge by Coulson to keep us in the lead.
Two minutes into injury time saw Harrold rise highest from Brophy’s corner to powerfully head home and double our and keep us top of the league after a convincing display in E10.
ORIENT: Brill, Widdowson, Coulson, McAnuff, Clay, Bonne, Maguire-Drew (Harrold 64), Happe, Brophy, Koroma (Turley 77), Ekpiteta
SUBS: Sargeant, Lee, Simpson
BOOKED: Happe (36), Clay (39)
GOALS: Coulson (2), Harrold (90+1)
HARROGATE: Belshaw, Falofield, Senior (Leesley 82), Falkingham (C), Howe, Burrell, Emmett (Muldoon 74), Beck (Knowles 79), Thewlis, Kerry, Kitching
SUBS: Thomson, Cracknell
BOOKED: Falkingham (42), Howe (83), Thewlis (90)
REFEREE: Marc Edwards
ATTENDANCE: 6,665 (160)