Defender Josh Coulson was delighted to mark his return to action with a goal in the O’s 2-1 FA Trophy victory at Haringey Borough on Saturday.
The Orient loanee made his first appearance since September 23 following a groin injury, and popped up with a 58th minute equaliser to register his first goal for the O’s before Matt Harrold scored with his first touch to send the O’s into the Second Round.
“It was a tough game but great to be back out there with the lads. To then get the goal made it pretty much the perfect comeback,” Coulson told leytonorient.com.
“I couldn’t have written the script any better either given that I scored with my final touch. The plan was always to play 60 minutes, and it felt good to get the minutes under my belt.”
Following a slow start to the game at Coles Park, Orient fell behind to Michael Ademiluyi’s fifth minute opener before going into the interval a goal down. Despite admitting to being frustrated during the break, Coulson praised the sides improved display in the second half.
“We knew Haringey would come flying out the traps and they did exactly that by getting the early goal. It was a disappointing start but we have got a good squad here and with the team the Gaffer picked we all felt that there would be chances in the second half. It was about remaining calm when in possession and not forcing the play, and fortunately after the break we got the response that we required.
“We showed good character during the second half to get the two goals, and at the end of the day it is a cup competition so it was pleasing to book our place in the next round,” he explained.
Having started well after the interval, the O’s finally levelled the tie just short of the hour mark as Coulson volleyed home from a corner before heading straight to the medical staff in the dugout.
Speaking about the celebration, Coulson was full of praise for the O’s medical department and in particular Head Physiotherapist Ketan Patel and Sports Therapist Melvin Hancock for their help during his rehabilitation programme.
“I must admit I don’t score too many goals like that, but I was really pleased with the finish! Having made the run to the back post the floodlight did blind me a little bit, but as soon as I saw the ball I just wanted to connect cleanly and it was good to see it hit the back of the net.
“It was then nice to celebrate with the staff because they have had to put up with me for all this time. Before the game Ketan said that he fancied me to mark my return with a goal, so I agreed that if I did I would go over to them. Ketan and Melvin have been brilliant with me over the past few months and look after us all.
“The medical staff don’t always get the credit they deserve as a lot of their work goes unnoticed, but they are great guys and I am extremely grateful for their support.”
With his first appearance now out of the way, the 28-year-old is keen to build on his Haringey appearance during the Christmas period and make up for lost time.
“I’m looking forward to the Christmas period but it is still a case of seeing what happens with the amount of minutes I can play. I will be working as hard as I can, but any decision will be down to the Gaffer and I am focussed on helping the team build on the previous two victories in the hope of registering some more positive results.
“I’ve loved being here and now feel that I owe the Club to make up for the time I have been out injured. This is a great place to be and everyone has been so supportive from the first minute I arrived, so I will be doing everything I can to help.”