Orient made it three home wins in a row with Saturday's 1-0 win over Wrexham AFC at The Matchroom Stadium.
Macauley Bonne's first half header made sure of three points as the visitors never looked to threaten the O's goal, while James Brophy and David Mooney went close to doubling the lead late in the second half.
Head Coach Justin Edinburgh made two changes to the side who began the 1-0 defeat to Hartlepool United on Tuesday night. Myles Judd and Dan Happe came into the defence in place of Joe Widdowson and George Elokobi as the O’s lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
In the reverse fixture in North Wales on October 28th, Orient and Wrexham took a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw. Chris Holroyd nodded the hosts ahead inside the first minute, before Macauley Bonne equalised midway through the first half. Holroyd notched his brace with twenty minutes to play, only for Mark Ellis’ late header to salvage a point for the O’s.
The visitors got the game underway on a glorious afternoon in E10. Orient started brightly with Josh Koroma looking lively, he registered the O’s first attempt on goal which comfortably trickled into the hands of Chris Dunn in the Wrexham goal.
Moments later, the O’s were denied an opener when Dan Happe’s looping header was clawed away by Dunn who came to Wrexham’s rescue. Orient were on the front foot in the early stages, keeping possession well and looking to use the width of the pitch to find a breakthrough.
Wrexham’s first opportunity of the match arrived on 13 minutes when Manny Smith’s header flew harmlessly over Dean Brill in the Orient goal. The O’s had done well to restrict the Red Dragons to few chances in the opening quarter of an hour.
With nearly twenty minutes on the clock, Myles Judd picked out Jobi McAnuff with a brilliant cross-field ball but the captain’s long-range drive sailed into the stands. Soon after, McAnuff received the first booking of the game but the resulting free-kick came to nothing for Wrexham.
On 29 minutes, Orient broke the deadlock courtesy of top scorer Macauley Bonne. McAnuff advanced down the right side before curling the ball into Bonne who guided his header across goal and into the bottom corner to give the O’s a 1-0 lead.
Then, Jack Mackreth became the first Wrexham name to go into the referee’s notebook after catching Ebou Adams late just in front of the dugouts. Orient had the momentum and could have doubled their lead when James Brophy’s cross found Bonne whose header was straight at Dunn.
Orient remained organised and resilient ensuring they took a one-goal lead into the break. The O’s could reflect on strong defensive display and would be pleased to have edged ahead in a close first 45 minutes.
Just two minutes after the restart, the ball dropped to Marvin Ekpiteta in space on the edge of the box but his shot rolled kindly into the grateful arms of Dunn. At the other end, Joe Quigley’s mazy run down the left came to nothing as he blazed his effort wide of the mark before Adams was booked for a foul in the build-up.
Wrexham had energy and aggression in their approach as they went in search of an equaliser. The physical and competitive edge to the match was beginning to show as the next goal would be crucial in dictating the tone for the remainder of the game.
With the hour mark approaching, Brophy continued to cause problems for Wrexham with his quick feet and trickery. He evaded his marker with a neat turn before drilling a low shot that was blocked. Then, Koroma weaved his way into the area and let fly forcing a smart save from Dunn who pushed the ball away for a corner.
On 65 minutes, Brophy and McAnuff combined well in the penalty area before the latter saw his shot blocked and roll behind for a corner which came to nothing. Then, Paul Rutherford found himself through on goal for the visitors only to be crowded out by a combination of Ekpiteta and Judd.
Wrexham had another chance to equalise on 76 minutes when Marcus Kelly found himself with space inside the area but turned and fired his effort over the bar. At the opposite end, Koroma ran at the visiting defence before miscuing his effort wide of the target.
It was going to be a tense final ten minutes with only a single goal separating the two sides. Wrexham were piling players forward while Orient had to maintain their concentration and resist the pressure.
However, the O’s looked to use the counter attack effectively as substitute David Mooney found himself one-on-one with Dunn who got down well to deny the striker’s effort. Defensively, Orient were mostly behind the ball with Bonne and Mooney staying up to provide options on the break.
In the final moments of the game, Charlie Lee made his return to first team action having been sidelined since mid-August through injury. He was greeted with a warm reception from the O’s faithful as Brophy made way and three minutes of stoppage time were announced.
Despite Wrexham’s best efforts, Orient were able to see the game out to secure their third consecutive home league victory.
ORIENT: Brill, McAnuff (C), Bonne, Judd, Koroma, Ekpiteta, Clay, Happe, Brophy (Lee 90’), Adams (Mooney 73’), Ling.
SUBS: Grainger, Clayden, Reynolds.
BOOKED: McAnuff (23’), Adams (50’), Judd (75’)
GOALS: Bonne (29’)
WREXHAM: Dunn, Jennings, Smith, Pearson, Mackreth (Wright 67’), Wedgbury, Quigley, Rutherford, Kelly, Roberts, Boden (Ainge 71’)
SUBS: Raven, Deverdics, Dibble.
BOOKED: Mackreth (31’), Roberts (88’)
ATTENDANCE: 5,166 (655 Wrexham)
REFEREE: Samuel Allison