Orient stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches after a 3-1 victory over Barnet at the Breyer Group Stadium this afternoon.
Head Coach Justin Edinburgh named an unchanged starting eleven for the seventh consecutive match. Meanwhile, Dale Gorman returned to the bench following international duty in place of Alex Lawless.
Barnet, in their all blue strip, got the game underway on ‘Retro Day’ at the Breyer Group Stadium. However, it was Orient who started the brightest with captain Jobi McAnuff forcing an early save from Mark Cousins in the visiting goal.
Orient were growing in confidence which was evident when Josh Koroma’s curling effort from range was tipped round the post by Cousins. From the resulting corner, Macauley Bonne’s flicked header at the near post was deflected behind for another corner that came to nothing.
At the other end, Barnet produced some neat link-up play before the ball came to Josh Walker who blazed his effort harmlessly over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
Then, Orient succeeded in breaking the deadlock on 11 minutes thanks to Josh Coulson. McAnuff chipped a free-kick towards the back post to an unmarked Charlie Lee, who nodded the ball across goal for Coulson to smash home from close-range.
With the wind in their sails, Orient should have doubled their lead on 19 minutes but for the heroics of Cousins. McAnuff delivered a delightful cross from the right that was attacked by Bonne whose downward header was clawed away by the Barnet goalkeeper.
However, Barnet were quick to make Orient pay when they equalised on 24 minutes. Wes Fonguck received the ball on the edge of the box before drilling his shot into the bottom right corner beyond Dean Brill to level the contest at 1-1.
It had been an entertaining first half hour of this London derby with chances and goals for both teams. Orient were buoyed by their opening goal but had taken their foot of the gas slightly since Barnet’s equaliser.
Orient were keeping possession comfortably in the build-up to half-time and could have re-taken the lead, however Joe Widdowson was unable to connect cleanly with McAnuff’s corner.
In response, Barnet won a free-kick in a dangerous position to the left of the penalty area but Cheye Alexander curled his effort over seeing the teams go into half-time all square.
Orient got the second half underway with purpose as Koroma flashed a teasing low ball across the box, while Fonguck’s shot was comfortably saved by Brill at the other end.
With an hour played, the O’s made a double switch with Gorman and James Alabi coming on for Lee and Koroma respectively as Orient went chasing a second goal.
On 67 minutes, Orient did re-gain the lead when Craig Clay fed the ball into James Dayton who cut in from the right side of the penalty area before curling an exquisite left-footed shot into the far corner beyond a helpless Cousins.
Momentum was firmly with the O’s at this stage and the crowd were in full voice as Orient looked to extend their lead further. Once again, Dayton was left in plenty of space on the right as he breached the penalty area and drilled a low shot wide of the far post.
Having seen a few chances go amiss, the O’s netted a third goal on 78 minutes through Bonne. McAnuff skipped past a challenge near the byline before picking out Bonne whose first attempt came back off the post, but the striker was alert to hammer home the rebound.
Since coming onto the pitch, Alabi had been heavily involved in the action and should have added his name to the scoresheet but dragged his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
With only a few minutes to play, Orient made their final change of the game as Matt Harrold replaced goal scorer Bonne in a like-for-like switch in attack.
Orient saw out four minutes of additional time to secure all three points and extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches.
ORIENT: Brill, Judd, Coulson, Ekpiteta, Widdowson, McAnuff (C), Lee (Gorman 60’), Clay, Dayton, Koroma (Alabi 60’), Bonne (Harrold 87’)
SUBS: Sargeant, Happe.
GOALS: Coulson (11’), Dayton (68’), Bonne (78’)
BARNET: Cousins, Alexander, Johnson, Robson (C), Adams, Taylor, Fonguck (Kyei 79’), Walker (Mason-Clark 65’), Tutonda (Payne 69’), Sweeney, Barham.
SUBS: Matrevics, Sparkes.
BOOKED: Walker (42’)
GOALS: Fonguck (24’)
REFEREE: Peter Gibbons
ATTENDANCE: 5,607 (610 Barnet)