Leyton Orient chief Justin Edinburgh watched his in-form side take a huge step towards claiming the Vanarama National League title — and then offered some words of encouragement to the players who have taken the Brisbane Road outfit to the brink of glory.
Ex-Tottenham Hotspur defender Edinburgh saw his charges go two points clear at the top of the pile but with two games in hand over second-placed Solihull Moors on 74 points, Salford City in third position with 73 points and Wrexham, sitting in fourth spot, with 72 points.
They go again on Saturday when they travel to capital rivals Barnet in search of another three points and they stay in London again on Tuesday when they are on the road at Bromley. But it was in against title rivals AFC Fylde that they enjoyed their latest success with a 2-0 triumph on Tuesday.
The home side gained an advantage after 16th minute when defender Marvin Ekpiteta headed in from a Jobi McAnuff corner before hitman Macaulay Bonne made it 2-0 shortly afterwards when he tucked away a penalty. The victory makes it an incredible eight wins on the bounce in all competitions for the Os.
And of the win, Edinburgh said: “I think it was the most important one because it was the next one, and I think that they’re someone I feel are still going for the automatic spot. It’s a big win, there is no hiding about that, and they’re one of our closest rivals. We always look a threat from set-pieces, and it’s something we pride ourselves on, and it was another one we got so that was pleasing. Macca then converted the penalty to see us through as well.”
Former Gillingham manager Edinburgh was particularly pleased with his side’s energy levels and resilience in the game, coming as it did after a 2-1 FA Trophy semi-final win over AFC Telford United with 10 men. He added: “We’ve come off the back of a tough and enduring game on Saturday where we were down to 10-men for a long period but that didn’t show in the start we had. I think our first-half performance allowed us to control the second-half and restrict Fylde to very few chances. I always felt we looked dangerous on the break.
“It was and it had to be a good defensive effort, they’re a team full of goals, the top goal scorer in the division with Danny Rowe and they’ve got other dangerous players, but we restricted them to very little. They probably only had one long range effort in the end that Dean had to save, but other than that I didn’t feel we ever looked under pressure. We knew that they’d have a fair amount of possession, but we were comfortable with that, and never felt it hurt us. We stuck together and I’m delighted with the result.”
The win aforementioned over AFC Telford will see the Os go to Wembley for the final on May 19 – where they will play, you guessed it, AFC Fylde.