DUEL BEGINS FOR ORIENT MARKSMEN
LEYTON Orient manager Ian Hendon enjoyed watching his hit-men fire at the first opportunity this season as they beat Barnet.
Second-half goals from Jay Simpson and Paul McCallum two minutes apart handed the home side the victory and helped banish the memories of last season’s relegation.
And Hendon, who was appointed as manager in May, following Fabio Liverani’s departure, believed his side were fully deserving of the three points.
He said:“We knew exactly what to expect and they had some good chances in the first-half.
“It was a team performance at the end of the day and we came through that little period of pressure and second half I thought we looked the much better side.
“The goals were taken very well, Paul has been on fire in pre-season and Jay’s been a little bit quieter, but I think it will probably be Jay that gets the goals and Paul will take a bit of a back seat but it was nice that they both got one each.
“It was great to see the good support today, it was a good performance and I hope everyone comes back next time around.”
The home side missed the first big opportunity through debutant McCallum after seven minutes, as the forward chipped the ball agonisingly wide with Barnet keeper Graham Stack caught in no man’s land.
Ten minutes later Barnet went close after John Akinde bullied his way past Mathieu Baudry, before picking out Michael Gash, who inexplicably sidefooted the ball wide when it looked easier to score.
Moments later Akinde forced Alex Cisak into a good stop, before picking out skipper Curtis Weston, who headed over from close range.
Orient started the second half extremely brightly, with Simpson forcing an excellent stop from Stack, before McCallum diverted the rebound into the side-netting.
On 70 minutes, they produced the best move of the game. Neat inter- play between Dean Cox and Bradley Pritchard led to an opening for Simpson, whose well struck shot whistled narrowly wide of the far post.
However, their pressure finally came to fruition, as Simpson acrobatically volleyed home from Dean Cox’s cross, after an excellent freeflowing move on the right wing.
And just two minutes later they doubled their advantage, McCallum getting the better of his man in the air before finishing clinically inside the six-yard box.
Despite tasting defeat on his return to the football league, Barnet manager Martin Allen was delighted with his player’s efforts against a side who were two divisions higher than them last season.
He said:“Fair play to [Orient], they came back into it in the second half and had two chances and got two goals.
“Overall it’s a massive step up from 16 months ago when I first came to Barnet – when we were outside playoff positions – so it’s a very proud day for me.
“Some of these players have been with me since the beginning so to see them out there, in front of a great crowd playing against some good Orient players on this stage, is what we aimed for 16 months ago and I’ve said well done to every one of them for their effort and commitment.
“On another day if those chances in the first-half go in, we win that game and that’s against a team that I would imagine will be in the top four, so it was a great test for us today and I think we acquitted ourselves very well.”
ALL OVER: Paul McCallum scores the second goal for Leyton Orient