RED-HOT O’S STING BEES!
Eleven unbeaten for Edinburgh’s men as Still bemoans patchy Barnet
LEYTON ORIENT labelled the fixture Retro Day and this performance, which sent them third in the National League, was certainly a throwback to the good old days at Brisbane Road.
It wasn’t straightforward but by full-time every Orient pass was accompanied with an olé as they remain unbeaten after 11 games.
Wes Fonguck’s first-half equaliser for Barnet made sure the home side weren’t going to have it all their own way after Josh Coulson opened the scoring after 11 minutes.
But substitute James Alabi made a big impact in the second half, as James Dayton and then Macauley Bonne struck the telling blows.
“We started well and were fairly comfortable in possession but we knew at half-time we had to take it up a notch,” said assistant coach Ross Embleton. “We did that in the second half and went from strength to strength.
“Whenever we’ve tried to close a game out or up the
intensity to go on and win it, whatever the motive has been from the bench in terms of the decisions the gaffer (Justin Edinburgh) makes to put people on, the boys have come on and executed. Dale Gorman and James Alabi deserve huge credit for coming on and turning that game.”
A crowd of 5,607 gathered for this London derby, many of whom donned vintage shirts with the day dedicated to Orient nostalgia. Nothing was different about Edinburgh’s side, however, as his starting XI remained unchanged for the seventh consecutive game.
Centre-back Coulson bagged the opener after Charlie Lee headed McAnuff’s free-kick across goal and Bonne should have made it two with a closerange header, but goalkeeper Mark Cousins saved brilliantly.
It proved to be the turning point of the first half when, four minutes later, David Tutonda chested down Cheye Alexander’s delivery and Fonguck struck a delicious half-volley leveller from the edge of the box into the corner.
From there the sides cancelled each other out until the much-needed introduction of Alabi and Gorman on the hour mark. Eight minutes later, Clay laid the ball on to Dayton and he shaped up Elliot Johnson before sending a superb curling effort into the top corner. With Orient in full flow, Alabi’s blushes were spared by the offside flag as he missed an
open goal before Dayton dragged wide.
Alabi then missed his kick when Dayton pulled back from the byline but it wasn’t to matter as the industrious Bonne soon wrapped up the points, after turning in the rebound from his original shot that hit a post, following more good work from McAnuff.
“For an hour I thought we were excellent, I thought we were outstanding,” said Barnet boss John Still. “I thought we were in reasonable control of the game and I think ten minutes of negative play, square passes in our own half when we haven’t got to play square passes, we gave them the opportunity to score goals against us.
“We’re not Barcelona, we’re not Manchester City, we’re not Inter Milan, we’re not Paris Saint Germain, we’re Barnet and we have to play as a team from the start to the finish of the game, we haven’t got individuals who can win games on their own. The team has to win the game; the team has to function. For an hour the team functioned but that’s not good enough.”
STAR MAN: Jobi McAnuff (Leyton Orient) ATT: 5,607 ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★ REFEREE: Peter Gibbons 8/10
EXPRESS FORM: James Dayton celebrates after scoring Orient’s second goal
THREE AND EASY: Macauley Bonne, left, is mobbed after scoring