Joyful Orient trounce Bolton 4-0 and look to be on sounder footing this season
By Yann Tear at Brisbane Road
Leyton Orient 4 Bolton Wanderers 0
The signs are already so much more promising for the Os than last season.
If last term’s campaign felt like a tentative step into the unknown after promotion from the National League under Justin Edinburgh, this one is taking on an increasingly assured look.
It was the first time they had hit four since a visit to Grimsby a year ago.
Not even the fluffing of a first minute penalty from Danny Johnson could throw them off course on an afternoon of sublime goals for the hosts.
Johnson made amends by putting away a cut-back from James Brophy with the game eight minutes old and the home side’s confidence was underpinned by two superb free-kicks in the five minutes before half-time which gave them a commanding 3-0 lead.
First, skipper Jobi McAnuff curled beautifully over the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards, then, from a position to the right side of the box but from similar distance, Conor Wilkinson whipped in a great low shot which crept inside the near post.
Wilkinson deserved his goal, having won both free-kicks and in any case, Bolton stopper Billy Crellin had used up all his luck in the opening moments, when he was lucky not to be sent off for bringing down Johnson. His fine dive to the left to keep out the ensuing spot-kick would be his last happy moment.
Craig Clay had a toe-poked effort cleared off the line after a McAnuff cross had created havoc in the penalty area on the half hour and a blistering effort from Wilkinson at the start of the second half underlined the superiority of Ross Embleton’s side.
Crowning it all was Clay’s sublime chip from outside the area after 57 minutes, which helped compound the misery felt by the hapless visitors. The glee shown by the players in piling on top of the scorer emphasised the feelgood factor.
Wanderers summoned up a response full of effort but lacking in finesse in the final third and there was a heartening determination about the red-shirted Os to fight for a clean sheet.
Not many clubs can match Bolton when it comes to falls from grace in recent years. It was not so long ago that a squad full of highly regarded Euro stars led by Sam Allardyce was making life difficult for elite Premier League clubs.
But they have only two wins to their name after 10 League Two games and occupy the lower reaches of the fourth tier of football. The Os, by contrast, are now safely in mid-table and looking up. They have won three of the last four in a mini unbeaten run which suggests there may be more to come.
They travel to high-riding Forest Green in midweek before taking on table-toppers Newport at home next Saturday in the FA Cup – two more fixtures which will give further clues about the progress they are making.
Orient: Vigouroux – Akinola, Happe, Coulson – Widdowson – Cisse – McAnuff (Wright 69), Clay, Brophy (Dennis 76) – Wilkinson (Maguire-Drew 84), Johnson. Subs not used: Sargeant, Dayton, Turley, Kyprianou