O’s hoping to climb league under Carl Fletcher, writes Jim Nichols
It’s been an eventful month for Leyton Orient. Towards the end of September, following a six-game winless streak in the league, interim manager Ross Embleton announced he would be stepping aside to enable the club to start their search for a full-time boss.
In the first game after the announcement Orient salvaged a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Port Vale, and Embleton received a rapturous ovation at the full-time whistle, with Orient’s supporters thankful for his role in taking the team forward following a tragic summer.
This served to act to release the burden on the players and spurred them on to three wins in a row. The first of these was a turgid affair at Northampton in which Orient deservedly battled to a narrow 1-0 victory and a vital three points. During the following two games, however, Orient played some fine attacking football and helped themselves to two big wins, scoring seven goals in the process.
One element that was particularly pleasing was the variety of goalscorers, with seven different scorers including five notching their first of the season. These included strikers Matt Harrold and James Alabi, who have spent much time on the sidelines but been forced into action through injury and suspension to Lee Angol and Connor Wilkinson respectively. Harrold in particular has grabbed his opportunity well.
The other new goalscorers were Dan Happe and Josh Coulson, who have both had difficult seasons defensively but shown recent signs of improvement and took their chances expertly. The fifth was from the most improbable of sources; left-back Joe Widdowson had only previously scored one league goal, in 2009, and even his biggest supporters would have been surprised to see his curling effort from outside the box nestle in the top corner to start a goal spree against Walsall.
It was in the aftermath of this game that the club announced ex-Bournemouth player Carl Fletcher, a former captain of Wales, was Orient’s new manager. Fletcher is taking over a revitalised Orient, largely thanks to the work of the admirable Embleton, who will be reverting to his previous role as assistant.
A surprise choice perhaps, Fletcher made an inauspicious start at the helm with a 4-0 loss at Plymouth, but Orient can genuinely feel aggrieved at some of the circumstances surrounding that heavy defeat and will look to consolidate their position around mid-table over the coming weeks.