United clinched a valuable three points at the Matchroom Stadium on the road and completed the double over Leyton Orient in the process.
Elliott Romain’s third goal of the season was enough to get United back to winning ways against an Orient side that came back strongly in the second half.
After hinting that changes were in the offing TUFC head coach Gary Owers moved Jakub Sokolik into midfield to shield the back four. Josh Gowling came back into the starting eleven and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans retained his place working alongside Luke Young in midfield.
There wasn’t much in the first-half. Although the O’s had more possession they rarely hurt United where it matters. Even when they did get shots away on goal Vincent Dorel was there to keep them at bay. Even then, the offside flag usually went up too.
In the 18th minute Luke Young sized up a free kick after Liam Davis was fouled on the edge of the box. Young was convinced that his follow-up shot hit an Orient hand but the referee wasn’t interested.
There were signs that Williams and Romain were starting to enjoy their night. In the 22nd minute Williams picked the ball up 40 yards out and took the opportunity to run at the Orient back line. Orient were able to get back at him to give away a corner. A few minutes later a lovely turn by Williams on the edge of the box sold his man a dummy. That allowed Young to put a knee-high cross across the box for Romain to meet first time. His shot hit the post but the flag was up too.
A worrying couple of minutes followed not soon after. Vincent Dorel came to claim a routine ball into the box but as he fell forward he fell onto Josh Gowling. He was eventually able to leave the pitch under his own steam, but he was wisely substituted. On came Tommy O’Sullivan with Jakub Sokolik dropping into the back three.
Williams and O’Sullivan combined to provide Romain with his 3rd goal of the season. Substitute O’Sullivan was the man to cross the ball for Elliott to connect with a pinpoint header that found the top corner. It was a fantastic performance by Romain, closely followed by Williams who provided moments of high quality.
It took until the 55th minute for there to be some second-half action. George Elokobi met a corner and Vincent Dorel had to reach high up to tip his header over the bar.
United had their backs to the wall for a large part of the second half, but Orient couldn’t make the possession pay. Every player played their part, and work extremely hard.
Orient were galvanized by the introduction of Matt Harrold and in the 58th minute he nearly made a difference with his first touch. United had to clear under huge pressure in their own box.
The tireless work of Romain and Williams came to an end with the introductions of Jamie Reid and Jon-Paul Pittman. Both substitutes played their part in the match as they helped to ease the match back from what was becoming a Leyton Orient stranglehold.
United had chances on the break but were just let down by an over hit pass or two.
Orient struck the post in the dying moments of the game. David Mooney struck a fine shot but it cannoned off the woodwork. Dorel might have got there anyway.
We now take the fight to Solihull Moors on Saturday. The team have belief that they can pull away from the relegation zone. On tonight’s performance United are still in the mix.
Leyton Orient: 20 Dean Brill (GK), 2 Jake Caprice [3 Joe Widdowson 57′], 5 George Elokobi, 9 Macauley Bonne, 10 David Mooney (c), 18 Josh Coulson, 23 Craig Clay [19 Josh Koroma 67′], 26 James Brophy, 31 Ebou Adams, 34 Lamar Reynolds [24 Matt Harrold 57′], 36 Sam Ling Subs not used: 1 Charlie Grainger (GK), 9 Dan Holman
Booked: Sokolik 20′, Romain 48′, Lemonheigh-Evans 71′, Davis 74′
TUFC: 30 Vincent Dorel (GK), 3 Liam Davis, 5 Sean McGinty, 6 Josh Gowling [14 Tommy O’Sullivan 35′], 8 Luke Young, 14 Jakub Sokolik, 21 Aaron Barnes, 22 Elliott Romain [19 Jamie Reid 75′], 26 Conrad Balatoni, 29 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 39 Brett Williams [9 Jon-Paul Pittman 82′] | Subs:1 Ryan Clarke (GK), 24 George Dowling
Booked: Adams 48′
Referee: Alan Dale
Attendance: 2,900 (155 Away)