Leyton Orient make the long trip north to Gateshead to close out their campaign. Here we preview Saturday’s final game of the season:
National League: 14th FA Cup: 2nd Round FA Trophy: Semi-Final Top scorers: Danny Johnson 12
Gateshead are currently in 14th place, one position and three points behind the O’s. The Heed are one of three teams that could finish level on points with Orient, but their positive goal difference means they could finish in 13th.
Steve Watson’s side are out of form, having lost their last three and having won just once in their last ten games. Their home form makes for better reading, with one defeat in their last five matches at the Gateshead International Stadium and that loss came on Tuesday night.
Gateshead hosted play-off hopefuls Ebbsfleet United and the visitors struck first, scoring just after the half-hour mark. Experienced striker Danny Kedwell scored from the spot after Luke Coulson was fouled in the box.
The home side drew level in first-half stoppage time through Danny Johnson.
Kedwell grabbed his second of the evening on the hour to restore The Fleet’s lead, however once again Danny Johnson scored an equaliser for Gateshead five minutes later.
The hosts had shown resilience to twice fight back from a goal down but with twenty minutes to go, the game began to get away from Gateshead. Kedwell completed his hat-trick and that was soon followed by a goal from Luke Coulson. Jack Powell then completed the 2-5 victory for Darryl McMahon’s Ebbsfleet.
Vassell Kerr Mellish Barrow
Penn Preston McLaughlin
Hanford, Byrne, Burrow, Langstaff, Greenwood
It is thought that Steve Watson will have close to a full squad to choose from for the visit of Leyton Orient.
Jamal Fyfield began his career with Orient as a trainee, however, he left the club in 2007 without having made a senior appearance.
On Tuesday night, Leyton Orient suffered a disappointing defeat to Maidenhead United in the final home game of the season.
An early error from Dean Brill allowed Maidenhead to take the lead and that proved to be enough on the night. Brill failed to reach the delivery from a corner and the ball fell for Ryan Upward, who applied the finish from close range.
Orient’s play generally lacked intensity and they were frustrated by Maidenhead’s gameplan. The visitors looked likely to extend their lead in the last five minutes after James Comley cat the ball back from the byline for Sam Barratt, but his powerful strike cannoned off of the crossbar.
The away side were reduced to ten men in stoppage time as the goalscorer Upward was dismissed.
Ebou Adams had an opportunity to rescue a point in the dying moments. Lamar Reynolds beat his man before delivering a low cross but Adams skied his side-footed shot.
That defeat ended Orient’s winning run at home and overall the performance lacked the spirit that has seen the O’s make progress under Justin Edinburgh in recent weeks. Now, the O’s can’t finish any higher than thirteenth place in the National League.
— Total Orient (@TotalOrient) April 24, 2018
Charlie Lee continued his comeback from his serious knee injury and he came through 45 minutes of action on Tuesday night. He replaced Craig Clay who had picked up a groin injury and that may keep him out of the match against Gateshead.
Joe Widdowson has been struggling with a groin injury but he could be available for selection, but Edinburgh may decide against risking him for the final game of the season and allow Judd to continue at left-back.
James Dayton, Matt Harrold, Dan Holman, Alex Lawless and Josh Coulson are all sidelined through injury. George Elokobi may also miss the last game of the campaign due to a thigh injury.
Loanees Lamar Reynolds and Ebou Adams could make their last appearances for the club, though Adams has been in talks with the club.
Leyton Orient and Gateshead have met on three occasions this season and the O’s have failed to win any of those fixtures.
In the reverse National League fixture at Brisbane Road back in October, Gateshead won 0-2. Jordan Burrow put the visitors ahead inside the first ten minutes as Orient failed to defend the cross to him, allowing Burrow to head home from close range. David Mooney had Orient’s best chance but he took too many touches before firing the ball at the Gateshead goalkeeper. Ten minutes from time, the away side capitalised on a mixup at the back and sealed their victory. Mark Ellis nodded the ball past Charlie Grainger as the Orient stopper rushed out of his goal, which left Burrow with an open goal to grab a brace.
Orient then hosted the Heed for the FA Trophy Quarter-Final tie. The O’s squandered a commanding three-goal lead as Gateshead came back to force a replay.
Josh Koroma broke the deadlock ten minutes before half-time. The O’s doubled their lead in the second-half as Jake Caprice teed up Ebou Adams and the Norwich loanee powered the ball into the top corner of the goal. A strike which was recently named as the club’s goal of the season. Josh Coulson then made it 3-0 as he nodded the ball home from a Koroma free-kick.
However, Gateshead pulled a goal back with just over twenty minutes to go courtesy of Danny Johnson. Ten minutes later, Johnson reduced the deficit further. The visitors had the momentum and their fightback was complete in stoppage time when Richard Peniket headed home the equaliser.
Gateshead then won the replay in front of their own fans. Danny Johnson grabbed another brace, this time scoring after just two minutes and after a quarter-of-an-hour from the spot after Dan Happe conceded a penalty. However, the O’s managed a fightback of their own, James Brophy pulled a goal back early in the second-half and David Mooney equalised later on, nodding home from Josh Koroma’s free-kick. The hosts eventually booked their place in the semi-finals thanks to Richard Peniket’s goal.
Matthew Sowerby & Ian Turner
Gateshead International Stadium