Chesterfield manager Allen: Leyton Orient will be champions
PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 December 2018
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Martin Allen led Barnet to the Conference Premier title in 2015 and believes the O’s will follow in the Bees’ footsteps this season
Leyton Orient will end this season as National League champions, says Chesterfield manager Martin Allen - who knows a thing or two about winning this division.
The 53-year-old made the claim to this title after his Spireites team had lost 3-1 to the O’s in E10 on Saturday following goals by Josh Koroma, Marvin Ekpiteta and top goalscorer Macauley Bonne.
Allen, who spent six years as a player at West Ham United, led London outfit Barnet to the Conference Premier title in 2015 and is backing Justin Edinburgh’s side to pip Salford City to first spot this time around.
“Leyton Orient will be the champions because they are a better team (than Salford),” he said.
“They have pace and power. They have passion and fantastic backing from their supporters, so Orient will win the league and be champion.”
Chesterfield pushed the leaders all the way on Saturday, but O’s found a way to win in a sign of champions on a dramatic day.
Orient took the lead after only nine minutes when Koroma latched onto Jobi McAnuff’s pass, turned Haydn Hollis inside and out and hit a low effort past Callum Burton.
Allen’s visitors fought back in style though, as Alex Kiwomya equalised in the 35th minute when he finished off a superb move.
The Doncaster Rovers loanee ran at the Orient back four before he found Lee Shaw out wide and his cross into the area was headed into the top corner by Kiwomya.
It was a deserved leveller for the Derbyshire-based club and the next goal in E10 felt crucial and it almost went to Chesterfield with 57 on the clock, but Tom Denton’s header was stopped on the line by Dean Brill.
Five minutes later and O’s retook the lead when McAnuff raced past Curtis Weston by the touchline and his centre was smashed home from a few yards by Ekpiteta.
Hitman Bonne then wrapped up the scoring in the 85th minute via the penalty spot after Joe Rowley had fouled James Brophy.
“It was a tough game for our team, but this is the level we have to aspire to,” Allen said. “I think we gave a good account of ourselves.
“We had good phases of play and they certainly weren’t the dominant team. They were for the last 10 minutes when they were keeping the ball, but prior to that we were more than a match for them.”