Ross Embleton hails hat-trick hero Danny Johnson
Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton poured praise on hat-trick hero Danny Johnson after the 3-0 defeat of Harrogate took his personal tally to 12 for the season.
The victory brought an end to O’s run of four successive defeats in all competitions and lifted them to within two points of a League Two play-off place.
Johnson struck twice in the first-half with stunning drives before completing the milestone with the simplest of headers.
“It was an unbelievable hat-trick,” Embleton purred. “The first one is a great finish across the goalkeeper, the second was exceptional and the third one was his easiest but he did well to make and find that space.
“We have worked hard this week on the training ground at our set pieces so it was nice to see the third from a coaching point of view.
“I left Danny Johnson out last week but I had my rationale and reasons and he understood why and he has come out today and shown why he is a top goalscorer
“We looked professional. Our message to the boys before the game and at half time was that Harrogate like to be direct, make it scruffy and untidy and difficult to play against, we had to respect that but try to get the game on our own terms and I thought that we were very solid defensively and devastating on the counter-attack.
“It was a great response after last week’s defeat at Colchester and a clean sheet too which are so important.
With manager Simon Weaver an absentee because he was undertaking precautionary self-isolation having tested positive for Covid-19, assistant boss Paul Thirlwell took charge of a Harrogate side that has now picked up just two league points out of the last 18.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. ”We changed the system today and when they scored the first goal it took the wind out of us.
“But we kept passing and moving it and then we conceded again and you are thinking, ‘let’s get to half time’.
“I thought box-to-box we were the better team at times but two of the goals we conceded were really poor and in their final third we just didn’t have that cutting edge.
“In the end Orient ran out worthy winners but after the way we started the game, I thought we would have got something.
“We changed the formation this week and wanted to pass it but the goals have come from a top-class striker.
“We have to better attacking wise as a unit and our delivery into the box. It’s a tough spell but you work hard and you get through these together as a team and a squad.”