Poor away record could prove fatal for Leyton Orient’s League Two promotion hopes

4 min

With just one away league win to their name, Leyton Orient need to improve their form on the road if they are going to achieve League Two promotion this season.

By comparison, scoring three or more goals in five of their 11 matches at Brisbane Road and conceding just seven in the process, their home form has often been scintillating.

While there have been occasions where the O’s can perhaps feel hard done by, they have still failed to reach those heights away from E10.

The November fixtures against Rochdale and Scunthorpe United immediately spring to mind as games Orient had the better of but ultimately failed to pick up a deserved three points.

October’s late collapse at Port Vale will also still rankle and their last away day, which saw them fall to a 1-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers, comes with the caveat the O’s were forced to travel to the Wirral with a threadbare squad of just fourteen players following a number of Covid issues.

Nevertheless, the away league table makes grim reading for Kenny Jackett’s side with Orient in 15th place with just ten points from their eleven games played.

A squad of this calibre should have picked up more than just a solitary away victory by this stage of the season, and the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Orient’s home and away form is something Jackett and his coaching staff are acutely aware of.

“The squad we have is very capable but there does seem to be a different team at home and away. You think about it and ask yourself what can we do differently” assistant manager Joe Gallen told London Football Scene following last month’s FA Cup win over Tranmere.

Historically it’s often been the case that having one of the best home records in the league will not guarantee you anything in League Two, while performing as one of the division’s best away sides can prove a good indicator of success.

Looking back at last season, despite finishing outside of the Play-Offs, Salford City laid claim to the division’s best home record. Meanwhile, both Carlisle and Exeter City finished in the top seven of the home league table but, like Salford, ended the season out of promotion contention.

In terms of away records, the top three League Two teams on their travels last season, Bolton Wanderers, Cambridge United and Cheltenham Town, were also the three that gained automatic promotion. 

In fact six of the top seven sides away from home finished in the overall top seven last season, with Oldham Athletic the only outlier.

Examining the away points per game totals of the top seven in League Two over the last five seasons shows that on average a side that achieves automatic promotion will accrue a total of 1.64 points per game (PPG) and a team that finishes in the Play-Off places will pick up 1.4 PPG.

READ MORE: Leyton Orient’s January transfer window – right-back cover, midfield creativity and retaining loan stars

Orient’s current total of 0.9 PPG away from home is some way off that with no team in the last five seasons finishing in the top seven with an away PPG total that low.

Last weekend’s scheduled trip to crisis club Oldham could have provided the perfect platform for the O’s to build on as they look to improve their record on the road.

However, that postponement now means Orient face a tricky looking run that sees their next three away fixtures fall against sides above them in the table in Mansfield, Bradford and Exeter.

The recent wave of postponements that has seen opposition Covid cases cause Orient’s last four league games to be rescheduled has brought about frustration in E10.

It now means Orient have midweek fixtures scheduled in seven of the next ten weeks up until the end of March.

And with five of those seven being Tuesday night games away from home, they will go a long way to deciding the fate of Orient’s promising but inconsistent campaign.

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