David Mooney has broken one 16-year record and now has four games left to grab the brace needed to become the first Orient player to score 20 league goals in a season for 36 years.
Mooney’s double against Gillingham helped him become the first O’s player to score 20 goals in all competitions since 1998.
He is on 18 in the league and no Orient player has reached 20 since Peter Kitchen in the 1977/78 season.
The Irish striker looked back to his best against the Gills on Saturday as he netted twice in the 5-1 win.
Mooney’s previous best effort came in 2011 when he scored 14 goals for Colchester United but he has set his sights on netting another two which would take his tally to 20 in the league this season.
Mooney said: “I’m delighted to have reached 20 goals. I just felt something going into the match and my wife, even though she went back to Ireland, said ‘I fancy you to get two’.
“Thankfully I got two early and I was desperate for a hat-trick but obviously we’ve got a game on Friday and Monday, so after I got over the frustration of being taken off I understood the decision.
“I need to get another two now [for 20 league goals] so if I can get that then all the better. I don't think anyone’s done that for a long time for the club so that would be fantastic.”
The O’s forward made an explosive start to the season as he scored nine goals in his opening 12 games to help fire Orient to the top of the league. After going six matches without scoring, Mooney found his form again with eight goals in 11 appearances. But the former Reading striker struggled with just two goals in February and March following his return from a foot injury.
Mooney feels he is fully fit now and has been helped by the squad’s recent trip to Champneys.
He said: “I’ve had a few injuries and I’ve been 24/7 on painkillers and taking injections before games. The Bradford game was maybe the one where I should have stepped out. I played but I wasn’t great and I think I needed that break against Sheffield United.
“This week in training I felt back to myself and a week away at Champneys has done me the world of good as well.”
Mooney added: “It does tell its tale having a small squad. We’ve got people playing with niggles and injuries and you’re trying to do the best for the lads. If the manager asks you to play it’s hard to say no. No-one’s going to say ‘I don’t really want to play and don’t feel the best’. We all went out and played through injuries but we seem to be over them now.”
A major facet of the O’s success at the start of the season was attributed to the potent partnership between Mooney and Kevin Lisbie. The strikers scored 21 goals between them in first three months of the campaign but the goals dried up recently which coincided with Orient’s dip in form.
Mooney said: “I think we’ve got good players to come on but obviously we have a great partnership. We look out for each other and the first ball I look for all the time is to get Kev in. We nearly got in later in the first half when I clipped one over the top and he just couldn’t get a touch on it.
“His ball for the fourth goal was fantastic so we’ve got a great partnership and I think other teams may fear that. They may set up differently to how Gillingham did and it’s up to us to find a way of getting through that.”
The striker added: “Confidence is massive. There’s no denying that we needed a win and it gives everybody, including the fans, belief. It’s important that we put on a good performance and sent everyone home happy. We gave everyone an enjoyable afternoon with loads of goals and action. That’s what we need to do between now and the end of the season and hopefully we can go to Crawley and do a similar thing.”
Mooney gave Orient the lead on Saturday after a stunning pass from John Lundstram. The Everton youngster started his third game since joining the O’s on loan and the striker has been very impressed by his impact.
The striker said: “I thought he [Lundstram] was fantastic. He dictated the game and that set us on our way. I think just his [Lundstram] background, where he’s come from, makes him comfortable on the ball. He doesn’t mind lending it to you and getting it back and creating angles. I thought he was fantastic and put on a masterclass out there.
“For a young lad, the way he dictated the game was quite amazing. He just keeps the ball moving and the more he moves them around the easier it is for us to get on the ball. We were patient in our build-up in the first half and when that final ball came it was right on the money.”