Josh Coulson praised Leyton Orient’s performance after they recorded a 2-0 victory over Harrogate to close in on the National League title.

The defender scored Orient’s first after just two minutes in a quickfire start for the home side, and some resolute defending kept the score down until Matt Harrold made the game safe in the dying minutes with a thumping header from a corner.

Coulson said after the game: “It was a good win. We knew what we had to do. We were solid, got a clean sheet, 2-0 win at home, sounds easy doesn’t it? I wasn’t, it was a tough game but I thought the boys dug deep and it was a great result.

“We said before the game [that it was important to start quickly. Obviously it was a hot day, they’ve travelled down and we moved the ball a bit. We got a goal from a set-piece that we’ve worked on, for which we’re thankful. It was a good ball by Jobi [McAnuff] and I just flicked it in. Then it was just all about being solid and seeing it through.”

McAnuff has missed the last few games for the side through injury, but he made an instant impact on his return by setting up the first goal as well as making the O’s look far more assured.

Coulson said: “I think you’ve seen today, it’s massive [to have him back]. His leadership, he calms us down, everything about his game. He’s a brilliant leader and he’s massive to us.

Orient were forced to work for their points by a hard-working Harrogate side, one that assistant coach Ross Embleton described as one of the hardest-working in the league, and Coulson said it was something that the players had been prepared for.

He said: “We knew that they’d come out and smother us in midfield. We’d done our homework and it was tough. As Ross said, they are very good at pressing so we had to pop the ball about if we could and move them.

“Then they got a few chances but we stood strong, had a few off the line, they hit the post I think but we need that luck if we’re going to do what we’re going to do. We’ve earnt that luck as well.

“You saw [James] Brophy was in a good position to clear the first one. I probably should have gone with the runner on the second but I don’t think I could have got there so I thought get to the line because he’s going to shoot. It was right place right time and that’s not by luck I don’t think, but I think we’ve earnt our own luck at times as well.”

The O’s continue their fight for the title on Monday as they travel to third-placed Solihull Moors, with a chance to win the title.