Macauley Bonne praised Leyton Orient’s “determination” as they once again fought back to claim three points, this time away at Sutton United.

The O’s fell behind early in the second half and after equalising through Dan Happe, they had James Dayton sent off.

However, a last-minute penalty converted by Bonne put Orient back to the top of the National League after Salford City had briefly displaced them, and with just three games remaining, every point is precious over the next two weeks.

After the game, Bonne told the club’s website: “I think in recent weeks with what’s happened to us, we’ve found a bit of determination to go and finish games off.

“I always feel confident in myself taking penalties and when it went in, I couldn’t describe it. We need wins now for the rest of the season if we want to get to where we want to get to.”

It was a goalless first half at Gander Green Lane but the performance from the O’s certainly didn’t have the expectations they had going into the game, and Bonne said that the message from head coach Justin Edinburgh at the break helped them to re-focus and go on to get the points.

He said: “We weren’t at the races for the first 45 minutes and it was a bit difficult for us to try and judge how the game would have gone after that. We needed a rifling at half time, which every team does when you perform like that.

“It wasn’t good enough and it paid off, what he said – it worked for us in the second half. We had more determination and hunger to go on and win the game, especially with 10 men.”

Bonne’s fellow striker Matt Harrold has made a big impact in recent weeks, scoring the late equaliser against FC Halifax Town, netting in the FA Trophy semi-final win against AFC Telford United, and he was involved again on Saturday, winning the free-kick that led to Dan Happe’s equaliser.

On him impact, Bonne said: “He’s looked very sharp in recent weeks and when Matt comes on, my game changes slightly from being a target man to a runner. I get to play more of my game and it proved to be vital for us in the end.”

Happe’s equaliser was then added to in the final minute when a moment of madness from Sutton keeper Ross Worner resulted in him bringing Bonne down in the area, and the striker said that sticking to his guns turned out to be the best course of action.

He said: “I just stuck to my normal penalty. I changed it at Brackley away and I shouldn’t have because I ended up missing it but that’s my penalty now as every time I’ve used it I’ve scored.

“There’s a lot of pressure but I just keep a calm head, don’t worry about what’s going on outside the posts and just score.”