Ross Embleton said he was pleased with the way Leyton Orient handled their “step up” in terms of opposition quality as they secured a 2-0 win away at Dartford on Saturday.

Aside from a match against Hull City while on their pre-season training camp in Spain, all of Orient’s opponents so far had come from below National League North and South level.

However, goals from Marvin Ekpiteta and Sam Ling handed the O’s another pre-season success against the National League South side.

Speaking after the game, Embleton told the Leyton Orient website: “We said to the boys before the game that this was the next step up for us. I know we played Hull pretty early in pre-season which is sometimes unusual for a club at our level to go up against Championship opposition so early in pre-season.

“After the couple of games we’ve had this week we felt it was going to be a real step up. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who have played against these and I knew it was going to be competitive. You only need to see some of the players that they’ve got amongst their squad to see that it was going to be a tough game and obviously putting 90 minutes into the boys added that extra bit to it. It was a tough encounter.”

It was a feisty match for a pre-season friendly, with three Dartford players shown yellow cards for their challenges on the Orient players, but Embleton felt that it showed the competitive edge of the match.

He said: “I suppose that’s the trade off at times. When you come up against teams, like it would be when we played Hull, you want it to be that bit more competitive and you feel as though you’ve got a point to prove; you want to show where you’re at as an individual and as a team against higher opposition.

“We expected it to be a bit rough and tumble at times. I think sometimes tackles can be a little bit laboured and a little bit late and if they’ve got that aggressive intent then obviously, they deserve a yellow card, but we wouldn’t want the game any other way. We wouldn’t want people holding off and likewise for us, we’ll give as good as we get, and I think it makes for that little bit more of a game.”

It’s been another tough week for the club following last week’s memorial service for Justin Edinburgh, and the side have also now played three games since that service, leading Embleton to feel as though the team looked tired.

He said: “I said to them that you looked tired at times. You looked tired today because you’ve played 90 minutes and that’s the first time you’ve done that but I think this week has taken a hell of a lot out of them.

“In hindsight, maybe we should have removed one of the games with the fact of when Justin’s memorial service fell because it was an incredibly emotional day. It certainly took a lot out of me and I don’t have to get up the next morning and run around so from a personal perspective it was tough.

“The biggest and most pleasing thing is that the results have been positive. Let’s not hide from the fact that it’s not all about the results in pre-season. Often it’s easy to say that when you lose one but at the same time, when you’re winning, you have to keep that in your mind. I think we’ve gone about the three games in the right way and the most important thing today is that we’ve come out with no injuries.”