Macauley Bonne netted a late penalty to keep Leyton Orient in pole position in the National League as the 10-man O’s came from behind to win 2-1 at Sutton United.

After a goalless opening period, Jonah Ayunga struck first to put Sutton ahead before Dan Happe’s header restored parity.

Substitute James Dayton was then shown red as he was carried off on a stretcher before Orient were awarded a penalty in the final minute that Bonne coolly converted.

Justin Edinburgh made one change to the side that beat Eastleigh in midweek, drafting in Dale Gorman to replace Alex Lawless, who had to be withdrawn against the Spitfires due to a head injury.

Ayunga created the first real opportunity for either side, but his sliced effort failed to trouble Dean Brill in the Orient goal.

Edinburgh was then forced into an early change after Sam Ling went down injured, and Dayton came on to replace him.

The visitors’ first sight of goal came after around 20 minutes when Bonne connected with James Brophy’s delivery from a corner, but he poked over at the second time of asking.

They came close again just moment later when Gorman sent in a dangerous delivery towards Josh Koroma, but the youngster’s glancing header crept just wide of the far post.

That attacking scenario quickly changed to defence as Sutton came forward, and Craig Eastmond’s header looked to be going in before Marvin Ekpiteta blocked on the line to make sure it was all square at the break.

Orient got the second half underway but after less than ten minutes they found themselves behind as Ayunga produced a brilliant effort from distance into the top corner.

Matt Harrold was then introduced in place of Gorman to give the O’s more attacking threat and it paid dividends almost instantly when he won a free-kick 20 yards from goal which Koroma sent in, and Happe was on hand to nod in the equaliser.

Any plans of pushing on and winning the game were dealt a serious blow soon after when Dayton was on the end of a nasty challenge which meant he had to be stretchered off, but he was unable to be replaced as he was shown a straight red for dissent while he was being carried away.

It looked as though Orient would have to settle for a point, but a moment of madness from Sutton keeper Ross Worner saw him attempt to juggle the ball with a back-pass.

Bonne intercepted the ball and was brought down by Worner, and the referee pointed to the spot.

The striker stepped up and coolly converted to complete the turn-around that moves the O’s back to the top of the league after Salford City’s win earlier on Saturday had moved them to the summit.

Just three games remain in the season and up next is an Easter Weekend double header when, on Good Friday, Edinburgh’s side host Harrogate Town and then on Easter Monday travel to Solihull Moors for a vital promotion fixture.

Orient team: Brill; Ling (Dayton, 15), Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe, Widdowson; Clay, Gorman (Harrold, 59), Brophy; Koroma (Lee, 74), Bonne

Substitutes: Sargeant, Simpson

Attendance: 3,339 (1,337 away)