Yeovil Town 1 Leyton Orient 1
Sky Bet League Two
By Rowland Lyons at Huish Park
Orient’s barren run ended last Saturday after Gavin Massey snatched a priceless point with a late leveller, to cancel out Francois Zoko’s first-half opener.
The east Londoners remain in the drop zone, but boss, Danny Webb, is installing a never-say-die spirit in his new side.
A promising start from the struggling visitors saw Nigel Atangana almost open the scoring in the second minute, but Artur Krysiak stood firm and made a smart double-fisted save.
Then the recalled, Rowan Liburd and regular, Sandro Semedo wasted good opportunities, when well-placed, before fit-again, Liam Kelly brought the best out of Krysiak, with a powerful drive.
A very quiet home side should then have opened the scoring on 32 minutes, but finding himself in acres of space from Ben Whitfield’s diagonal ball, Liam Shepherd could only shoot wide.
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro then missed the target, from a good position, before Krysiak and Liburd needed prolonged treatment after a sickening clash of heads when contesting a Semedo cross.
Once recovered, Krysiak’s long clearance found Tom Eaves, whose initial effort was well saved by Sam Sargeant, only for Zoko to react quickest and fire past a helpless Sargeant.
Both sides had half chances after the break, with Eaves and Akpro shooting wide, before Kelly had a good opportunity to level on 66 minutes, but shot weakly at Krysiak from close range.
Yeovil then seemed content to run the clock down, in a bid gain only their first win since the turn of the year.
But, having lost former Orient loanee, Ryan Dickson soon after a poor challenge from Semedo, the Glovers lost their defensive shape.
Coupled with youngster, Josh Koroma’s late introduction, the O’s found another gear.
Having begun to torment his marker, sub. Bevis Mugabi, Koroma planted an 88th minute right-wing cross that fellow sub, Paul McCallum headed back across the face of goal. Even though Liam Kelly slipped and failed to make decent contact, that man Massey was on hand to blast high into Krysiak’s net and send the 150-strong travelling supporters wild with relief.
Having arguably performed a pools coupon ’buster’, the visitors piled bodies forward and McCallum’s towering header was inches away from giving his side the unlikeliest of stoppage time wins.
Yeovil boss, Darren Way, said: "Orient were fighting for their lives, and threw bodies forward in the last ten minutes. And, it’s important to manage the last stages of the game better than we did. But, overall it’s always difficult breaking down a 4-5-1 set-up."
A relieved Webb, added: "I told the players that the result makes a long journey less painful, although I was hoping to come here and get three points. But, it’s the least they deserve."
"I have been very pleased and positive with the players over the last three games. They have made my job easy by showing that positivity back. Even though we’re still in the bottom two, that point gives that little more belief."
"I’m ticking those games off and we mustn’t get caught adrift. But, my job is to make those boys are feeling part of something and not to give in."
Webb admitted: "However, there were times - especially in the second-half - when I wondered whether today would be our day."
"But, the subs gave us a massive lift and Josh Koroma came on an looked like a twenty-one or twenty-two year-old, not the seventeen years he is. I tell him to go on and take people on - that’s what he’s good at."
"This point could prove important and hopefully go to Plymouth (this Tuesday, kick-off 7-45pm) and get something there."
Skipper, Kelly warned: "We’re at the business end of the season, and can’t let games pass us by. The manager keeps telling us that we mustn’t get cut away. It’s so important that we pick up points from every single game. No game can be wasted. We can’t go out there an afford to have an off day."
"We have to concentrate on ourselves. What other teams do, we can’t control that - unless we’re playing them. And, if come the end of the season and we’ve done that, we’ll be fine."
Yeovil Town: Artur Krysiak, Liam Shepherd, Ben Whitfield, Darren Ward (captain), Nathan Smith, Ryan Dickson (Bevis Mugabi 79), Alex Lawless, Matthew Dolan, Francois Zoko (Omar Sowumni 90), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Shayon Harrison 71), Thomas Eaves.
Subs: Jonathan Maddison (gk), Matthew Butcher, Brandon Goodship, Tom James.
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Yvan Erichot (Callum Kennedy 46), Tom Parkes, Nicky Hunt, Gavin Massey, Michael Collins, Nigel Atangana (Josh Koroma 65), Liam Kelly (captain), Sandro Semedo, Rowan Liburd (Paul McCallum 54).
Subs: Charlie Grainger (gk), Teddy Mezague, Freddy Moncur, Sam Dalby.
Referee: Darren Deadman
Assistants: Simon Knapp & Neil Radford