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Leyton Orient 2-2 Oldham Athletic
LEYTON ORIENT Head Coach, Ross Embleton, criticised his players after limping to a draw, last Saturday, saying: “After going ahead, we needed to manage the game better. And, it’s the second successive week when we’ve thrown a lead away. We handed Oldham two goals on a plate.”
Having taken an early lead, in this mid-table clash, through a Tom Hamer own goal, they gave the Latics the freedom of the park to allow Zak Dearnley a three-minute brace, before O’s new signing, Danny Johnson hit his first goal for the club, soon after the turnaround.
On a bumpy surface, the hosts made a slow start, with keeper, Lawrence Vigouroux’s poor clearance putting the defence under pressure.
However, shortly after former Gateshead hitman, Johnson had drilled wide, schemer Ouss Cissé’s 13th-minute close-range effort, from Jordan Maguire-Drew’s flag-kick, was deflected home by Hamer.
Barely a minute later Orient pushed the self-destruct button allowing Dearnley a free header from Carl Piergianni’s knock-on following a routine corner kick.
O’s troubles doubled only two minutes later when Dearnley profited again from non-existent marking, nodding home from David Wheater’s flick, from a corner kick.
And, it could have been worse as the shell-shocked O’s were let off, with Christopher Missilou blazing a presentable chance wide, before Dearnley – on a first-half hat-trick – disappointed not to hit the target shortly before the interval.
After such a shambolic opening period, Johnson restored some pride, levelling on 54-minutes after Conor Wilkinson knocked on Josh Wright’s in-swinging free-kick.
Orient’s failure to impose themselves after Johnson’s leveller almost cost them, with former AFC Fylde target man, Danny Rowe’s flicked header bringing out a superb late Vigouroux save.
However, Orient man-of-the-match, Craig Clay was unlucky to see his stoppage-time header cleared off the Latics’ line by the experienced Wheater – as the O’s at least ended the contest on the front foot.
This result leaves the O’s in relative safety, seventeen points above rock-bottom Stevenage – who lost 0-2 at Crawley Town.
Embleton added: “We have to be happy with a point, after finding ourselves in a difficult situation. But, I’m annoyed we got ourselves into that situation in the first place. I haven’t seen the video yet – so I don’t know who lost their marker for both the Oldham goals. But, they were two, sloppy goals.”
Clearly frustrated, Embleton continued: “In the past, I would have patted the lads on the back for coming back in the second-half – but not today. It’s those key moments when we have to manage games better. But, the positive is we’ve come away with a point and we’re unbeaten at home since Boxing Day.”
Orient travel to promotion-seeking Forest Green Rovers, this Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and Embleton concluded: “We can’t wait to go there next week – that goes without saying – and will go there with the bit between our teeth and try and get something out of the game.”
Opposing boss, Dino Maamria, said: “Overall, a draw was a fair result. But, we could have gone three-one up before the break. We’re now aiming to go unbeaten for the remainder of the season, and pick up as many wins as possible.”
Point-saver, Johnson said: “We put ourselves on the back foot, letting those goals in. We need to defend set-pieces better. But, I missed chances myself, in the first half. However, I’m pleased to have got off the mark – I don’t care how they go in. I pressure myself to score as many as possible. With today’s point, we’re very much looking up the league table, though.”
Leyton Orient: Lawrence Vigouroux, George Marsh, Josh Coulson (Capt), Dan Happe, James Brophy, Jordan Maguire-Drew, Craig Clay, Ouss Cissé, Josh Wright, Danny Johnson, Conor Wilkinson (Ruel Sotiriou 55′) Subs not used: Sam Sargeant (GK), Joe Widdowson, James Dayton, Lee Angol, Hector Kyprianou, Jayden Sweeney
Oldham Athletic: Gary Woods, Tom Hamer, David Wheater (Capt), Carl Piergianni, Mohammad Sylla, Christopher Missilou (Mohammad Maouche 74′), Chris McCann, Jonny Smith, Zak Dearnley (Emmanuel Dieseruvwe 86), Danny Rowe Subs not used: Zues de la Paz (GK), Johan Branger-Engone, Gevaro Nepomuceno, Christian N’Guessan, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson
Referee: James Oldham
Assistants: Adrian Tranter and Marc Wilson
Fourth Official: Christopher O’Donnell