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Exeter City 2-2 Leyton Orient
By Rowland Lyons at James’s Park
Turning the clock back to the O’s trip to St James Park earlier in the season – September 14, 2019 – and late frustration for the newly-promoted east Londoners…
LEYTON ORIENT had to be satisfied with just a point after Nicky Law’s stoppage-time penalty denied the east Londoners a famous victory, on Saturday.
This was after Lee Angol had cancelled out Pierce Sweeney’s opener before a Louise Dennis screamer set the O’s on course for an unlikely away win.
Despite enjoying the best of the opening exchanges, with Jordan Maguire-Drew and Angol going close, the Grecians dominated for long periods before the break, with O’s keeper, Dean Brill in fine form.
The league leaders thought they had made the all-important breakthrough when Law swivelled and hit a stunning 31st-minute effort. But, the referee, Peter Wright, spotted an infringement and the considerable Orient travelling contingent breathed a sigh of relief.
However, Exeter’s persistence paid off three minutes from the interval when Sweeney’s bobbling effort deceived Brill and crashed home.
But, the O’s – on their first meaningful effort on goal – hit the jackpot, on the stroke of half-time. Patient build-up, involving the excellent George Marsh and Dale Gorman, saw Angol round off a fine move, slotting past a spread-eagled Lewis Ward.
Angol’s strike knocked the stuffing out of the hosts and Dennis profitted six minutes into the second period. Dropping his shoulder, cutting in from the left, the wideman hit a fine 20-yarder past a helpless Ward.
Cue – again – intense Exeter pressure, with Orient’s Brill again standing firm and added to his collection of saves to deny Bowman with a world-class stop.
With the 438 travelling O’s sensing a rare away success, seven minutes stoppage time was flagged up by the fourth official. City then got their lucky break when the otherwise impeccable Josh Coulson floored late sub., Ben Seymour in the second minute of time added-on.
Kicking towards the home end, up stepped Law to send Brill the wrong way, to salvage an arguably deserved point.
But, credit to the O’s for their battling performance. They now face Crewe Alexandra, at home, this Tuesday (kick-off 7-45pm), before travelling to Colchester United this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Exeter City: Lewis Ward, Pierce Sweeney, Aaron Martin (Tom Parkes 75′), Lee Martin (Alex Fisher 68′), Nicky Law, Randell Williams, Ryan Bowman, Dean Moxey, Jack Sparkes, Jake Taylor (Capt), Archie Collins (Ben Seymour 90′) Subs not used: Johnny Maxted (GK), Craig Woodman, Matt Jay, Alex Fisher, Jayden Richardson
Leyton Orient: Dean Brill, Sam Ling, Josh Coulson, Marvin Ektipeta, Joe Widdowson, Dale Gorman (Craig Clay 71′), George Marsh, Jordan Maguire-Drew (James Alabi 83′), Josh Wright, Louis Dennis (Conor Wilkinson 75′), Lee Angol Subs not used: Sam Sargeant (GK), Myles Judd, Matt Harrold, Shadrach Ogie
Referee: Peter Wright
Assistants: Sammy Ogles and Simon Shaw
Fourth Official: Kevin Morris