O’s remain clear at the top despite Swindon stalemate 

Leyton Orient v Swindon Town – Sky Bet League Two – Brisbane Road – Report

Leyton Orient 1-1 Swindon Town

League leaders Leyton Orient and Swindon Town shared the spoils in a highly entertaining, end-to-end and often feisty 1-1 draw at sold-out Brisbane Road.  

Omar Beckles headed O’s into the lead from Kieran Sadlier’s corner in the twelfth minute only for Jacon Wakeling to fire home Swindon’s equaliser just after the hour mark. 

Richie Wellens named an unchanged side from the side who drew 2-2 at Grimsby Town last Saturday, with Aaron Drinan taking his place on the bench in place of Harrison Sodje.

Jody Morris made four changes to the Swindon Town team that defeated Harrogate Town 3-0 last week with Joe Tomlinson, Reece Devine, Dylan Kadji and Harrison Minturn coming in for Ellis Iandolo, Jake Cain, Jacob Wakeling and Cieran Brennan.

With both sets of fans in fine voice, the match kicked off in an electric atmosphere with Leyton Orient having the best of the early exchanges.

With only four minutes on the clock, Kieran Sadlier played a perfectly flighted ball into the box only for Theo Archibald to just fail to get his head on the end of it.

Swindon had their first scoring opportunity just after when Alfie Devine broke from the left to fire his shot into the centre of the goalmouth to force O’s keeper Lawrence Vigouroux into a fine save.

Leyton Orient took the lead when skipper Beckles powerfully nodded home Sadlier’s corner in the twelfth minute.

Beckles’ failure to clear his lines at the other end just shortly after was seized upon by George McEachran to run at the O’s defence, only for Tom James and Idris El Mizouni to cover well and close him down before clearing the danger. 

With twenty-two minutes gone, Charlie Kelman went past two men before firing a low effort which Robins keeper Sol Brynn was forced to parry behind for a corner.

After good work by Charlie Austin on the left, the former QPR and Southampton striker cleverly set up Rushian Hepburn-Murphy only for him to fail to strike the ball cleanly and skew the chance past the right post. 

Beckles almost similarly repeated his earlier goal, again getting on the end of another Sadlier corner, only this time he was unable to connect as cleanly as previously, allowing Brynn the chance to once again save well.

Just before the break, Hepburn-Murphy fired his free-kick high over the bar after Austin had been brought down just outside the area.

Shortly after the resumption, Ed Turns fired well wide of the left post after the ball fell nicely for him following a corner. 

Swindon made their next break count Jacob Wakeling ran on to Hepburn-Murphy‘s perfectly weighted pass to blast his left foot drive past Vigouroux into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 1-1. 

The game descended into a period of scrappy, niggly fouls with the Robins particularly targeting O’s dangerman Paul Smyth following his introduction as a substitute. 

O’s were still in the ascendency however with Turns, George Moncur and El Mizouni all going close near the end and deep into stoppage time they were denied what seemed to be a clear penalty when Smyth was brought to ground in the box, only for referee Sam Barrott to wave play on and with the final whistle following almost immediately, Richie Wellens men were forced to settle for a point at home for the first time since the 0-0 draw with Barrow on 14 January.

The result leaves Leyton Orient on seventy-two points with an eleven-point lead over second-place Carlisle United. Their thoughts now turn to a Sky Bet League Two visit to the One Call Stadium on Saturday, March 11 to face Mansfield Town (3pm).

Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, James (Pratley 71’) Beckles (Capt.) Turns, Sweeney, Clay, El Mizouni, Archibald (Smyth 59’) Sotiriou (Thompson 77’) Sadlier (Moncur 59’) Kelman (Drinan 70’) Subs not used: Ogie, Byrne

Swindon Town: Brynn, Minturn, Clayton, Tomlinson, Hutton, McEachran, Kadji, Devine (Wakeling 54’) Hepburn-Murphy, Austin (Capt.) (Shade 80’) Williams (Darcy 80’) Subs not used: Adeloye, Jephcott, Aguiar, Copeland

Referee: Sam Barrott

Assistant Referees: Garry Maskell and Andy Bennett

Fourth Official: Stuart Butler 

Attendance: 8,623 (1,252 from Swindon Town)