Newport County 1 Leyton Orient 1
Sky Bet League Two
On a poignant day of commemoration for the late Newport and Leyton Orient boss, Justin Edinburgh, a hotly contested draw was a fitting tribute to a man who did so much for both clubs.
Sunday afternoon clash saw youngster, Ruel Sotiriou opening the scoring before County sub., Padraig Amond grabbed a deserved late equaliser.
With barely 62 seconds on the clock Sotiriou rose unchallenged and glanced home skipper, Josh Wright’s in-swinging free-kick.
Orient’s good start continued and Lee Angol should have doubled the east Londoner’s lead only two minutes later, but mis-controlled Dan Happe cross.
The hosts – without a home win since October – took charge – but inspired defending lead by former County star, Jamie Turley, held firm before the interval, with Sam Sargeant only having to make routine blocks.
On 50 minutes Edinburgh, was remembered by a poignant minute’s applause, after a half-time commemoration had involved his family and four ex-players. On an emotional day, it was fitting that play had stopped – inadvertently – though – for treatment to keeper, Sargeant.
Apart from a couple of Turley headers barely troubling home keeper, Tom King, it was wall-to-wall Newport.
It seemed just a matter of time that their equaliser would come, but dogged Orient defending suggested they would be ending 2019 on a high.
But, the one moment the defence switched off, Amond got behind his marker and volleyed home a wonderful strike, with nine minutes remaining.
A late Orient cameo saw King deny Craig Clay with a smart stoppage time tip-around, before Angol failed to hit the target with a last-gasp header.
Ross Embleton admitted after the game: “The disappointing thing is that we didn’t build on our positive start. But, in our current situation, we did well to hold on. I spoke to the players after the [Boxing Day] Colchester game, so I’m pleased I got a reaction. I also told them that I’ll hang on to the positive and that we’ve come away from home and picked up the point.”
With the late Justin Edinburgh in mind, Embleton added: “I’d rather it [the game] not being a draw. It was quite interesting, as the crowd [here] are normally on your case. But, it wasn’t so until the last five minutes – but it was probably a recognition of the occasion. So, he [Justin Edinburgh] is up ‘there’ nodding in the equaliser. He was attached to both clubs.”
Newport hitman, Padraig Amond admitted: “The point was the least we deserved. But, we can’t be giving away free-kicks in those sorts of positions and so early in the game. We then gave ourselves a mountain to climb. We need to do better.”
Newport County: Tom King, Ryan Inniss (Dominic Poleon 79), Scott Bennett, Mickey Demetriou, Danny McNamara, Josh Sheehan, Joss Ladabie (capt), George Nurse, Ryan Haynes (Padraig Amond 64), Jamille Matt, Tristan Abrahams. Subs (not used): Nick Townsend, Matty Dolan, Taylor Maloney, Dominic Jefferies.
Leyton Orient: Sam Sargeant, Myles Judd, Jamie Turley, Marvin Ekpiteta, Dan Happe, Jordan Maguire-Drew (James Brophy 70), Craig Clay, Josh Wright (capt), George Marsh, Lee Angol, Ruel Sotiriou (Matt Harrold 85). Subs (not used): Arthur Janata, Dale Gorman, Josh Coulson, James Dayton, Hector Kyprianou.
Referee: Lee Swabey
Assistants: Marvyn Amphlett, Ollie Williams
Fourth Official: Mark Howes.