Craig Clay nets late on to salvage Steve Davis’ Leyton Orient a point at home to Eastleigh
- Credit: Archant
National League: Leyton Orient 1 Eastleigh 1
Craig Clay scored in the seventh minute of stoppage time to salvage a point for Leyton Orient at home to Eastleigh in the National League this afternoon.
Steve Davis’ team looked to be heading for a defeat until the former Motherwell midfielder fired in from close range.
Eastleigh defender Ayo Obileye appeared to be the match winner before the late drama after haunting his old club.
The Hackney youngster started his career with the O’s before leaving as a teenager and made them pay on the stroke of half time.
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It was initially a tale of two first half penalties at Brisbane Road with David Mooney missing his and Obileye making the most of his chance from the spot until Clay popped up at the death.
Steve Davis made one change to the team which defeated Woking 2-0 last weekend, as Clay was handed his full debut.
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First-team captain Charlie Lee missed all completely with a bad knee injury, so David Mooney wore the armband and Henry Ochieng came onto the bench.
Eastleigh were without former Orient striker Paul McCallum, but did name plenty of experienced players in their starting XI.
Ex-Arsenal stopper Graham Stack was in goal while one-time Tottenham Hotspur winger Mark Yeates was included from the off.
The Spitfires got the game underway and both teams had efforts inside the opening seven minutes, but neither tested the two goalkeepers.
Mooney had the first shot on target when Macauley Bonne won the ball in the air and Jobi McAnuff played in the experienced forward, but his low strike was saved by Stack at the near post with 10 minutes played.
Orient’s slight fragility at the back was demonstrated three minutes later, however, when Charlie Grainger had a nervy moment.
Jake Caprice passed the ball back to O’s goalkeeper and he scuffed his clearance, which James Constable latched onto, but fortunately for the hosts he curled wide from 35-yards.
It was a worrying moment for Grainger and Orient, yet the only significant effort the visitors managed in the opening 25 minutes.
Davis’ team didn’t create much either, although they were keeping the ball well and looking to find gaps.
And with 32 minutes on the cock, Orient were presented with the perfect chance to open the scoring.
The lively James Dayton picked the ball up on the right and tricked his way past a couple of opponents before Sam Wood hacked him down inside the area.
Referee Neil Hair had no choice other than to point to the spot and then Stack began his gamesmanship tactics.
Eastleigh’s goalkeeper decided to have a drink and take his time, as Mooney waited to take the penalty.
Eventually the O’s club captain took the spot-kick, but it was a poor effort and sailed wide to the astonishment of most of the home crowd.
It was a let-off for Davis’ team and they should have been punished two minutes after Mooney’s miss.
Yeates showed his class with a wonderful cross from the right and Ben Williamson headed the ball up in the air, but former Orient youth prospect Obileye nodded wide from close range.
Dayton was starting to be targeted as the first half drew to a close with Danny Hollands joining Wood in the book for a poor tackle on the winger in the centre of the park.
The next chance of the match occurred two minutes before the break when Alex Lawless crossed in for Mooney, but he could only head wide from 10-yards.
It was another bright moment for the hosts, although once again Stack in the Eastleigh goal was untested.
With the seconds ticking away in the first half, it seemed the first 45 would remain goalless, but there was still time for a big moment in the match.
Yeates showed his class on the right and ran at Lawless before the O’s midfielder struck a leg out and brought down the Eastleigh man inside the area.
Again referee Hair was left with no choice other than to award a penalty and the away side took their chance.
Right-back Obileye stepped up and coolly slotted home in the second minute of additional time to put Eastleigh in front at half time.
Orient got the second period underway knowing to stay undefeated at home they had to come from behind for the first time this season.
There task was nearly even harder when Obileye nodded a Yeates cross against the post from close range four minutes after the restart.
Nerves were spreading around Brisbane Road and the Spitfires created another decent opportunity in the 53rd minute.
Yeates cut inside Josh Coulson brilliantly and fired towards goal, and Grainger could only parry his shot, but fortunately Chris Zebroski’s header was weak and O’s survived.
Orient regrouped slightly and the dangerous Dayton caused Eastleigh problems less than 60 seconds later, as his cross was punched out to Clay and his low strike was blocked.
A good catch by Grainger minutes later helped settle some of the nerves around E10 and the hosts looked to start to build ahead of seem as the clock passed the hour mark.
The O’s produced some decent football in the 64th minute and it ended with Clay playing a lovely ball in behind the Eastleigh back four, but Jake Caprice’s touch was heavy and he could only win a corner after clashing with Stack.
Spitfires’ goalkeeper took a whack to the head during the collision and needed treatment before eventually being able to resume.
Davis made a double change with 21 minutes left, as Josh Koroma and Rommy Boco were summoned off the bench.
Mooney and McAnuff made way and O’s teenage attacked went up front alongside Bonne for the final exchanges.
Chances were running out for Orient, however, and Dayton curled a free kick way over the crossbar in the 74th minute to add to the frustration at Brisbane Road.
Eventually the hosts started to pile the pressure on, as Koroma saw a shot blocked before Dayton won a second corner in quick succession.
Bonne headed the second set-piece wide though, with Eastleigh continuing to defend strongly in east London.
With timing running out for O’s, the Spitfires fans were making the most of their trip to the capital and in fine voice as they looked to push their team on during the final exchanges of the match.
As the clock passed 90, the fourth official signalled for an extra six minutes of additional time.
Orient were dominating possession, but failing to test Stack, as Boco fired over before Lawless drilled two shots off target.
Coulson was sent up front for the dying seconds and did have the ball in the net, but his tap-in was ruled out because the ball had gone out of play.
The O’s continued to press and with their 10th corner of the game, they eventually found an equaliser.
Caprice took the set-piece and it was headed back out to the full-back and his second delivery was flicked towards goal by Boco, but headed away.
It only went as far as Clay though and he drilled low towards the goal and his effort took a slight deflection and just crossed the line.
The linesman on the far side raised his flag to signal a goal and Orient had their equaliser at long last.
Soon after the full time whistle was blown and frustration boiled over in the Eastleigh camp with boss Richard Hill showing his anger.
For O’s it was another point on the board and they remain unbeaten at home thanks to Clay’s late show.
Leyton Orient: Grainger; Caprice, Coulson, Elokobi, Widdowson; Dayton, Lawless, Clay, McAnuff (Boco 69); Mooney (Koroma 69), Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Sendles-White, Ochieng.
Eastleigh: Stack; Obileye, Boyce, Howe, Wood (Green 61); Constable, Hollands, Togwell, Yeates; Zebroski (McAllister 71), Williamson (Matthews 76).
Unused substitutes: Flitney, Miley.
Attendance: 4,373 (261 Eastleigh supporters).