David Mooney ends 10-match goalscoring drought, but Leyton Orient can only draw at Barrow
- Credit: Archant
National League: Barrow 2 Leyton Orient 2
Goals from David Mooney and Craig Clay could only earn Leyton Orient a point away to Barrow this afternoon.
Steve Davis’ team went into the contest without a National League win in six games and unfortunately saw that run extended.
A major positive for the O’s was the fact Mooney ended his 10-match goalscoring drought, but they yet again failed to keep a clean sheet and sit 17th in the table.
Having gone another game without a win, the east Londoners are now five points off the play-off positions and six points ahead of the bottom four.
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Orient were without Matt Harrold for the match after his reoccurring calf problem returned following Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat at Tranmere Rovers.
Mooney returned to the side in place of the tall forward and wore the captain’s armband at Holker Street.
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Jamie Sendles-White and Joe Widdowson were also handed starts with Dan Happe and James Dayton dropping to the bench.
The O’s played a 3-5-2 formation at Barrow with James Brophy and Jake Caprice acting as wing-backs.
After a six-match run without a victory, it was a positive to see Davis try something different in Cumbria.
Orient’s head coach kept faith with a number of players who in recent weeks had disappointed, however, and would have hoped to see them reward his trust.
The opening quarter of an hour went by without much noteworthy action, but it was Barrow who had the first effort when Chris Clement worked a yard of space, yet could only fire wide.
Soon after that opportunity O’s created a chance of their own in the 19th minute and they made the most of it.
Brophy did well on the left and found Mooney, who managed to rifle past Joel Dixon and into the bottom corner.
Orient were now looking to make the most of their advantage, after holding onto the lead at Tranmere for just four minutes.
But it was a case of déjà vu for Davis’ side, as Barrow equalised less than 240 seconds after Mooney’s opener.
Bedsente Gomis struck past Charlie Grainger with 23 minutes on the clock to make it all square in Cumbria.
It boosted the hosts and Byron Harrison had a goal disallowed two minutes later for offside after converting Alex-Ray Harvey’s free kick.
Orient made the most of that reprieve by retaking the lead in the 27th minute when Clay netted his third goal of the season.
A Jobi McAnuff free kick caused chaos in the Bluebirds penalty area and a goalmouth scramble occurred with Clay on hand to fire into the net.
Davis’ team were brimming with confidence now and Macauley Bonne tested Dixon in the 31st minute.
Set-pieces were still proving to be a problem for O’s, however, and Harrison wasted a good chance two minutes later, as he headed over from a free kick.
Barrow put more pressure on Grainger’s goal in the 37th minute and a Jimmy Dunne centre caused some panic in the visitors area.
Orient responded though, with Clay heading straight at Dixon from Brophy’s corner and then the fourth goal of the match occurred.
The O’s failed to deal with a cross into the area and Jordan White was on hand to beat Grainger at the back post.
It was a poor time for Orient to concede – four minutes before half time – and the away side ended on the back foot.
Grainger was called into action a couple of times before referee Andrew Miller brought the opening 45 to an end.
After a poor finish to the first half, O’s managed to start strongly after the interval and went close to taking the lead again in the 47th minute.
Mooney linked up nicely with Bonne, yet could only fire wide, but Orient weren’t finished there.
Four minutes later and O’s club captain managed to get behind the Barrow back four, but Dixon stopped him from picking out his strike partner.
It was all Orient now and Mooney tested the Bluebirds custodian again moments later after combining with Clay.
Bonne was the next away player to go close, as he linked up impressively with O’s captain, but Dixon was on hand to deny him.
After surviving a sustained spell of pressure, Barrow managed to regain a foothold in the match with an hour played.
Grainger needed some treatment after colliding with Harrison and it appeared to take the sting out of the visitors’ momentum.
Though good play by Caprice on the right nearly saw Bonne get in, but Mooney couldn’t tee up his team-mate.
Davis made a change soon after, as he introduced Myles Judd for his first appearance of the season.
Caprice was the man to make way with 18 minutes remaining at Holker Park and O’s went close yet again.
Mooney, after an already eventful afternoon, tested Dixon with a low drive after smartly taking a touch to compose himself.
Barrow then went close themselves when Jack Barthram’s cross found White, but Grainger saved his header.
It gave the hosts a lift and they went even closer in the 76th minute when Widdowson cleared another White shot away from goal.
Harrison then poked wide after excellent play by Hughes and Clement, as Bluebirds enjoyed a lengthy period of pressure.
Davis responded by bringing on Happe for Sendles-White with 10 minutes left and then made another substitution in the 86th minute.
Dayton came on in place of McAnuff with Orient hoping to end their winless run in the final exchanges at Holker Park.
O’s players called on referee Miller to award a penalty just before the 90-minute mark when Brophy went down after a mazy run.
Nothing was given, however, and four minutes of additional time were added on at a dark and gloomy Cumbria.
A lengthy stoppage occurred in additional time when Ellis needed treatment to his head and it took some moments before play could resume.
When it did, both sides were unable to create a final clear-cut opportunity and so they had to settle for a point.
Orient had ended their run of two consecutive defeats, but have now gone seven games without a win - stretching back to September 2.
By the time they resume their National League campaign on October 21 at home to Macclesfield Town, they wouldn’t have claimed a victory in the division for close to seven weeks.
Next up for O’s is a short trip to local rivals Dagenham & Redbridge in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday where Davis will be desperate for a win.
Leyton Orient: Grainger; Ellis, Sendles-White (Happe 80), Widdowson; Caprice (Judd 72), Lawless, McAnuff (Dayton 86), Clay; Brophy; Mooney, Bonne.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Boco.
Attendance: 1,796 (290 Leyton Orient supporters).