James earns O’s point after battle at York

Leyton Orient midfielder Lloyd James celebrates a goal (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo).

Leyton Orient midfielder Lloyd James celebrates a goal (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo). - Credit: David Simpson/TGS Photo

Sky Bet League Two: York City 1 Leyton Orient 1

Lloyd James scored 15 minutes from time to salvage Leyton Orient a point at struggling York City in League Two.

Kevin Nolan’s men found it tough against a side battling relegation and trailed at half time following Bradley Fewster’s goal.

But James was introduced in the 66th minute and found the net with a stunning low drive to give them a draw and keep them eighth.

The O’s were given a big boost as Shaun Brisley returned from a dead leg to partner Peter Ramage at the heart of defence.

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Jobi McAnuff also started out on the left after returning from international duty, but Calaum Jahraldo-Martin was on the substitutes bench.

Armand Gnanduillet was among the replacements at Bootham Crescent. Jack Payne, despite impressing against Hartlepool United, wasn’t included in the match day squad due to the loan ruling.

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York got the action underway and made a fantastic start. Brisley missed his clearance and it allowed Lewis Alessandra to latch onto the ball.

He dribbled past Jerome Binnom-Williams before forcing Alex Cisak to claw the ball away from goal. Michael Coulson picked up the loose ball, but Nicky Hunt blocked his effort.

The Minstermen still forced a corner which Ramage managed to head behind for another before the second was cleared.

With six minutes gone, Brisley made another mistake as he tried to head forward, but mistimed his jump and Alessandra ran through.

He took too long, however, despite bearing down on goal and the Posh loanee got back tackle and despite penalty appeals, referee Trevor Kettle correctly gave nothing.

Palmer helped the east Londoners settle down by having a header saved before racing onto Nigel Atangana’s long ball and forcing home goalkeeper Scott Flinders.

The former Mansfield Town forward was having a good game and had been O’s most influential player in the opening 15 minutes.

But three minutes later and the visitors found themselves behind after switching off at the back when Luke Summerfield’s cross was smashed in by Fewster.

Alex Cisak was left with no chance and it left Orient facing a third consecutive defeat at a critical time of the campaign.

McAnuff nearly helped the away side level when he played in Nolan down the left and the player-manager delivered a dangerous ball into the box.

Jay Simpson couldn’t get on the end of it, though, and Palmer could only collect it facing away from goal and his cross was blocked.

York, despite sitting 21st in the table, had dominated the opening half an hour, but the east Londoners went close in the 31st minute.

An intelligent ball forward by Nolan forced a throw. Hunt took it long and Palmer flicked it on across the face of goal, but nobody was able to knock it in.

The O’s took confidence from that and Nolan pressured Femi Ilesanmi which forced the left-back to knock the ball back to goalkeeper Flinders.

He was closed down by Palmer and smashed his clearance against the forward, but fortunately the ball bounced up and into his arms.

And then another ball knocked forward by Nolan was controlled by Simpson before he was tackled. McAnuff latched on it and had a shot deflected just past the post with 35 minutes played.

It was the closest the visitors had gone to equalising, but despite winning numerous corners in quick succession, they couldn’t do anything from them.

Two minutes before the interval the east Londoners were given a great opportunity to level with William Boyle handed inside the penalty area.

Referee Kettle pointed to the spot and McAnuff stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his low effort smashed against the post.

Minstermen broke brilliantly from that point and only some desperate defending from Orient ensured they did concede for a second time.

Another long ball forward nearly got Palmer through on goal, but Flinders come out to head clear.

Nolan brilliantly knocked the ball back towards a dangerous area smashing into Luke Hendrie fairly.

But Palmer’s challenge to control the ball saw him connect accidently with Boyle’s head and a foul was given with the York defender needing treatment.

The home fans were furious during two minutes of stoppage time when they weren’t given a penalty when James Berrett went down inside the box.

Ramage did appear to put a foot out for the midfielder to go to the ground, but referee booked the home ace for diving and caused the Minstermen supporters to vent their fury at half time.

While they would have been delighted with their team, they had reached boiling point with the referee Kettle and O’s would have been pleased to come in just one down.

The hosts had to make an early substitution when Ilesanmi pulled his hamstring and it enabled the opening exchanges of the second period to be slow.

Orient slowly began to get on top and Simpson had an effort over after Palmer’s flick before Binnom-Williams and McAnuff starting to link up.

Both were getting plenty of the ball on the left and a corner from the Jamaican was headed wide by Brisley.

In the 66th minute the visitors went close again when Nolan had a header saved by Flinders before Simpson’s shot was blocked.

Jahraldo-Martin and James were introduced after with Atangana and Sean Clohessy the two to make way at Bootham Crescent.

And James, unsurprisingly had an immediate impact, as he crossed into the box and Ramage saw a header tipped over by Flinders.

Orient were increasing the pressure now and McAnuff’s stunning curling effort forced the York goalkeeper to make another top save.

The visitors cause was helped a little bit more when Boyle was shown a second yellow card for a dive and given his marching orders in the 74th minute.

Moments later and finally the east Londoners were level and it was the former Wales under-21 midfielder who made the difference.

James latched onto the ball just outside the Minstermen area and rifled an effort through a number of bodies and into the net.

He was involved again moments later as his dangerous cross was held before Gnanduillet come on for Palmer.

A minute later and the hosts nearly went back in front against the run of play when Fewster headed an effort against the crossbar.

The O’s were pushing and pushing now and a driving run from Nolan resulted in Gnanduillet having a shot blocked before Flinders gathered.

Six minutes of stoppage time were added on at Bootham Crescent and it started to become desperate for both sides.

First Galbraith received a yellow for a desperate pull bag on Gnanduillet and then James was given a caution for a professional foul.

A last gasp free kick gave Orient hope but James’ ball was headed over by Brisley and they had to settle for a point.

It wasn’t the result the O’s would have wanted, but they still remain just a point outside the play-offs and in eighth place.

York City: Flinders, Hendrie, Boyle, Winfield, Ilesanmi (Galbraith 48), Bennett, Berrett, Summerfield, Coulson (Oliver 70), Alessandra, Fewster.

Unused substitutes: Ingham, Riordan, Hyde, Dixon, McEvoy.

Leyton Orient: Cisak, Hunt, Ramage, Brisley, Binnom-Williams, Clohessy (Jahraldo-Martin 66), Nolan, Atangana (James 66), McAnuff, Simpson, Palmer (Gnanduillet 80).

Unused substitutes: Gregory, Moore, Turgott, Pollock, Gnanduillet.

Attendance: 3,234 (656 Leyton Orient supporters).

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