Late show earns Orient share of the spoils against Oxford United
- Credit: Archant
Sky Bet League Two: Leyton Orient 2 Oxford United 2
Leyton Orient came back from two goals down to rescue a point against Oxford United at Brisbane Road after a thrilling League Two clash in east London.
It seemed like being a disappointing afternoon for the home supporters as the Yellows were two ahead at the break and Ian Hendon’s side looked void of ideas.
But Jay Simpson pulled one back with his 10th of the campaign and the visitors were then reduced to 10-men.
And Scott Kashket rescued a point with a well taken goal, his first for the club, to earn the O’s a share of the spoils.
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Hendon made three changes to the team beaten at Crawley Town last weekend with one enforced because Alan Dunne missed out due to suspension.
Captain Mathieu Baudry was back fit to replace him and Blair Turgott and John Marquis were handed their first league starts for the club.
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Jack Payne and Ollie Palmer dropped to the bench as a result and the O’s lined up in a traditional 4-4-2 with Cox out on the left and Turgott on the opposite flank.
The Yellows included former Orient loanee John Lundstram in their starting team – the former Everton midfielder has had two spells at Brisbane Road in the past.
Kemar Roofe also started and was certainly somebody the hosts needed to keep an eye on with eight goals already this season for Oxford.
The O’s got the match underway and the atmosphere inside Brisbane Road was electric with the away supporters remembered the previous meeting between the two teams.
It came at the end of the 2005/06 campaign when Oxford were relegated after Orient beat them 3-2 and the east Londoners actually earned promotion thanks to that result.
Hendon’s men began well and Dean Cox nearly created the opener for Turgott inside the opening two minutes, but his effort was blocked.
The Yellows began to take control with around 10 minutes gone and won a succession of corners.
Although they couldn’t threat with the first couple, they did make their dominance count in the 16th minute.
Jordan Graham crossed into the box and Orient captain Baudry got his attempted clearance all wrong. All he did was set the ball perfectly for Roofe and he slotted in from close range.
It was not the start the O’s had hoped for after losing at Crawley last weekend and just added to the away fans excitement.
Frustration was growing and Cox was booked midway through the first half for a silly foul and from the resulting free kick Johnny Mullins shot from range, but Alex Cisak gathered at the second attempt.
Michael Appleton’s side had looked good in the opening 25 minutes and the home fans were getting restless after a couple of long balls easily went through to Sam Slocombe in the Yellows goal.
Orient tested Slocombe for the first time in the 31st minute when Simpson did well to keep hold of the ball and lay off to Sean Clohessy, but his cross was easily gathered.
Unfortunately things got worst for the O’s two minutes later as Lundstram let fire from outside the area and his effort took a massive deflection and wrong-footed Cisak to put Oxford two up.
The home custodian could do nothing about the effort, which appeared to go in off Connor Essam, and it was the visitors who were enjoying themselves in east London.
Orient did try to respond and fashioned a decent chance five minutes before the break when Cox crossed in and Marquis won the initial header.
Turgott did well to win the loose ball and Marquis had a close range effort deflected wide for a corner.
From the set piece Baudry met the centre by Cox, but he headed into the ground and it went harmlessly wide.
One minute of stoppage time was added on, but the O’s couldn’t fashion another chance and when the half time whistle came they left the field to boos from some of the home supporters.
It had been an incredibly frustrating half of football and there didn’t seem too much Hendon could do to change the tide of the match.
Payne and Palmer were introduced at the break for Cox and Turgott, both of whom had been quiet, and Orient changed their formation.
Marquis sat just behind Simpson and Palmer while Payne took up his usual position in front of the back four.
The Peterborough United loanee was immediately getting on the ball and looking to get it forward quickly, which was required.
It was that urgency that helped lift the mood inside the stadium and in the 55th minute they nearly reduced the arrears.
Sammy Moore whipped in a dangerous free kick towards the back post and Baudry headed over when he should have at least hit the target.
Orient were dominating possession now, but just struggling to break down a compact and well drilled Oxford side with an hour played at Brisbane Road.
Then, almost from nowhere, the hosts got one back thanks to a brilliant bit of play from the half time substitutes.
Payne picked out Palmer with a wonderful long pass and the big forward knocked it down for Simpson, who just managed to beat Slocombe in the away goal.
With 26 minutes remaining the O’s had been given a chance of salvaging a result and Marquis nearly equalised shortly afterwards before things got better just two minutes later when Graham was shown a red card.
The Oxford man had been booked for bringing down Chicksen earlier in the half and received a second yellow from referee Ross Joyce for kicking the ball away.
All of a sudden the momentum was with the east Londoners and the home supporters were in fine voice again.
Baudry went close with a header from Moore’s corner in the 73rd minute as the pressure continued to build from Hendon’s team.
The captain was involved four minutes later too as his knockdown was chested by Essam, he went down inside the area, but referee Joyce only gave a goal kick.
Kashket was introduced for Marquis moments later, but it was the visitors that nearly put the game to bed when Liam Sercombe had two efforts.
His first was after Baudry had given the ball away and the Oxford midfielder ghosted past Essam before Cisak blocked his shot smartly.
The corner came in and fell nicely for Sercombe outside the box and his volley seemed destined for the bottom corner, but the Australian brilliantly tipped wide.
With five minutes remaining another Palmer knockdown nearly fell perfectly for Simpson. Joe Skarz, however, was on hand to deny the Orient top goalscorer.
He back heeled over the crossbar three minutes later too when Essam knocked down, but it was a difficult chance.
Time was running out for the O’s and only four minutes of stoppage time were added on, but it was enough.
Palmer again won the ball and it rolled all the way across to Kashket and he drilled into the bottom corner to score his first professional goal for the club.
Brisbane Road was rocking and they nearly were celebrating a winner when Palmer chested it down inside the area, but Slocombe was out quickly to gather.
Back down the other end and Sercombe nearly won it for Oxford when he volleyed goalwards, but fortunately it sailed well wide.
In the last minute of stoppage time, Simpson had a shot blocked and that was it. The O’s had come back from two down to rescue a point against the Yellows.
The second half was much better from Hendon’s men and the point moved them up to fifth in the table ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Luton Town.
Leyton Orient: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry, Essam, Chicksen, Turgott (Payne 46), Moore, Pritchard, Cox (Palmer 46), Simpson, Marquis (Kashket 79).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Shaw, James, Moncur.
Oxford United: Slocombe, Baldock, Skarz, Roofe, Mullins, Wright, Sercombe, O’Dowda (MacDonald 80), Graham, Lundstram, Taylor (Hoban 80).
Unused substitutes: Buchel, Rose, Hylton, Ruffels, Dunkley.
Attendance: 6,296 (1,388 Oxford United supporters).