Leyton Orient's Dean Brill lives up to his name with star showing against Tranmere Rovers
PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 February 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
The 32-year-old produced a string of brilliant saves to help O’s claim a 1-1 draw on Saturday
There was a four-minute period during Leyton Orient’s match with Tranmere Rovers on Saturday when it seemed like Dean Brill was unbeatable.
With the score 1-1, Rovers decided to go for the jugular and between the 66th and 70th minute at Brisbane Road, it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors retook the lead.
Andy Cook was the first to be denied 21 minutes into the second-half when George Elokobi miscontrolled a loose ball and the away forward raced through on goal.
Brill made himself big, though, and managed to deflect his strike onto the post and behind for a corner.
It sparked Tranmere into life and with 69 on the clock, they threatened again as Ben Tollitt linked up with Connor Jennings and the latter fired towards goal from a tight angle, but Orient’s experienced stopper parried his effort onto the post and wide.
From the resulting corner Micky Mellon’s team went even closer as Brill had to stay alert to save Cook’s 12-yard volley despite Jennings, directly in front of him, swinging and missing in his attempts to get a telling touch on the original strike.
Jennings hit the crossbar from the rebound as O’s survived the visitors purple patch before threatening on several occasions themselves.
But right at the death there was time for one final away chance as Tollitt beat several opponents before playing in Cook, but Brill again made himself big, stood up tall and got down low to his left to make a stunning save.
Saturday’s game highlighted once more the quality of Orient’s current number one and it saw the 32-year-old return to his best.
Brill has set high standards since his O’s debut on December 2 during a 1-0 defeat at Solihull Moors.
The former Luton Town goalkeeper has played a big part in Justin Edinburgh’s side moving up to 17th and away from danger, but in recent fixtures, before the clash with Tranmere, a couple of errors had crept into his game.
It was Brill who was at fault for Aldershot Town’s winner on January 27 after he let Adam McDonnell’s low strike squirm under his body.
Yet considering the wet and muddy conditions at Brisbane Road on that Saturday, it was a surprise Orient’s goalkeeper coach didn’t make more errors against the Shots.
Nevertheless, it was a costly mistake, but he bounced back with a solid showing in the 2-1 victory at Halifax Town days later on January 30.
Brill had another eventful afternoon at Dover Athletic in the third round of the FA Trophy on February 3 though.
The O’s raced into a three-goal lead by the 53rd minute, but only after a string of top saves from their goalkeeper coach.
Dover then produced a sterling fightback and Brill, like the rest of his team-mates, suffered a lapse in concentration.
Poor communication between Josh Coulson and Orient’s goalkeeper saw Brill lobbed by Mitch Pinnock to reduce the deficit to one with nine minutes to go.
The hosts then equalised just over 60 seconds later when Ryan Bird fired home after an impressive save by the away stopper.
David Mooney got the east Londoners out of jail, however, with a superb chipped shot in stoppage time to hand Edinburgh’s team a 4-3 win and prevent a replay.
It gave Orient a big boost heading into their clash with Tranmere and Brill was back to his brilliant best.
Without him, O’s may well have lost and if the east Londoners are to achieve success between now and May, they will need their experienced goalkeeper to keep up the wonderful form he’s shown over the last two-and-a-half months.