O's unable to break down dogged Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 17:11 17 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:11 17 August 2019
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League Two: Leyton Orient 0 Stevenage 0
Leyton Orient fired a third consecutive blank to only draw 0-0 at home to Stevenage in League Two this afternoon.
Ross Embleton saw his team create a number of chances, but they failed to make the most of them and Paul Farman was also in fine form for the visitors.
It resulted in a goalless draw, which means O's have only netted once during their last seven matches in all competitions stretching back to last season.
Embleton stuck with the 3-5-2/3-4-1-2 formation despite limited success in the losses at Macclesfield Town and Plymouth Argyle over the past week.
At least Orient had a win to their name this season, something Stevenage did not prior to kick-off after three consecutive defeats.
The visitors' squad had been ravaged by injuries, but O's were also missing a number of key men with Jamie Turley, Jobi McAnuff and James Dayton absent.
Joe Widdowson was fit again and made his first start at Brisbane Road this season in a left wing-back role with Sam Ling on the opposite flank.
Centre back Scott Cuthbert was back at his old stomping ground and needed treatment early on, but the Hertfordshire club had another problem by the seventh minute when Terence Vancooten had to be replaced.
Luis Fernandez replaced him and by this point both teams had enjoyed attacks with the away side forcing a free kick and corner early on before Orient counter-attacked and Lee Angol saw an effort deflected over by Cuthbert.
O's produced some superb football in the 10th minute with a free-flowing move seeing Widdowson picked out in space, but Conor Wilkinson could only head against one of Stevenage's centre backs.
The ball was kept alive by Embleton's team, though, and James Brophy was played in down the right and cut inside before lashing wide from a tight angle.
It had been an excellent start by the hosts' and it was exactly what was required after a disappointing couple of results in the week.
Borough manager Dino Maamria expressed his frustration with 17 on the clock after Kurtis Guthrie appeared to be fouled by Dan Happe, but referee Lee Swabey waved away the appeals.
Orient looked to be firmly in their stride now with Wilkinson having a few more shots and Josh Wright also opening the scoring in the 21st minute.
Brophy and Ling combined with the wing-back perfectly picking out Wright inside the area, but his low effort was superbly tipped wide by Farman.
Ling almost tested him again two minutes later, but his effort was deflected behind for a corner after more good play by Brophy.
Stevenage then enjoyed a foray forward and thought they had won a penalty with 26 on the clock, especially after referee Swabey initially pointed to the spot.
Guthrie latched onto the loose ball, after Coulson's well-timed challenge, and Happe slide in and seemed to catch the forward inside the area.
Referee Swabey pointed to the penalty spot, but the linesman came onto the pitch and after the pair had spoken, the decision was reversed to a corner.
Stevenage were incensed and had to make another substitution with nine minutes of the half left when Cuthbert's race was run and he eventually conceded he could no longer continue after suffering an injury in the opening exchanges.
O's were not letting it affect them, however, and remained committed to passing the ball around and creating chances.
The odd dribble helped, usually from Brophy and he left Paul Taylor in his shadow with 40 played, but the end product was lacking and his cross evaded everyone in the area and flew out of play for a throw.
Wilkinson and Angol were looking lively and nearly combined soon after, but a shot by the former was blocked.
Maamria's team then reminded Orient of their quality when Chris Stokes free kick landed on the roof of Dean Brill's net after another smart break.
Stevenage were a threat on the counter-attack and although eight minutes of stoppage time was added on - largely due to the visitors' injury problems - no goals occurred and it stayed all square and goalless at the break.
Embleton would have been pleased with various elements of Orient's play and yet it had no produced a goal as of yet.
Wright tried to change that in the 48th minute after playing a one-two with Wilkinson, but his effort was blocked. O's went even closer three minutes later and Farman had to be at his best to keep the scores level.
Forward Wilkinson dribbled into the area and worked some space, but saw his fierce strike saved by Stevenage's number one. Angol was first to the loose ball and fired at goal, but again there was Farman to save.
It was not one-way traffic though, with Taylor drilling wide from 25-yards soon after and it gave the noisy 442 travelling supporters something else to shout about.
They had made a terrific amount of noise in east London, but were nearly silenced on the hour mark when Brophy went on another mazy run and found Wilkinson and yet his effort was blocked.
Orient produced more quality in the 64th minute when Ling's outstanding cross found Wilkinson, but he failed to poke towards goal and Farman beat Angol to the loose ball and took a whack to the head for his troubles.
Embleton's team remained in the ascendancy, but a change was made with 19 left as ex-Borough midfielder Dale Gorman replaced Craig Clay after another tireless shift.
Stevenage failed to make the most of a good opening moments later when Stokes' cross found Taylor in the area, yet he could only fire into the ground.
Louis Dennis was the next player to come on for Orient, taking the place of Wilkinson who had threatened, but failed to make the decisive different in the final third.
Time was running out for the O's to grab the opener and tension was growing on the sidelines with the home coaching staff becoming frustrated with Stevenage's time-wasting.
A third and final substitutes was made with 81 on the clock with Matt Harrold now up top and Widdowson moving inside to the left centre back role after Happe needed to be replaced.
Chances were still frequent for Orient and Gorman tried his luck from 25-yards, which caught out Farman and he fumbled the effort.
Ling was first to the loose ball and whipped a ball across the face of goal, but at the back post Dennis was unable to get the required touch and Stevenage's supporters' continued to enjoy their visit to the capital.
Maamria replaced Taylor with Jason Cowley on the stroke of full time and then four minutes were added on.
While O's continued to keep possession and had Borough pinned in at times, it was the visitors who almost stole the points.
Danny Newton fired towards goal with virtually the last kick of the game, but Brill got down low and saved impressively to ensure Orient claimed a point.
It had been an entertaining game, much better than the scoreline suggest, although the east Londoners would have hoped for better than a draw.
Next up for Embleton's side is a trip to unbeaten Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.
Leyton Orient: Brill; Ekpiteta, Coulson, Happe (Harrold 82); Ling, Wright, Clay (Gorman 71), Brophy, Widdowson; Wilkinson (Dennis 75), Angol.
Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Judd, Maguire-Drew, Alabi.
Stevenage: Farman; Wildin, Vancooten (Fernandez 7), Cuthbert (c) (Iontton 36), Watts, Stones; Carter, Soares, Taylor (Cowley 90); Newton, Guthrie.
Unused substitutes: Bastien, Byrom, Husin, Rollinson.
Attendance: 5,104 (442 Stevenage supporters).