Somewhere between riding their luck and wasting it, Orient took a small single point step towards safety in League One by keeping promotion-chasing Oldham to a draw at Brisbane Road.
The game started well with both sides making inroads and even the weakened home side were holding up well. Jason Demetriou was a spectator in midfield, a situation which continued for the entire match and there was certainly a lack of edge in midfield with no Chambers or Guttridge to sweep up. Once Tudor was substituted for Hooper due to injury the midfield looked very ineffective for most of the match.
Then, from nothing, Alexander pulled a goal out of nowhere on 13 minutes. As the half went on Oldham were looking stronger but with the one goal cushion we felt there was a good chance of a draw at least.
That feeling changed early in the second half when the goalscorer was harshly sent off for a second bookable offence and Orient were down to ten men. Oldham’s chances were coming closer and closer and in all they hit the bar three times in the second half. Against the run of play new signing Hooper managed to hook a ball over the keeper and put Orient 2-0 up.
Still, the home fans sensed that Oldham’s strength couldn’t be held back for another twenty minutes and in fact it was a very short time before woeful defending let in the first goal. Garner could have had the ball, and the rest of the defence stood still. To be fair to the goalkeeper there were opportunities saved and on average his performance was generally fair.
So, at only 2-1 up, it was a case of holding on with the ten men. Of course, we didn’t, and another terrible error by Saah left him flailing in his own area and ending up giving a penalty away when a simple clearance a few seconds earlier was the obvious option. The penalty was well taken and it was 2-2 with nearly fiftenn minutes of play left.
Somehow, though, the O’s held on for the point despite numerous close shaves, close offside decisions, and other defensive errors. But a point is a point and although we didn’t really deserve it from the game there are times when a bit of luck helps. The only regret is that our luck was good but defensive mistakes let us down and with a bit of discipline we could have stolen the full three points.
Leyton Orient 2-2 Oldham on the BBC site