Odubajo strike earns crucial draw for Orient
PUBLISHED: 14:13 10 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:13 10 May 2014
League One play-off semi-final first leg: Peterborough United 1 Leyton Orient 1
Moses Odubajo’s late tap in earned Orient a crucial draw at Peterborough in the play-off semi-final first leg.
Britt Assombalonga’s controversial opener looked like it was going to consign the visitors to a harsh defeat.
English football’s top scorer headed home from point blank range – but television replays suggested the striker was offside when Mark Little supplied the cross.
But Odubajo tapped in his 11th goal of the season after Bobby Olejnik palmed David Mooney’s shot into his path.
Orient were back to full strength with the return of Scott Cuthbert following a groin injury – Gary Sawyer dropped to the bench.
And the visitors missed a golden chance to take the lead with less than two minutes on the clock. Kevin Lisbie drilled a shot across the face of goal and Mooney – needing one goal to become the first Orient player to bag 20 league goals in a season for 36 years – was inches away from supplying the finishing touch.
But it was Posh, who finished 12 points behind the O’s in the League One table this season, who drew first blood after 16 minutes.
Jamie Jones parried Danny Swanson’s long range effort but Little collected the ball and Assombalonga bagged his 25th league goal of the season.
Orient’s appeals for offisde were in vain as they waited for a flag that never came.
That signalled a period of Peterborough pressure as the home side went into the ascendancy.
Referee Graham Salisbury turned away penalty appeals after visiting skipper Nathan Clarke challenged Assombalonga but it was Orient who finished the half the stronger.
Mooney saw an audacious overhead attempt hit the side netting before Romain Vincelot fired wide from 30 yards.
And they somehow failed to find the net following a goalmouth scramble when both Dean Cox and Mooney scuffed at shots in the penalty area before Olejnik saved Cox’s shot right on half-time.
Orient started the second half the way they ended the first and Odubajo’s cross intended for Mooney was cut out by Kgosi Ntlhe – it would have been a tap in.
Assombalonga shot straight at Jones before Tommy Rowe fired just wide but it was the O’s who finished the stronger.
Lisbie missed a golden chance after Mathieu Baudry’s barnstorming run out of defence, but a double change by Orient boss Russell Slade made all the difference.
Lloyd James and Shaun Batt entered the fray with 20 minutes remaining and the latter had an instant impact, flicking a long ball on for Mooney who was denied by Olejnik – and Odubajo could not miss.
Baudry had a header cleared off the line and Cox was denied twice by Olejnik as the visitors looked to take a lead back to Brisbane Road
Odubajo fired a volley inches wide of the far post late on but there is all to play for on Tuesday night as the O’s look to book their first Wembley appearance since 1999.
Orient: Jones; Cuthbert, Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi; Odubajo, Vincelot, Lundstram (James 70), Cox; Lisbie (Batt 70), Mooney. Substitutes not used: Larkins, Sawyer, Ness, Bartley, Dagnall.