Butcher the Orient hero at Notts County
League One: Notts County 1 Leyton Orient 2
Goalkeeper Lee Butcher emerged as the Orient hero with a penalty save in the third minute of stoppage time during a drama-drenched finish at Meadow Lane on Saturday as the visitors held on to take the points.
Skipper Stephen Dawson had put O’s ahead on the stroke of half-time and substitute Jonathan Tehoue added a second five minutes from time.
But County’s Lee Hughes cut the deficit 60 seconds later to set up a nail-biting finish and O’s, who had five players booked, also had Leon McSweeney sent off when he conceded that last-gasp spot kick.
However, O’s held on to their advantage as Butcher came to the rescue with his penalty save and Russell Slade’s side have now lost just one of their last 12 league games.
The Orient boss named the same starting 11 that had beaten Exeter City the previous weekend, but both sides struggled to make much headway in the first 45 minutes as all the drama was reserved for the closing stages.
The home side had more of the play, but rarely tested visiting keeper Butcher. His first save came on 14 minutes when Jeff Hughes fired in a shot following an Alan Sheenan corner.
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Then, two minutes later, the visiting keeper denied the same player, as the home side tried to make the most of their possession.
But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 44 minutes when skipper Dawson fired an effort into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box.
It was his first league goal of the season and it could not have come at a better time, so close to the interval.
After the break the O’s held firm as they looked to record their third away win of the season and it was 10 minutes before the home side were able to test Butcher, when Lee Hughes fired in another shot.
Then, on the hour, he was denied by the O’s keeper again, but it was the visitors who had more of the possession as they looked to keep their good league run going.
The Orient boss made his first change on 66 minutes when David Mooney replaced Jamie Cureton, as the visitors looked to close the game out, but County almost levelled 17 minutes from time when Lee Hughes struck an effort against the post from close range.
Orient threw George Porter into the action on 77 minutes in place of Lee Cook, in what was his last appearance for before returning to QPR at the end of a month-long loan spell.
But it was County who continued to look for the leveller and Butcher saved again from Lee Hughes on 79 minutes.
Seven minutes from the end Orient made their final change as Jonathan Tehoue replaced Kevin Lisbie and the moved worked wonders.
Tehoue, who had come on as a substitute and scored within two minutes against Exeter City, repeated the feat as he fired home from close range after Mooney set him up five minutes from time.
The goal should have wrapped things up, but County pulled a goal back 60 seconds later when Hughes fired home from 16 yards after good work by Jeff Hughes.
In a frantic finale, Butcher saved from Lee Hughes and then Scott Cuthbert blocked a shot from County substitute Ishmel Demontagnac.
But in the third minute of stoppage time referee Andy Haines awarded the home side a penalty and dismissed McSweeney for a foul on Jeff Hughes.
It was a golden chance for the home side to level, but keeper Butcher emerged as the hero when he saved Jeff Hughes’ spot-kick.
He then denied Karl Hawley, as O’s survived six minutes of stoppage time to keep their excellent run going on a freezing afternoon at Meadow Lane
Notts County: Nelson, Kelly (Demontagnac 77 mins), Sheehan, Edwards, Sodje, Bishop, J Hughes, Judge, Mahon (Allen 17 mines), Hawley, L Hughes. Subs: Mitchell, Hollis, Bencherif, Allen.
Notts County bookings: Sodjie (58 mins unsporting behaviour), L Hughes (64 mins unsporting behaviour), Bishop (89 mins unsporting behaviour).
Leyton Orient: Butcher; McSweeney, Cuthbert, Forbes, Craig; Smith, Spring, Dawson, Cook (Porter 77 mins), Lisbie (Tehoue 83 mins), Cureton (Mooney 66 mins) . Subs: Laird, Lobjoit,
Orient bookings: Dawson (30 mins unsporting behaviour), McSweeney (40 mins unsporting behaviour), Spring (66 mins unsporting behaviour), Mooney (81 mins unsporting behaviour), Butcher (82 mins unsporting behaviour).
Orient dismissals: McSweeney (90+3 professional foul)
Referee: Andy Haines