Chorley strikes as Orient make a point
Defender levels at a soggy Spotland
FULL-TIME: Rochdale 1 Orient 1
ORIENT defender Ben Chorley grabbed a second-half equaliser to earn the visitors a point and get central defensive partner Terrell Forbes out of jail.
The O’s have lost just one of their last 11 games in all competitions – but looked to be on their way to defeat at the break after Forbes had put through his own net in the first half.
It was a disappointing first 45 minutes for the FA Cup giant killers, as they failed to make any sort of impression at a wet and soggy Spotland.
The game survived a pitch inspection when match referee Andy Haines took a long hard look at the conditions before giving the green light, but both sides struggled to take a grip early on and it was O’s who created the first real chance when Matthew Spring, who passed a late fitness test, curled an effort just past the post.
Orient manager Russell Slade made two changes to the side that had beaten Norwich.
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Andrew Whing came in at right back to replace the injured Elliot Omozusi, who missed his first league game of the season, while Scott McGleish returned up front in place of Jonathan Tehoue.
As the half progressed Rochdale, looking for their fourth successive win, started to take a semblance of control.
Former Orient loanee Nicky Adams and Alan Goodall combined down the right to set up a shooting opportunity for the former Leicester man, but O’s keeper Jamie Jones saved comfortably.
Then, home full back Joe Widdowson hit a dipping effort that flew just over the bar.
Rochdale’s breakthrough came on 34 minutes when Forbes, who had been outstanding at Norwich, put through his own goal.
Alex Revell half-cleared a Brian Barry-Murphy corner, but when the ball bounced back to the Rochdale man, he whipped in a cross and Forbes, at the near post, could only flick the ball past a despairing Jones.
The reverse failed to spark the visitors and Rochdale continued to press. Jones did well to keep out an effort from Chris O’Grady, before he tipped a shot from Goodall over the bar.
Manager Slade made a change at half-time as Paul-Jose M’Poku was thrown into the fray in place of Spring as the visitors switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
However, it was Rochdale that continued to look the most threatening and Jones was called into action when he saved well with his legs to deny Liam Dickinson five minutes after the restart.
With the conditions starting to deteriorate, O’s almost capitalised when McGleish intercepted a pass that stuck in the mud, but dragged an effort just wide from 35 yards.
Jones, by far the busier of the two goalkeepers, was in action again and did well to hang on to an O’Grady shot from 20 yards.
O’s went close on the hour when home keeper Josh Lillis conceded a free-kick. He was forced to handle after Goodall’s back pass held up and McGleish was ready to pounce. Stephen Dawson touched the ball to Ben Chorley, but his shot was charged down by the Rochdale wall.
However, the O’s defender was not to be denied and from the resulting corner he levelled things up with his third goal of the season. M’Poku delivered the kick and Chorley reacted first to head home.
O’s were now in the driving seat for the first time and top scorer Revell went close six minutes later when he hooked a Dean Cox cross just wide.
With O’s starting to turn the screw Slade introduced young loan striker Harry Kane for his debut in place of McGleish for the final 17 minutes.
Within 60 seconds of his introduction O’s almost grabbed the lead, when M’Poku’s cross found Revell, but the ball skidded under his foot.
The home side weathered the storm and almost grabbed a winner themselves in the closing stages when O’Grady was denied by an excellent save from Jones who scrambled to his left and kept the effort out.
But, neither side could find a winner and O’s ended the game in 18th place, still just two points off the drop zone, but with games in hand over most of their rivals.
Orient: Jones, Whing, Chorley, Forbes, Dawson, Smith, Spring (M’Poku 46 mins), Dawson, Cox, McGleish (Kane 73 mins), Revell. Subs: Butcher, Brown, Jarvis, Petulea, Odubajo