FULL-TIME: Orient twice pegged back by 10-men Swindon
O’s miss a golden chance to record their first away win in the league
Swindon Town 2 Leyton Orient 2
ORIENT missed a great chance to record their first away win in the league since January as they twice went ahead against 10-men Swindon Town - only to be pegged back on both occasions.
The complexion of the game looked to have changed seven minutes into the second half when Swindon’s Alan Sheehan saw red for a reckless challenge on Orient striker Scott McGleish.
Eight minutes later Matt Spring fired Orient ahead, but Swindon hit back and levelled almost straight away through Charlie Austin.
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It seemed O’s were finally on their way to that elusive away success when substitute Alex Revell restored Orient’s lead 14 minutes from time, but Swindon refused to throw in the towel and hit back with a second equaliser on 84 minutes when Michael Rose netted with a stunning free-kick.
The result must have felt like two points dropped and it saw Russell Slade’s side drop into the bottom four again.
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The O’s boss opted to employ his normal away-day formation with a five-man midfield, with McGleish leading the line on his own.
On-loan Tottenham player Paul-Jose Mpoku, who will be extending his stay until the new year, came in to make his first league start for the O’s, playing wide on the left, as Alex Revell dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
Skipper Stephen Dawson shook off a groin injury after missing the win against Hartlepool, but Jimmy Smith retained his position in midfield, with the ex-Bury man starting on the bench.
Orient started well and had the ball in the back of the net after just three minutes when McGleish nodded in what looked like his fifth goal of the season following a cross from Charlie Daniels, but it was ruled out for offside.
It was a good start from the visitors with Mpoku looking lively, but after Terrell Forbes needed early attention, the injury jinx struck again.
The game was just 17 minutes old when Mpoku limped off to be replaced by Revell, who came on with plenty of time to make an impression against his former club.
Swindon looked to take advantage of the early reshuffle and midway through the half stand-in skipper Ben Chorley had to make an important block to deny David Ball.
The same player went close again on 30 minutes, but Forbes headed his effort away for a corner.
It was the signal for Swindon to test the visitors, but the visiting defence held firm and just before the break Cox went close. But the home side, who made the play-offs last season, almost grabbed the advantage on the stroke of half-time when Austin tried his luck from outside the area, but Forbes again came to Orient’s rescue and deflected the ball away for a corner.
After the break Orient were handed a great opportunity to record their first away win in the league since January when the home side were reduced to 10 men.
Referee Trevor Kettle pulled out a red card on 52 minutes when Sheehan was penalised for a reckless tackle on McGliesh.
As tempers began to fray, Matthew Spring went into the book, but the O’s were quick to make their numerical advantage count, as they pushed Revell up alongside McGleish.
Cox went close, but it was Spring who broke the deadlock on the hour, when he drove the ball home from 16 yards after Adam Chambers picked the ball up down the right before setting up his midfield partner to blast home.
However, Orient’s joy was short-lived, as two minutes later Swindon were on level terms, when Austin headed home following a Rose free-kick.
Orient hit back and looked to have wrapped up that elsuive away win when Daniels went on a great run down the left and sent over the perfect cross for Revell to head home against his former club 14 minutes from time.
It should have been the signal for the O’s to see the game out, and Cox went close to adding a third, but it was Swindon who grabbed their second equaliser six minutes from time to wreck Orient’s victory hopes.
It came from another set piece and this time Rose hammered an excellent free-kick into the top corner to earn the Robins a point.
O’s pressed in a bid to take the lead for a third time and Smith went close after a good run from Cox, but it was Swindon who held on and the visitors were left to reflect on a great victory chance that got away.
Orient: Butcher, Omozusi, Chorley, Forbes, Daniels, Cox, Chambers, Smith, Spring, Mpoku (Revell 17 mins), McGleish (Walker 90+4). Subs: Lovelock, Brown, Dawson, Jarvis, Tehoue.
Orient bookings: Spring, Chorley.
Referee: Trevor Kettle