Last-gasp Leyton Orient grab point at Colchester
Colchester 1 Leyton Orient 1: Trevor Davies reports from the Weston Homes Community Stadium
Jimmy Smith earned Orient a well-deserved point with a goal in the 91st minute to wipe out Anthony Wordsworth’s strike just before half-time.
But it was young substitute George Porter who helped turn the game, as the visitors looked to be heading for their sixth league defeat of the season.
Porter went on a great run down the right and cut the ball back for Smith to net from close range.
It was no more than the battling, injury-hit Os deserved. They were forced to field three Friday loan signings – Ben Alnwick, Kevin Lisbie and Tom Clarke and Os boss Russell Slade threw fit-again Scott Cuthbert and Matt Spring back into a patched up side, as they went looking for their first league win of the season.
It was Colchester United who settled first and they almost took a third-minute lead when Kayode Odejayi scuffed a shot just past the post.
But Os had their moments Lisbie, almost made an immediate impact against one of his former sides when he latched onto a pass from David Mooney, but shot just wide.
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The visitors had a let-off on eight minutes when Ian Henderson fired in a shot from the edge of the box that came off the post, with debutant keeper Ben Alnwick beaten.
But Orient gradually settled and started to knock the ball about well and looked to have a good penalty shout turned down by referee Andy D’Urso, when Lisbie went down as he ghosted past Ben Coker.
Despite Orient’s claims, D’Urso waved them away, much to the annoyance of Os boss Slade and his assistant Kevin Nugent on the sidelines.
It looked as if the Os would reach the interval on terms, but with 60 seconds remaining a free-kick was half-cleared and fell to Wordsworth on the edge of the box.
His shot flew through a crowd of players and crept in the corner of the net with keeper Alnwick unsighted.
It was rough justice on a much-changed Orient side, who were an inch away from levelling at the start of the second half when Dean Cox hit a post after good work by Lisbie.
As Os pressed Mooney went close from distance and then Jimmy Smith just failed to convert a cross from the right.
As the visitors continued to press, home keeper Mark Cousins dived to his left to push away a Mooney free-kick.
But Colchester gradually fought their way back into the game and on-loan keeper Alnwick made two great saves to stop the home side stretching their advantage.
First Brian Wilson’s shot took a deflection off Charlie Daniels, but the keeper clawed the ball away from underneath the bar.
Then when Odejayi burst through he saved again and then completed a hat-trick of good stops when he denied Henderson.
But Os should have levelled five minutes from time when Porter burst down the left and crossed for Cox, but from four yards out, he fired wide when it looked easier to score.
That was just seconds after Smith missed a good chance when he failed to get a good connection on a header.
But Os were finally rewarded in the first minute of stoppage time when Smith netted from close range following Porter’s great run – and justice was done
Colchester United:Cousins, Baldwin, Heath, O’Toole (Izzet 59 mins), Antonio (Duguid 83 mins), Odejayi, Henderson, Wilson, Wordsworth (Bond 77 mins), James, Coker. Subs: Gillespie, Eastman.
Colchester bookings: Henderson (52 mins foul)
Orient: Alnwick, Cuthbert, Chorley, Forbes, Daniels, Spring (Laird 80 mins), Clarke, Lisbie (Porter 74 mins), Cox, Smith, Mooney. Subs: Butcher, McSweeney, Odubajo.
Orient bookings Daniels (40 mins foul)
Referee: Andy D’Urso