Lisbie strikes to earn 10-men Orient a point
Battling O’s climb out of the bottom four
Orient 1 Sheffield United 1
Kevin Lisbie fired home a deserved leveller in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn 10-man Orient a point and lift them out of the bottom four in a stormy finale at Brisbane Road.
Lisbie’s last-gasp leveller cancelled out Chris Porter’s 74th-minute effort as the battling O’s overcame the harsh dismissal to extend their unbeaten run to five games.
But it was referee Oliver Langford who stole all the headlines as he managed to draw criticism from both clubs and his hapless performance was the catalyst for ugly scenes at the end as the Sheffield United bench clashed with angry fans and the O’s goalscoring hero was involved in a scuffle as players from both sides confronted each other.
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Langford, whose performance was littered throughout with a series of debateable decisions lit the blue touch-paper himself in the 73rd minute.
O’s skipper Stephen Dawson was cynically felled by United’s Nick Montgomery, but the hapless Langford waved play on and decided to play an advantage that simply wasn’t there..
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Dean Cox lost possession and as Lee Williamson broke away for the visitors, Daniels won it back with a firm challenge.
However, Langford decided the full-back’s challenge was dangerous and after booking Montgomery he dismissed Daniels – Orient’s only advantage was they had been reduced to 10 men!
With the home players and fans incensed the referee lost complete control and in the final 10 minutes Leon McSweeney, Dawson, Lisbie and United’s Harry Maguire were all cautioned as the game threatened to boil over.
There was little hint of what was to come during the first half, as Sheffield United probably shaded the opening 45 minutes, but O’s also had their chances in a sometimes scrappy affair, watched by Orient’s biggest crowd of the season.
It was the high-flying visitors that had the first chance when Maguire fired an effort from 10 yards wide of the post, but O’s looked dangerous from set pieces and Tom Clarke almost put them ahead a minute later.
He sent in a powerful header from a Daniels free-kick, that Steve Simonsen did well to touch over the bar.
Then David Mooney went close when he fired just over the bar from 12 yards after Daniels was the architect again with another surging run down the left.
As O’s came under pressure, the home defence had to work hard to keep the scores level and Terrell Forbes did superbly well to head a goal bound effort away from danger.
The home side started to take a foothold in the game and Mooney tried acrobatically to turn the ball into the net after Scott Cuthbert knocked a corner back into the danger area.
But it was the visitors who could have gone in at half-time ahead when Billy Clarke saw a downward header bounce over the bar from close range.
After the break Marc Laird replaced the injured Clarke and after Lee Butcher saved well from Kevin McDonald.
As O’s stepped up a gear McSweeney raided down the right and his shot was palmed away by Simonsen and from the corner Dean Cox blasted over.
Then came the controversial dismissal and 10 minutes later United looked to have nicked the points as O’s failed to clear and Porter scrambled the ball home.
But O’s refused to throw in the towel and they could have levelled when substitute George Porter crossed and Laird headed wide on 92 minutes.
But deep into stoppage time justice was finally done when a free-kick was only half-cleared by Simonsen and Lisbie drilled the ball through a crowd of players and into the net.
Orient: Butcher; McSweeney, Cuthbert, Forbes, Daniels; Spring (Porter 86 mins); Mooney (Omozusi 75 mins), Clarke (Laird 46 mins), Dawson, Cox; Lisbie. Subs: Lovelock, Cureton, Porter,
Orient bookings: Dawson, McSweeney, Lisbie.
Sheffield United: Simonsen, Lawton, Montgomery, Collins, Maguire, Porter, Clarke (Evans 57 mins), McDonald, Quinn, Williams, Phillips (Williamson 70)(Doyle 76 mins). Subs: Long. Jean-Francois.
Attendance: 5,928 (inc 1,526 Sheffield United fans)
Referee: Oliver Langford