O’s fail to secure a winning finish for fans

Orient players acknowledge their supporters (Pic: Simon O'Connor)

Orient players acknowledge their supporters (Pic: Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

League One: Leyton Orient 1 Oldham 1

Leyton Orient failed to end the season on a high after the disappointment of missing out on the play-offs, drawing 1-1 with Oldham Athletic at Brisbane Road in front of over 5,000 fans.

Orient went ahead in the opening ten minutes after a ferocious volley by Jimmy Smith, but Oldham levelled proceedings only seconds after half time when Kirk Millar tapped home.

In what felt like a meaningless affair, neither side really pushed for a winner, but Orient will take heart from their strong finish to the season after picking up ten points from the last five games.

O’s boss Russell Slade’s made two changes from last week’s 1-0 victory over Coventry at the Ricoh Arena, with fit again Charlie MacDonald and Lloyd James coming in for Lee Cook and Martin Rowlands.

Oldham started brightly and certainly had the better of the opening exchanges, having had a penalty appeal turned down and Lee Croft seeing his effort saved by Orient stopper Jamie Jones.

Then in the 9th minute, completely against the run of play, Orient went ahead. Moses Odubajo’s ball from the right was dummied by MacDonald who let it drop over his head, and the ball fell to Smith in the area, who volleyed high through the hands of the hapless Dean Bouzanis.

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Oldham came back, with Croft’s stunning effort from the edge of the area just clearing Jones’ bar.

Orient had the chance to double their lead in the 16th minute when they were awarded an indirect free-kick in the area for a pass back, however Gary Sawyer’s effort was deflected for a corner and Oldham dealt with the subsequent danger.

The next 30 minutes were extremely uneventful, and apart from a half chance for Odubajo in the six yard box and an effort from range by Oldham right-back Carl Winchester which skewed wide, neither side created anything clear cut.

Kevin Lisbie also could have done better in attempting to lob Bouzanis after the Oldham keeper came rushing out just before half time.

Whatever Oldham manager Lee Johnson said to his players at the interval clearly hit home as they equalised almost immediately after the restart.

Cristian Montano passed to Millar inside the box, and his tame but accurate effort to Jones’ right trickled in off the post.

The second half certainly had the feel of a dead rubber affair as neither side created even a half chance until MacDonald dragged a shot wide of Bouzanis’ right post in the 77th minute.

Dean Cox, lively throughout, saw his shot come off the post ten minutes from time after a wonderful ball from the left from Lee Cook was flicked on by MacDonald into the Orient number 7’s path.

Youngster Harry Lee made his debut for Orient when he replaced Lloyd James in the 81st minute.

Oldham had the best chance to win the game when sub Robbie Simpson stung Jones’ hands with an audacious effort from 25 yards, and Montano then failed to hit the target when the ball dropped to him in the box from the resulting corner.

It was the last chance of the game, but Orient fans were in fine voice at the end, and they will hope their team can push for promotion into the Championship next season.

Leyton Orient: Jones, McSweeney (Cook 73), Vincelot, Clarke, Sawyer, Odubajo, James (Lee 81), Smith, Cox, MacDonald, Lisbie.

Unused subs: Butcher, Vanderhyde, Georgiou, Rowlands

Oldham: Bouzanis, Winchester, Mvoto, Belezika, Brown (Truelove 79), Croft (Simpson 71), Gosset (Reid 75), Smith, Montano, Millar, Baxter.

Unused subs: Cisak, Byrne, Cooper, Iwelumo

Attendance: 5,191

Referee: Frederick Graham