Orient boss Slade is disappointed as Brighton clash ends in a stalemate
O’s go close in a frantic finale
IT’S perhaps a mark of just how far Orient have come that they were disappointed with a draw against the league leaders Brighton on Tuesday night.
O’s have been beaten just once in their last 16 games and rarely looked like losing against the Seagulls.
Both sides appeared a little jaded after their weekend FA Cup giantkillings and chances were few and far between, but O’s almost won it late on as they worked up a head of steam and substitute Paul-Jose M’Poku and Terrell Forbes both went close.
Afterwards O’s boss Russell Slade said: “We felt disappointed at the end of the game to be honest.
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“It tells a story when you are disappointed with a draw against the league leaders. I thought we controlled lots of the second half and were a little bit unlucky.”
The game could not have got off to a worse start for the home side as Orient lost midfielder Adam Chambers after just three minutes.
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Chambers had not started a game since the start of November following a calf operation and then suffered a hamstring injury.
He came into the side in place of skipper Stephen Dawson, who had limped out of the previous two encounters against MK Dons and Swansea.
Chambers was hurt when he launched himself into a tackle after just two minutes – and 60 seconds later was replaced by Dawson, who was thrown into the action earlier than he would have expected.
Leaders Brighton applied the early pressure, but it was Orient who had the first chance when Jonathan Tehoue, in for the injured Scott McGleish, linked well with Alex Revell.
Orient’s top scorer fired in an effort from the edge of the box that flew just over Casper Ankergren’s bar.
Then, on 20 minutes, former Brighton man Dean Cox crossed from the left and Tehoue’s header drifted wide.
Brighton hit back and Gary Dicker fired over from the edge of the area.
But it Orient who came closest to a goal when Cox went on a run down the left and fired in a shot that Ankergren did well to touch on to the top of the bar and over for a corner.
At the other end Jamie Jones had to make a smart stop to deny Matt Sparrow and spare Ben Chorley’s blushes after the O’s defender and stand-in skipper had been caught in possession.
After the break both sides started at a lively pace and Brighton should have taken the lead on 51 minutes when the highly-rated Elliott Bennett raced clear, but rolled his shot wide of the post.
Brighton made a double change just before the hour when Craig Noone and Chris Wood were thrown into the action.
While Orient made a switch of their own on 61 minutes when Paul-Jose M’Poku replaced Tehoue and it was the young sub who went close when he fired just over on 66 minutes.
In the closing stages it was Orient who started to get on top and Terrell Forbes had a great chance to win it five minutes time, but he headed a free-kick from Charlie Daniels wide from close range.
Orient: Jones, Whing, Chorley, Forbes, Daniels, Smith, Spring (Crowe 77 mins), Chambers (Dawson 3mins), Cox, Revell, Tehoue (M’Poku 61 mins). Subs: Butcher, Jarvis, Carroll, Kane.
Orient bookings: Chambers (2 mins foul), Smith (22 mins foul), Dawson (45 mins dissent).
Brighton & Hove Albion: Ankergren, Greer, El-Abd, Bennett, Barnes, Sparrow (Noone 58 mins), Calderon, Murray (Wood 58 mins), Dicker, Painter, Bridcutt. Subs: Brezovan, Elphick, Battipiedi, Holroyd, Sandaza,Brighton bookings: Murray (24 mins foul)
Attendance: 5,872 (inc 1,955 Brighton fans)
Referee: Graham Horwood.