Jim O’Brien struck twice including a 90th minute equalizer as Orient still seek their first home win since April 26th. O’Brien fired Coventry in front 10 minutes before half time after a mistake from Nathan Clarke; Orient leveled 9 minutes after the break as Scott Cuthbert rose highest from a corner to head home. Jay Simpson nodded the O’s ahead with 20 minutes remaining. The O’s look set for their first home win of the season until O’Brien fired home after Gary Woods failed to hold a cross.
Mauro Milanese made 2 changes as Nathan Clarke returned from injury and Josh Wright was given his first start in place of the suspended Shane Lowry and Bradley Pritchard. Italian striker Gianvito Plasmati continued in attack with his second start in a week. City boss Steven Pressley made 3 changes with new signings Gary Madine and Aaron Martin making the starting 11 in place of Josh McQuoid and Seb Hines with Jack Finch coming in for Connor Thomas.
Coventry were forced in to an early change with Reda Johnson being replaced by Andy Webster as the City skipper clashed with Plasmati. Orient started brightly passing around nicely but lacking penetration through a well organised Coventry defence. Both sides were finding it hard to create chances with a lot of the play in the midfield. Plasmati was putting himself about in attack looking to lay off the ball to Cox and Simpson as the ball was fed in to him. At times the flicks worked as Orient looked to build openings but at times he needed to bring the ball down to keep possession. In an uneventful opening half hour Mathieu Baudry kept the scores level after a latch ditch tackle on Madine where the former Wednesday striker was poised to shoot.
Orient’s first chance came as Plasmati linked up with Cox, the Italian striker laid off to the O’s winger but his fizzing shot went just wide. After Madine’s near miss, City began to gain confidence pushing further forward in search of the opener. Frank Nouble was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty after getting behind Scott Cuthbert with the O’s defender appearing to push over the former West Ham Striker but the referee saw otherwise. City did take the lead 10 minutes before the break after a long ball from Ryan Haynes. Nathan Clarke misjudged the ball, slipping allowing Gary Madine in the left channel, Madine looked up and fed the on rushing Jim O’Brien who slotted home.
Orient started to get a bit edgy with Marvin Bartley loosing possession to John Fleck but the City midfielder could not double their lead early in the second half. Scott Cuthbert equalised soon after from a Dean Cox corner, the defender rose highest at the back post to head home via the post. As the O’s leveled the game opened up for both sides as Coventry looked to play on the break with Orient having the majority of possession. For all the possession, Orient found it hard to create chances with a lack of creativity an ongoing problem this season.
Madine went close with a volley but Orient took the lead with 20 minutes left through Jay Simpson. From an Orient free kick, Dean Cox fed Mathieu Baudry in the left channel, with time and space he crossed to an unmarked Simpson who glanced home for his fifth goal of the season. Orient maintained composure after the goal keeping possession replacing Plasmati and Wright with Shaun Batt and Pritchard to add extra legs. Batt and Simpson looked to stretch the City defence in behind. Coventry pushed forward in search of a equalizer but were limited to long range efforts until the dying minutes. With 4 minutes added on City levelled. Ryan Haynes’s outswinging cross was fumbled by Gary Woods as he looked to gather. The loose ball fell to O’Brien who fired home beyond the Orient defenders to earn City their third point away from the Rioch.
Orient would be disappointed not gaining their first home win of the season after coming from behind to lead in the game but their are positives to take. It was far better than a lot of home games this season with Orient maintaining possession and showing fight which has at times been missing this season. However, for all the possession the lack of creativity from the midfield without Vincelot and James is a major problem. We only managed 4 shots at goal which for a home game is very low. Plasmati continues to improve holding the ball up looking to continue to develop his partnership with Jay Simpson. At times Plasmati needs to hold the ball rather than just laying off the ball, with games and fitness this will develop to keep Orient in the final third.
Mistakes have been a major problem throughout the season, with both goals for Coventry coming from mistakes it adds to the tally. Defensively last season we had a settled back four with Sawyer covering a left back if one of Omozusi, Clarke, Baudry, Cuthbert was injured. That back four played 29 of the 46 league matches last season but out of the 16 league match this season they have only played 4 with suspensions and injuries becoming a problem. In the 16 league matches 5 different back fours have been named, to improve Orient need a settled back four, with changes every week it does not help the team at the back.