Leyton Orient picked up what could be a vital point at the end of the season after a 0-0 draw with in form Barnsley last night. The home side were the dominant side in the first half but couldn’t net the vital goal to give them all 3 points. Tykes boss Johnson hinted at the tough nature of the game before kick off and is point was justified as his side looked off the pace in much of the first half.
Barnsley stay in the play off places after Peterborough lost at Preston while Orient drop a place to 22nd and now lie 3 points from safety. After wins for Crawley at Port Vale and Coventry at Fleetwood both have moved clear of the O’s who face a relegation 6 pointer against Crawley on Saturday.
Orient were forced into 2 changes from their win over Yeovil on Saturday with Bradley Pricthard and Nathan Clarke returning to the side after Marvin Bartley and Mathieu Baudry missed out through injury. Barnsley who were coming off the back of 6 straight wins brought in Sam Winnall for Milan Lalkovic in their only change.
Orient started brightly as they have in all of their recent home matches with Jobi McAnuff and Ryan Hedges dangerous on both flanks. After early goals on Saturday, the home side were hoping for the same outcome but struggled to create clear cut chances on the Barnsley goal. Nathan Clarke who was partnering Scott Cuthbert at the back remained strong and sniffed out much of the early danger on the O’s goal.
The O’s were passing well trying to move Barnsley around with both Luke O’Neil and Andrea Dossena overlapping on the flanks to try and create danger. The Tykes defense looked shaky at times with Dagnall and Henderson putting pressure on them whilst in possession. It took until the 25th minute for the first real chance, a quick free kick from Dossena found Henderson at the back post. The frontman headed across goal to his strike partner Dagnall but Orient’s top scorer was unable to find the target.
Dagnall and Henderson continued to link up well with Henderson having the best chance of the half for Orient. Just a minute after Dagnall’s chance, Dossena found the former Forest man from a free kick but he headed wide after losing his marker. McAnuff and Hedges were continually asking questions of their full backs as the home side searched for the opener. Dagnall and Henderson combined once more but Dagnall’s volley was easily saved from 25 yards.
McAnuff forced Andrew Davies into his first big save after a good O’s move. Henderson brought the ball down laying to Dagnall, he laid off to the unmarked McAnuff on the left hand side but Davies saved well from McAnuff”s near post shot. Barnsley’s only real sight of goal came on 35 minutes but Josh Scowen screwed his shot wide from outside the box. Orient would have been disappointed not to be in front after their dominance in the first half.
Orient could have taken the lead 2 minute after the restart but Barnsley had their keeper to thank once more. After a Dosssena cross, Dagnall headed back to Hedges who had come off his right flank but his goal bound shot was brilliantly saved by Davies. The Tykes responded with Connor Hourihane forcing Alex Ciask into a fine save from a dipping 25 yard free kick was destined for the top corner.
Hedges continued to be the most influential player on the night and volleyed wide after creating space for himself. As time faded the game opened up more with Barnsley looking to hit Orient on the break. Bradley Pricthard was next to find Davies in fine form in the away side’s goal after neat work from Hedges and McAnuff. Hedges broke in from the right finding McAnuff, the former Reading man picked out Pritchard’s run and knocked the ball around the corner to him. Pricthard’s goal bound shot was pushed around the corner by Davies.
Lee Johnson responded bringing on Luke Berry as the away side went to a 4-1-4-1 system with Ben Pearson sitting in front of the back 4 with George Waring leading the line. Dossena was next to try his luck with a free kick but it flew wide of the target. As the game reached injury time substitute Milan Lalkovic saw red after a late two footed lunge on Nathan Clarke. Orient last chance to grab the precious three points came after a cross entered the Barnsley box but neither substitutes David Mooney or Jay Simpson could bring the ball down.
Orient would have settled for a point before the game but could see it as two points dropped as the battle for League 1 safety hots up. Orient face a must win challenge away at Crawley on Saturday if they are to seek League 1 status next season. Positive remain for Orient as Fabio Liverani is beginning to find a consistent team which helps in all aspects of their play. It is now 4 clean sheets in 6 games for the O’s who will need to keep this up for the rest of the season.
Barnsley face 3 of the top 5 in their next three including tests against the top 2. Tykes boss Johnson knows that his side will need to pick up points against the top sides if they are to remain in the play off places. The Tykes still have only conceded 1 goal in seven games but lacked a cutting edge at Orient which will need to improve in their next few games.