Gavin Massey’s finish two minutes from time gave Danny Webb his first point as Orient manager. The former Colchester winger fired home at the back post to earn Leyton Orient their first point of 2017. Yeovil took the lead on the stroke of half time when Francois Zoko pounced on a loose ball inside the box. Despite Orient lying second bottom, the away side continued to push for an equaliser and it duly arrived with two minutes left when Massey was on hand for his sixth league goal of the season.
Following their 1-1 away draw last weekend at Hartlepool, Yeovil manager Darren Way made two changes to his side. Alex Lacey and Matt Butcher dropped out in place of Darren Ward and Alex Lawless.
Following on from their disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Morecambe on Tuesday night, O’s boss Danny Webb made two changes to his line up. Ryan Liburd started in attack after coming on from the bench on Tuesday in place of striker Sam Dalby who dropped to the bench. Liam Kelly made his first start for Leyton Orient since 8th October with Victor Adeboyejo missing out.
With Orient looking to be positive at Huish Park they started well. Danny Webb opted for a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation which allowed wingers Gavin Massey and Sandro Semedo to push forward. It was Orient who could have taken the lead early on, after a nice move Michael Collins found Nigel Atangana in the inside right position. The Frenchman cut back onto his left foot but his shot was palmed away by Artur Krysiak for a corner.
Yeovil beat Orient at Brisbane Road earlier in the season, with striker Tom Eaves bullying Orient’s two center halves. The former Bolton striker continued in the same vein at Husih Park but it was Francois Zoko who saw a tame effort saved by Sam Sargeant in the Orient goal.
With Kelly, Collins and Atangana in central midfield, the O’s finally had some structure and a solid foundation. Kelly’s drive and presence in the midfield was driving the O’s forward with him finding Ryan Liburd behind Yeovil’s defence. However the on loan Stevenage striker could only drag his shot wide of the mark.
The O’s have been looking to break quickly since Webb took charge and they wasted a glorious opportunity after 23 minutes. After a shot was charged down the ball fell to Semedo on the right flank, the winger drove into the Yeovil half. Gavin Massey was wide and free on the left side but Semedo somehow opted to go it alone but saw his effort blocked.
Orient looked to pass their way up the pitch but at times were their own worse enemies with loose passes being pounced on by Yeovil. The hosts were starting to grow in to the half as it edged nearer to half time and could have taken the lead. After a free flowing move Ben Whitfield fed right back Liam Shephard in but the full back could only hit the side netting.
The game was ebbing towards half time but for the third time on their travels this season, the O’s conceded on the stroke of half time. Tom Eaves who was a handful all afternoon for the O’s backline, controlled the ball on his chest, swivelled and shot at goal. Sam Sargeant saved his deflected effort but the rebound fell to Zoko who was quickest to react to put the Glovers ahead.
A similar story for the East Londoners who had the better of the chances but when you are at the bottom, you have to take those chances. Webb brought on Callum Kennedy in place of Yvan Erichot who struggled once again. Nicky Hunt moved to center back alongside Tom Parkes with Kennedy slotting in at left back. Paul McCallum replaced the ineffective Ryan Liburd eight minutes into the second half as Orient looked for impetus to gain an equaliser.
Eaves fired wide for the Way’s side after he was allowed space to bring the ball down inside the box. Orient needed to keep the score 1-0 but nearly conceded after Nigel Atangana lost possession but Ben Whitfield could only shoot straight at Sargeant. That was Atangana’s last contribution as Webb threw on Josh Koroma after 63 minutes as Orient moved to 4-4-2.
The O’s were finding it hard to push up the pitch with the game becoming very stop start, Eaves and Akpra Akpro fired wide for Yeovil as they looked to sew up victory but Orient remained in the game. Josh Koroma was lively down the right flank, his trickery was causing the home side problems however when presented with a chance at the back post, he slashed his shot over the bar.
The substitutions had given Orient momentum to push for an equaliser with Massey the prime architect, now playing alongside McCallum in attack. The O’s were the only side looking for a goal but it looked like it wasn’t going to be their day. However, after McCallum headed down at the back post, Liam Kelly missed his shot before Massey fired home to send the 151 travelling supporters into raptures behind the goal to bring Orient level.
With the scores level going into added time, the away faithful were urging their team to push for a winner. However the last chance fell to McCallum who could only glance his header wide of the target as Orient earned their first league point of 2017.
What a difference two weeks makes, you will be saying hang on a minute we have only picked up one point. But, two weeks ago, Orient looked doomed and dejected at Mansfield with a manager that was clear he didn’t want to be there. Yesterday, there was some passion, fight and desire shown by the players to play for the badge.
In Webb we have a manager that has instilled some believe in the group, let’s not forget a group with less experience than any other manager in recent months. However, he is getting them playing and believing in what he is trying to do. A point is not enough, that is what people may say. But you have to start somewhere, a late equaliser, will help to boost morale in the group who saw that everyone of the away support was with them yesterday.
Anyone at the game yesterday will tell you, Hats off Danny Webb, the three substitutions were bold, attacking and ultimately changed the game.
When was the last time we could have said that? Yvan Erichot was horrendous again and rightfully replaced at half time for Callum Kennedy. Ryan Liburd was ineffective in attack and was brought off with plenty of time left to give McCallum time to influence proceedings. And wait for it, we made our third change just after an hour, bringing on Josh Koroma for Atangana as we went 4-4-2 away from home pushing for a leveller.
Koroma showed what he is all about yesterday, a raw prospect but the trickery to cause problems and most importantly time to influence a game. There were many players who deserve a mention but Liam Kelly’s return was a massive boost. The calming head and the ability to bring possession out of midfield. Let’s not forget he is not fully fit yet but pleasing signs.
Plymouth away Tuesday, but I go there with more belief in the group and signs that there is a desire and passion to play for the badge on the shirt.
One point is how does Webb go at Plymouth? A game where we will be major underdogs, does he look more to the Notts County game on Saturday or look for points of Tuesday? Either way, I think despite Webb’s age and lack of experience he is slowly giving Orient fans some light at the end of the tunnel but is it too late?