Another game, another draw, another performance which left a lot to be desired. The O’s were second best throughout but were nearly bailed out after a brace from MacAuley Bonne. Barrow took a deserved lead when Jack Hindle hit his third goal in as many games as Orient were left standing in their blocks. The Bluebirds should have been further ahead with their dominance but Bonne levelled proceedings early in the second half.
Ian Evatt’s men responded but wasted a host of chances in front of goal before Bonne looked to have earned Orient an undeserved point. But it was second half substitute Raul Correira who tapped home the equaliser five minutes from time after O’s keeper Dean Brill failed to collect a long throw.
Justin Edinburgh made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night. Charlie Lee made his first start of the season as Alex Lawless dropped to the bench. Marvin Ekpiteta deputised for the injury George Elokobi in defence.
Ian Evatt was forced into one change from his side that lost 2-0 to FC Halifax on Tuesday night. Brian Wilson missed the trip to Leyton through injury, Kyle Jameson deputised alongside Josh Granite in central defence.
Barrow flew out of the blocks with Josh Kay clipping the crossbar after fine build up within 60 seconds. The O’s didn’t heed the early warning that the Bluebirds were here to play and conceded just two minutes later. Neat interchange down the right found Jack Hindle who drifted over from the right flank. The summer signing from Colwyn Bay smashed a low shot under Dean Brill for his third goal of the season.
Ian Evatt’s men were brimming with confidence and Orient couldn’t deal with the movement in midfield. Kay and John Rooney were given license to push forward and Rooney wasted his chance when he couldn’t sort his feet out after good work from Hindle.
The O’s were second to every ball on the pitch and should have fallen further behind. After a quick throw, Hindle found Rooney but his curling shot flew narrowly wide of the far post. Was it the wake up call Orient needed? Well, they started to grow into the game with Jobi McAnuff firing wide from distance.
With Edinburgh’s men starting to gain slight momentum, Evatt’s men were killing any momentum making the game stop start, creating annoyance from the home fans. A simple, effective and much despised tactic which was frustrating Orient. The O’s best chance of the half came from a McAnuff free kick which found the head of Charlie Lee but he could only flick the ball into the hands of Andy Firth.
Following what was hoped a half time rollocking from Edinburgh, the O’s started better in the second half. Somehow the score remained level after Bonne connected with a McAnuff cross but his effort smashed Firth in the face and to safety. Firth received treatment but his first task afterwards was to pick the ball out of the net. A Charlie Lee long throw was kept alive and Bonne turned and tucked home his first of the season to draw Orient level.
You would have the thought the goal would have buoyed the home side but it was Barrow who picked the pace up and should have regained their lead. Hindle broke in from the left, with Nathan Waterton testing Brill down to his right. Then a glorious chance to grab their second, a well worked corner found Kay who’s cross was met by Dan Jones who inexplicably headed wide at the back post.
Edinburgh introduced Josh Koroma and James Dayton from the bench and it was Koroma who had the impact his manager wanted. The young attacker ran onto a forward ball and crossed for Bonne to tap home his second. A get out of free jail card looked set to have been handed to Orient.
Ahead with less than ten minutes to go, could Orient do what they couldn’t do on Tuesday and hang onto victory. This is Orient, so the evitable happened. Sam Ling was the first man a fault, with time to clear the ball forward, he found touch leaving Barrow to hand the ball to long throw expert, Dan Jones. Jones fired in the ball into the O’s box, Brill came and failed to gather, leaving substitute Raul Correira to squeeze the ball home for the equaliser.
So, three games into the season and Orient are still unbeaten with three draws. MacAuley Bonne opening his account with a brace today was important as all Orient fans know the value of his goals in this Orient team. Battling back from a goal down once more but just like Tuesday, Orient failed to see the game out.
Leading two games at home, with less than ten minutes to go and Orient take just two points. A problem which needs to eradicated, despite being second best and probably not deserving a point today, Orient got into a position to lead in the latter stages. You have done the hard part, fighting back but decision making is not quite there yet this season.
Games are 90 minutes long and currently Orient are being punished for any lapse of concentration in key areas of games. Conceding three minutes in at home will always put you on the back foot against a side you are expected to beat. Key areas which can and need to be addressed in the coming weeks.
Then one of the major disappointments of the early season, our central midfield. I don’t think any one of the 4304 in attendance would disagree that Barrow’s midfield was far superior to Orient’s today. Barrow’s three in the middle ran the game in the first period and dominated proceedings. Jason Taylor gave vital protection to his back four with John Rooney and Josh Kay giving support in attack.
Where do Orient go at Maidstone? Could they play three in midfield? I think Edinburgh should consider playing Jobi in a central area, whether that is in a three or a two, I think he makes Orient tick. A 4-5-1 with McAnuff behind Bonne, with Brophy on one wing and Koroma/ Dayton on the other. I think it would help Orient gain a foothold in games but all three teams Orient have played, like to play football.
It’s not all doom and gloom, but it is clear that Orient look like they need to look into the loan market. Midfielder Dale Gorman could be the man Orient have been missing in midfield? We could find out in a couple of weeks and do Bonne and James Alabi work together. It is still early days, but many times today, both forwards made the same run and were in the same position. Food for thought for Edinburgh ahead of Maidstone on Tuesday night……..