Date:Sunday March 25 2007
Orient boss Martin Ling was left absolutely gutted after seeing his side relinquish a lead for the second consecutive week. With the O`s 2-1 up with just two minutes of injury time remaining, hot-shot Billy Sharp made his only contribution all afternoon as he slotted home a late equaliser to break Orient`s hearts.
Despite that late goal, Ling remained proud of his side that was both under strength and deprived of 11 players after John Mackie was sent-off after bundling over Jermaine Beckford on the hour mark.
After the game, Ling said: It's an afternoon of mixed emotions. I'm proud of our performance, and I thought we'd edged over the line with that breakaway goal to get three points. It does feel as if two points have been nicked off us, but when John Mackie was walking off the pitch due to his red card I'd have accepted a point at that stage. The first half was the best 45 minutes we've put together this season. We were in control of the game against the top team in the league, had loads of chances and got the deserved goal through Wayne Corden. If anything, we were slightly disappointed not be have been more than 1-0 up - there was a stonewall penalty for a foul on Gary Hooper that wasn't given. But in the space of seven or eight minutes, the good work of the first half has gone to waste, because they've scored a scrappy goal and John Mackie has been sent off. It was a deserved red card because he held Beckford back as he ran through, and we had to show some resilience after that. They had chances and Glyn Garner made a couple of decent saves, but we weren't under as much pressure as we were lask week in a similar situation against Oldham.'
Despite the sending off, Orient managed to hang in there thanks to some remarkable goalkeeping from Glyn Garner and for the second week running, the O`s managed to score despite only having ten men. The 4-3-2 formation that Ling uses when his side goes down to ten, seemed to have done the business with the front pairing of Ryan Jarvis and Gary Hooper causing United all sorts of problems.
'I still felt with the two strikers out there we had a chance to get a goal, and so it proved when Gary Hooper made it 2-1. Gary played wide right last week but I've always said he's a centre forward and he's a player I've admired for a while. Both he and Ryan caused a number of problems for their defenders and two goals in two games speaks for itself.'
Without a number of key players due to injury and suspension, Ling will have been impressed at how the replacement players performed and the O`s boss singled out young Aiden Palmer for special praise after an impressive performance from the 20-year-old left back.
'It's the first time this season that Aiden has had a chance to get out there on the pitch and I thought he did an outstanding job. The quality of Matt Lockwood means he doesn't get as much of a look in as other players, but he is a quality player, we've always had the belief in him and I think he's shown that today. We played Sharp well all afternoon, but he showed what he's all about and why Scunthorpe are where they are in the league by sniffing out a chance at the end and taking it."
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|Leyton Orient||2||-||0||MK Dons|
|5. Sheff Utd||46||19||18||9||14||75|
|7. Leyton Orient||46||21||8||17||7||71|
|8. MK Dons||46||19||13||14||17||70|
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