Walsall Match Report
22nd March 2014. 15:00
Leyton Orient had lady luck to thanks for their equaliser as Nathan Clarke`s deflected effort handed the O`s a point at Walsall on Saturday.
Paul Downing had put Walsall ahead on 14 minutes but the Orient skipper`s shot took a massive deflection to beat Richard O`Donnell in the Saddlers goal with 13 minutes left to play.
Russell Slade made two changes to the starting line-up that lost 1-0 to Brentford last Saturday, bringing in Mathieu Baudry and Chris Dagnall for Gary Sawyer and Kevin Lisbie, whilst Jamie Jones returned to the bench following three months out injured.
The hosts started well and with only six minutes gone Orient keeper Eldin Jakupovic was forced to make a cracking save to push Milan Lalkovic`s shot on to the post.
Lalkovic`s effort spurred on the home side as they continued to press and the Saddlers found themselves ahead on the 14th minute when defender Paul Downing fired the ball home from close range following a Walsall corner.
Downing had a chance to double the Saddlers advantage five minutes later, but was unable to grab his second after Jakupovic had been unable to claim Craig Westcarr`s corner.
Orient failed to create many chances throughout the first half but managed to test Walsall keeper Richard O`Donnell twice just before half-time as first David Mooney glanced a header wide before Baudry`s knockdown was collected well by the goalkeeper.
The O`s started the second-half better than they had the first, and with six minutes of the half played Mooney tried his luck with an ambitious volley that dipped over the bar.
Lalkovic continued to look Walsall`s main threat going forward and O`s stopper Jakupovic had to be quick to come out and deny the striker just before the hour mark.
Mooney then had another chance to bring the O`s level when Chris Dagnall set the Irishman up, but Orient`s top goalscorer was denied by a smart save from O`Donnell.
As the half went on, Orient continued to search for an equaliser and push Walsall back and grabbed a deserved equaliser on the 77th minute through captain Nathan Clarke, and a slice of luck…
The defender took aim from outside the box only to see his effort take a huge deflection off of a Walsall defender and find a way past O`Donnell into the net.
Russell Slade`s men did not look satisfied with only a point as they went in search of a winner, and Mooney had the chance to grab the winning goal deep into added time but could only head Dean Cox`s cross over the bar.
The draw leaves Orient four points behind Brentford in second place who won 3-1 at home to Coventry and five points behind leaders Wolves who 2-0 at Sheffield United.
Next up for the O`s is a home match against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night as they look to keep any hopes of automatic promotion alive.
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