Leyton Orient 1
Macclesfield Town 1
Leyton Orient had to settle for a draw after an injury-time strike by substitute Jacob Blyth earned Macclesfield Town a 1-1 draw at Brisbane Road this afternoon.
Blyth’s 92nd-minute goal, after he was played in by fellow sub Donavan Wilson, was harsh on the O’s, who were the better team for long periods of this League 2 encounter.
James Brophy’s sweet, 75th-minute left-footed strike looked to have earned the O’s a win over their fellow strugglers, before Blyth’s late-late show.
Despite the disappointment, Orient move 13 points clear of basement Club Stevenage after their defeat at Exeter.
Ross Embleton, now in charge full-time after two previous spells as interim manager, spoke in his programme notes before the game of using this season’s remaining fixtures to plan for next.
And after collecting four points in a week – the first three from victory over Stevenage in Hertfordshire last week – he now knows almost for certain that next season will be played in the football league, and not in the conference.
The goals, in truth, were the only two real pieces of quality in a game which was entertaining but lacking much in the final third.
On 75 minutes Brophy was played in by the creative Craig Clay, and from a position just inside the Silkmen’s box to the left, fired low and hard into the net.
Orient were by far the better side in the first half, with Brophy and Jordan Maguire-Drew pulling the strings.
After just two minutes Maguire-Drew played in striker Conor Wilkinson, who really should have opened the scoring when clean through on goal. In the end Jonathan Mitchell in the Macclesfield goal had a relatively easy save to make.
Then good approach play between John Wright, Wilkinson and Maguire-Drew ended in a shot from the latter which was just wide of the Silkmen’s left-hand post.
Orient probed but could not find the quality in the final third to break down Macclesfield. They went long with goalkeeper Lawrence Vigoroux whose ball was won in the air by Wilkinson. Wright Collected the flick-on and played in Ruel Sotiriou, whose shot was blocked.
At the other end Dan Happe was having a right old battle with Joe Ironside, a more traditional target man number nine you’re unlikely to see all season. Happe appeared to be winning the battle until he was forced off at half-time through injury.
Ten minutes before the break Sotiriou showed good skill to beat two men, but his shot lacked the quality to test Mitchell and flew high over the bar.
Maguire-Drew then saw a shot curl just over, before the O’s best chance of the game arrived as the clock ticked down to half-time.
Wright’s inswinging free-kick from the left was flicked on by Wilkinson but dropped just wide of the visitors’ goal.
Macclesfield had to wait until first-half stoppage time for their first effort, Ironside just making contact with a left wing cross which was easily gathered by goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
The second half lacked many real chances until the goals. For Orient, Wright’s corner from the left was flicked on by a Macclesfield head and nodded over by Wilkinson.
And at the other end Silkmen substitute Theo Archibald’s through-ball was slightly behind Ironside, who still managed to dig out a shot which was easily saved by Vigouroux.
Then, as the O’s pushed forward, great play by George Marsh down the right ended with him picking out Sotiriou with his cross, but the latter fluffed his lines.
And after Brophy had appeared to have won it, Blyth had the final say
Orient: Vigouroux, Ekpiteta, Clay, Wilkinson (Angol, 68), Maguire-Drew (Johnson, 59), Happe (Coulson h/t), Brophy, Sotirou, Marsh, Cisse, Wright
Subs: Sargeant, Widdowson, Coulson, Dayton, Angol, Kyprianou, Johnson
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley