Orient frustrated by Barrow - but remain five points clear
Leyton Orient 0
Barrow AFC 0
Leyton Orient need to find a goal – and quickly.
They have now scored just one in their previous five League Two outings following this 0-0 stalemate against Barrow at Brisbane Road.
Stevenage’s draw at lowly Harrogate means the O’s’ lead at the top remains five points, but up next is a trip to the Lamex.
Dan Happe’s injury forced Orient into signing Ed Turns from Brighton, and while the Wales U21 skipper was rarely trouble on his debut today – it is at the other end where Orient must improve their sharpness if they are to win this division.
Barrow started the brighter of the two, a right-wing cross forcing Adam Thompson into a sliced clearance which he would have been grateful to see fly over the crossbar.
Then Lawrence Vigouroux made the most almighty of blunders when he spilled a Ben Whitfield Cross between his legs – fortunately for the O’s goalkeeper the ball didn’t find its way into the net.
Orient showed glimpses of just why they are top of the pile. When at their best they pass the ball around with a speed and precision not seen for some time in E10.
But it was a long ball from Darren Pratley which created their first real chance. Pratley’s ball found Ruel Sotiriou free in the Barrow box, but his well-taken volley was equally well saved by Paul Farman.
Farman was called into action again on the half-hour, when Paul Smyth’s 25-yard drive, which moved one way then the other in the swirling rain, was beaten away.
The O’s were again on the front foot early in the second half, but their pushing allowed Whitfield to break free on 52 minutes, however his shot from the edge of the box was blocked.
At the other end Orient’s huge appeals for a penalty when Charlie Kelman went down under a challenge in the box were waved away by referee Leigh Douhgty.
Kelman was soon in the action again when his effort from an acute angle on the right was blocked by the onrushing Farman.
Substitute Harry Smith then headed over the bar, but his effort never looked like troubling Farman.
Orient’s frustration was compounded in stoppage time when Tom James was sent off for a second yellow.
Next Saturday’s trip to Stevenage will tell us a lot about whether the O’s can hold off the challenge of the Hertfordshire side.
But one thing is for sure, Richie Wellens’ team need to find those shooting boots very soon.
Teams: Orient: Vigouroux, James, Thompson, Smyth, Sotiriou, Moncur (Duke-McKenna, 64, Sweeney, 88)), El Mizouni (Clay, 75), Pratley (Brown, 64), Kelman (Smith, 75), Hunt, Turns
Barrow: Farman, Brough, Canavan, Waters (Kay, 79), Gordon, White, Neal, Gotts (Bennett, 87), Warren, Ray, Whitfield (Newby, 72).
Referee: Leigh Doughty
(Picture: Charlie Stong)