London ball

Leyton Orient fought back for a point against the League Two leaders

9:49 PM March 15, 2022

Leyton Orient have collected another vital point in their battle for League Two survival at Forest Green Rovers.

New head coach Richie Wellens, only taking charge for the second time, saw his side come from behind to earn a share of the spoils and move six points clear of the relegation zone.

And despite remaining winless since December 7, the O’s are now four games unbeaten and can feel more optimistic about their fate.

Wellens has made two changes to his starting line-up since Saturday’s stalemate at Hartlepool United, as Aaron Drinan and Otis Khan replaced Paul Smyth and Theo Archibald, who were named to the bench.

But the O’s were behind after just 10 minutes as Matty Stevens converted at the far post thanks to Jamille Matt’s assist.

The visitors looked to respond, with Drinan’s cross coming from the right forcing Luke McGee to act quickly midway through half-time.

But they lost George Ray to injury, replaced by Shadrach Ogie, before the half-hour mark and the substitute’s long throw-in soon caused problems as Omar Beckles rotated and Ruel Sotiriou simply couldn’t find the right fit. angle for his arrival.

Sotiriou and Drinan combined well soon after but couldn’t find Harry Smith in the box, before Hector Kyprianou latched onto a through ball and clipped in a cross without finding a red jersey.

O’s got off to a strong second-half start in their equalizer attempt, with Rovers defending well from long throw-ins, before Sotiriou came on and picked off Kyprianou, who couldn’t fire quickly enough.

Ethan Coleman’s hard-hitting shot from distance was too high just before the hour mark, with Archibald replacing Smith on the second change of the night for O’s.

And Coleman produced a superb tackle to win possession then fire a free kick, which Khan fired into the wall.

It was all square midway through the half, however, as Sotiriou kept his composure to pass McGee just inside the box for his third goal in four games and a deserved leveler.

And O’s nearly took the lead in the 75th minute when Connor Wood’s excellent ball found Drinan, whose first volley flew just wide.

Sotiriou was substituted for Smyth for the final 10 minutes, Wood showed a yellow card after conceding a free kick from a wide position, which O defended well.

And Lawrence Vigouroux’s superb shot sent Smyth on a quick counter-attack, penetrating the box and forcing an effort towards goal which was deflected behind.

But O returned to east London with another point and can now focus on hosting Rochdale on Saturday as Wellens makes his first appearance in the home dugout at Breyer Group Stadium.

Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Wood, Thompson, Smith (Archibald 59), Khan, Drinan, Beckles, Sotiriou (Smyth 80), Kyprianou, Coleman, Ray (Ogie 27). Unused submarines: Sargeant, Nouble, Young, Brown.