In-form Dagnall helps Leyton Orient to valuable point at Preston
21:44 16 January 2015
Simon O"Connor/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way Braintree Essex
League One: Preston North End 2 Leyton Orient 2
Chris Dagnall’s ninth of the season saw Leyton Orient pick up a big point at play-off contenders Preston North End.
David Mooney had fired the O’s in front after just five minutes, though Jermaine Beckford sent the sides in level at the break with a glancing header.
Paul Gallagher’s penalty gave the hosts the lead at the midway point in the first half but the in-form Dagnall curled in his sixth goal in seven games 12 minutes from time to ensure a battling point for Orient on their travels.
Fabio Liverani made four changes from the side which lost 1-0 to Fleetwood Town last Saturday with Gary Sawyer, Nathan Clarke, John Lundstram and Kevin Lisbie coming in for Andrea Dossena, Elliot Omozusi, Romain Vincelot and Dean Cox respectively.
And it was an almost perfect start for the O’s as Mooney won the ball just inside the Preston half and ran through before slotting low into the corner past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who was making his first appearance for the hosts on loan from Manchester United.
Jermaine Beckford went close to an early response though when a ball into the box caused confusion amongst the O’s ranks but they managed to block the shot, and then clear the ball.
However, the lead was shortlived and it was one of the simplest goals Preston will score all season as Jermaine Beckford was unmarked in the box on 23 minutes and glanced a header past Woods from Paul Gallagher’s free-kick from the right.
The home side were well in control as the O’s spent much of the half on the back foot.
Preston were not afraid to try their luck from distance through Kyel Reid and Jermaine Beckford, but both shot well off target.
Chances were few and far between for the O’s but it was that man Mooney who managed to work some space on the edge of the Preston area, however, his shot was held comfortably by Johnstone.
Preston were again wayward in front of goal at the start of the second half, but Mooney continued to be the main O’s threat and he saw a fine effort well saved by the home goalkeeper.
Chris Humphrey flashed an effort wide up the other end, before substitute Gianvito Plasmati fired a spectacular volley straight into the arms of Johnstone.
Gary Woods denied another effort from distance by Scott Laird, but Orient certainly looked a lot brighter going forward.
But at the midway point in the half the hosts had the perfect chance to go in front when Scott Cuthbert brought down Kyel Reid in the box.
Referee Scott Duncan pointed to the penalty spot and Gallagher emphatically rifled the ball down the middle to give Simon Grayson’s side the lead.
Neil Kilkenny almost profited from a well-worked free-kick routine from the hosts, but saw his shot blocked behind for a corner, before O’s survive a goalmouth scramble from the resulting set piece.
Orient kept going though and Plasmati’s knockdown created an opening for Dagnall who forced his way through several attempted tackles before curling a shot past Johnstone.
But having just levelled the hosts spurned a wonderful opportunity to take the lead once again as Gallagher’s cross was only half cleared and Humphrey blazed over the bar when well placed and with that the O’s earned a valuable point against a promotion-chasing side.
Preston North End: Johnstone, Wiseman, Buchanan (Laird 57), Clarke, Huntington, Humphrey (K Davies 84), Reid, Kilkenny, Brownhill (Browne 84), Gallagher, Beckford.
Unused substitutes: Stuckmann, Welsh, Wright, Ebanks-Blake.
Leyton Orient: Woods, Sawyer, Lowry, Clarke, Dagnall, Wright, Lundstram, Pritchard, Mooney (Baudry 81), Lisbie (Plasmati 53).
Unused substitutes: Grainger, Lee, Agyemang, Adeboyejo, Dossena.
Attendance: 8,555 (134 Leyton Orient fans)