Cox wonder goal rescues late point for Orient
League One: Leyton Orient 1-1 Sheffield United
A wonder goal from Dean Cox rescued a point for Leyton Orient at home to Sheffield United.
He hit a dipping volley into the top corner from 25 yards with nine minutes remaining, as the home side came from behind in a match they dominated for long periods.
And it was enough for them to go top of the League One table as Wolves lost at Peterborough.
But it looked like the O’s would be made to pay for a succession of missed chances as Conor Coady’s near post strike gave United the lead halfway through the second half.
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The midfielder took advantage of mayhem in the Orient defence after been set up Chris Porter.
Top scorer David Mooney had missed two glorious chances before half time against relegation-threatened United.
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The division’s leading marksman screwed wide after being played in by Dean Cox when it looked easier to score.
And he had an even more presentable chance just after the half hour mark. A surging run from Shaun Batt took the United defence out of the game, and he squared to his fellow striker 12 yards out.
But the Irishman’s shot was somehow smothered by visiting goalkeeper George Long for a real head in hands moment.
Batt was playing in place of Kevin Lisbie, believed to be injured in training yesterday, in the only change from Tuesday’s 2-2 draw at Bristol City.
And the forward was a constant thorn in the side of the United defence – right-back Tony McMahon was booked as early as the fifth minute for hauling him down and he caused Harry Maguire problems all game.
Unfortunately, Orient found Long in inspired form. He made an excellent save from Nathan Clarke’s volley, denying the skipper his first game in 61 games for the O’s.
And fellow defender Mathieu Baudry also went close twice as the home side’s frustration grew.
Manager Russell Slade said in the build up to the game he expected it to be a tough one against a more ‘solid’ United.
And he wasn’t wrong as Orient struggled to break down their opponents, despite missing a host of clear cut chances.
Jamie Jones was a virtual spectator in the hosts’ goal for the first hour but the Blades gradually grew into the match.
Orient struggled to show the same dominance in the second half as they did the first. Moses Odubajo fired over from outside the area and Baudry appealed for a penalty after he claimed he was fouled from a corner.
But the referee was unmoved and the home side would be punished by Coady.
But Cox had other ideas as he sent the O’s back to the top of the pile, although the gap to third place Preston was cut to just six points.
And Orient had two great chances in six minutes of stoppage time, with Long denying Simpson and Mooney headers – the former was a wonderful finger-tipped effort around the post.
Orient: Jones; Cuthbert (Simpson 72), Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi; Odubajo, James (Wright), Vincelot (Bartley 88), Cox; Batt, Mooney. Subs not used: Larkins, Sawyer, Lasimant, Gorman.