Lee Angol fired the O’s level just minutes before the break, then Louis Dennis placed us in to the lead six minutes after the restart. It was a penalty kick in the seven minutes added on in injury time which saw the points shared at St. James Park.
Ross Embleton made four changes to his starting XI for our visit to Exeter. Dale Gorman and George Marsh made their first League Two starts of this campaign, while Jordan Maguire-Drew was introduced in place of the injured James Brophy. Dan Happe missed out due to personal reasons.
Josh Wright got the O’s underway wearing our Royal Blue away kit in the beating Devon sunshine.
Exeter had the first attempt on goal, it came from Randell Williams who skipped in to the box and fired at the net. Orient stopper Dean Brill was more than equal to the attempt as he pushed the ball clear, allowing debutant George Marsh to sweep up any lurking danger.
Orient started very brightly and enjoyed large spells of possession inside the Exeter half. The spell continued when Sam Ling’s cross was diverted behind.
Jordan Maguire-Drew took the resulting corner and watched his cross just miss the head Josh Coulson who made a darting run towards the centre of the net.
Two chances fell for the O’s but we found ourselves offside on both occasions. First, Dennis fired wide following Josh Wright’s pass before Jordan Maguire-Drew missed the target from close range after excellent work by midfielder Marsh.
After 25 minutes, Exeter began to grow in to the game but Orient stood firm in defence. Dean Brill spread himself to get a hand to Ryan Bowman’s attempt from five yards after the forward beat the offside trap inside the danger area.
The hosts thought they were ahead after half-hour, Nicky Law slammed home from close range but referee Peter Wright chalked the goal off for a handball in the build-up.
Josh Coulson had to be alert to the danger as he diverted Sweeney’s whipped cross on to the post and behind Brill’s net.
Exeter’s pressure paid off however, this time Sweeney went for goal and it bounced in to the net from 15-yards out.
However, the hosts’ lead lasted no longer than 4 minutes as Lee Angol notched from close range. Dale Gorman’s shot fell at the feet of our frontman who had time to take a touch and compose himself before placing beyond Lewis Ward. That goal, two minutes before the break saw us level at half-time.
A revitalised Orient came back out for the second-half full of confidence and took the lead just six minutes later when Louis Dennis fired beyond Lewis Ward. Our number 17 cut in on to his right foot and put us ahead with a sweet effort.
Trailing Exeter upped the pressure with just 20 minutes remaining, Manager Matt Taylor sent on Alex Fisher as they adopted a more direct approach.
Meanwhile, Ross Embleton made his first change soon after, Dale Gorman with and assist to his name was replaced by Craig Clay. Our interim Head Coach made another moments later, this time it was slightly more offensive as Conor Wilkinson came on for goal scorer Louis Dennis.
The third and final change came with five minutes left of regular time on the clock, James Alabi replaced Jordan Maguire-Drew.
Ryan Bowman proved a handful and he had two chances to bring his team level, but stopper Dean Brill was alert in the dying moments to make the save on both occasions.
Brill’s most important call to action came in the next phase however, he made the diving save to his left to divert the danger from a header only 5 yards from goal.
We had done so well to hold on to our lead after 90 minutes, but a questionable seven additional minutes were signalled by the referee.
In the first minute of the added time Exeter were awarded a penalty and a minute later, Nicky Law sent Brill the wrong way converting in the process. The scores were level with just three minutes remaining.
Neither side could find a winner as the O’s earned a point on the road and will certainly feel unlucky not to have taken all three.
ORIENT: Brill, Ling, Widdowson, Gorman (Clay 71), Ekpiteta, Coulson, Maguire-Drew (Alabi 85), Dennis (Wilkinson 76), Angol, Marsh, Wright
SUBS: Sargeant, Judd, Harrold, Ogie
BOOKED: Ling (24), Wright (25), Maguire-Drew (55), Brill (66), Marsh (78), Clay (90+5)
GOALS: Angol (44), Dennis (53)
EXETER: Ward, Sweeney, A. Martin (Parkes 76), L. Martin (Fisher 69), Nicky Law, Williams, Bowman, Moxey, Sparkes, Taylor (C), Collins (Seymour 90+1)
SUBS: Maxted, Woodman, Jay, Richardson
GOALS: Sweeney (41), Law (90+4)
REFEREE: Peter Wright
ATTENDANCE: 4, 933 (438)