Ross Embleton made just one change to the team that started Wednesday night’s game against Bristol Rovers as Dan Happe came in for Marvin Ekpiteta. Sam Sargeant retained the gloves to make his first league start of the season and 18-year-old Hector Kyprianou made his first professional Football League appearance.
Johnny Smith gave the hosts the perfect start stroking the ball past Sargeant two minutes into the game after racing in behind the O’s backline.
Jordan Maguire-Drew was the first player in red to test De La Paz, taking aim from the edge of the area with his left foot after capitalising on a wayward Oldham pass, but the effort was comfortably saved.
The winger levelled the score with his second opportunity of the match just a couple of minutes later. A crisp ball into the channel from Josh Wright found Lee Angol, who fizzed a low cross to the feet of Maguire-Drew to bundle home from close range to bring Orient level.
Chris McCann received the first yellow card of the game moments before the interval for a late sliding challenge on George Marsh before Sam Sargeant made a smart save in stoppage time to push Jamie Stott’s dipping strike behind for a corner.
Referee Alan Young had his hand in his pocket immediately after the restart, with Joe Widdowson cautioned for catching his man despite winning the ball.
Just five minutes into the half, Orient had twice gone close to taking the lead. Conor Wilkinson’s curling strike from the edge of the box took a nick of a Latics man and flew an inch wide of the target. The resulting corner was spilled by De La Paz but Lee Angol’s fierce strike was blocked by a sea of blue shirts in the six-yard-area.
Down the other end Sargeant denied Smith a brace after the forward cut inside onto his left foot ten yards from goal. The low shot had been parried by the O’s ‘keeper who did well to claim the ball before an opposition player.
Orient’s shot stopper almost registered an assist an hour in, as his searching ball up field bounced in behind the Oldham defence but Angol’s right footed drive was blocked by the Latics ‘keeper.
Ross Embleton’s first change of the game saw goal scorer Jordan Maguire-Drew replaced by James Brophy before Matt Harrold was introduced in place of Wilkinson. Orient’s final substitution came ten minutes from time as James Dayton came on for Lee Angol.
The closing stages were very scrappy as neither side managed to impose themselves in the final third. Chances were few and far between in the latter moments of the half, though the home side almost stole victory when David Jones smacked the post with a left-footed free-kick from the edge of the area.
After five minutes of stoppage time the game came to a close with the O’s securing a valuable point on the road, keeping them above Oldham in the league table.
ORIENT: Sargeant, Ling, Turley, Happe, Widdowson, Kyprianou, Marsh, Wright, Maguire-Drew (Brophy 62”), Wilkinson (Harrold 72″), Angol (Dayton 80″)
SUBS: Brill, Gorman, Ekpiteta, Coulson,
BOOKED: Widdowson 46” Happe 75” Marsh 87”
GOALS: Maguire-Drew 25”
OLDHAM: De La Paz, Mills, Iacovitti (Morais 68”), Stott, Wilson (Maouche 66”), Jones, McCann, Smith, Akpa Akpro (Segbe Azaankpo 79”), Wheater, Hamer
SUBS: Woods, Fage, Sylla, Egbert
BOOKED: McCann 43” Maouche 90”
GOALS: Smith 2”
REF: Alan Young ATT: 3,121 – 352 away