Jobi McAnuff made one change from the victory against Mansfield Town on Good Friday. The Interim Manager dropped himself to the bench, as Conor Wilkinson returned to the side following injury.
Brimming with confidence having won their last four, The O’s started the game well. Wilkinson broke away down the right and flashed a low cross across the face that ‘keeper Jack Rose was forced to parry away. It eventually fell to Sam Ling in the box, though, he was unable to get a clean strike away.
Orient didn’t have it all their own way in the early stages, however. Tyreik Wright forced Lawrence Vigouroux into his first save of the game in the 5th minute, before Sadler hooked one over from the resulting set piece.
Wright was involved again five minutes later, as he played one over the top of The O’s defence and into the path of Emmanuel Osadebe. The Saddlers midfielder then blazed his half-volleyed effort over.
The home side were presented with a good opportunity when Max Melbourne handled just outside the box. But Dan Kemp was unable to make the most of the chance as he fired his free kick straight into the wall.
Despite coming into this one with just one win in their last nineteen games, the visitors pressed McAnuff’s side hard and didn’t allow them a moment’s peace across the backline as The O’s looked to play out.
The first half fizzled out without many chances of note for either side, and in an attempt to change things, McAnuff made a half time sub. Ouss Cissé the man to make way for Hector Kyprianou.
The alteration almost paid dividends five minutes into the second half. Craig Clay set James Brophy away down the left, the winger then fired a first time cross into the box that was agonisingly out of the reach of Wilkinson.
As the clock ticked past the hour mark and with chances still at a premium, McAnuff made his second change. Joe Widdowson wasn’t risked after he had picked up a booking early in the second half and was replaced by Louis Dennis, in a switch that saw Brophy move back into left back.
Dennis showed great feet to get away from his marker and deliver a cross into Kemp, but the former West Ham man saw his shot blocked from point blank range by a Walsall body.
A third change followed as the gaffer brought himself on in the heart of midfield for Clay.
The O’s pushed forward in the final stages but were met by a stubborn Saddlers backline.
Deep into stoppage time, a precise through ball from Kyprianou found McAnuff, who played Wilkinson in behind his marker. The forward looked to be away until he went down on the edge and looked over to referee Paul Howard in expectation.
However, Howard elected to book Orient’s number nine for simulation in what proved to be the last moment of note in a tight, cagey affair.
ORIENT: Vigouroux, Ling, Akinola, Turley, Widdowson (Dennis 61’), Cissé (Kyprianou 46’), Clay (McAnuff 72’), Wilkinson, Kemp, Brophy, Johnson
SUBS: Sargeant, Dayton, Judd, Abrahams
BOOKED: Wilkinson, Widdowson
WALSALL: Rose, Melbourne, Sadler, Clarke, Kinsella, Lavery (Holden 45’), Gordon (Osei 88’), Perry, Osadebe, White, Wright
SUBS: Roberts, Norman, McDonald, Leak, Vincent
REF: Paul Howard