Alex Newby pounced in the 90th minute to rescue a point for Rochdale and cancel out Craig Clay’s 65th minute strike. The Dale number ten opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the match, but Aaron Drinan pulled Orient level ahead of the half-time break.
Kenny Jackett made one change to the team that beat Hartlepool United 5-0 a couple of weeks ago, with Hector Kyprianou replacing skipper Darren Pratley.
The hosts raced into the lead when Alex Newby nodded into the gaping net. Liam Kelly’s ball to the back post found Corey O’Keeffe, who headed the ball across the face of goal to Newby, who applied the finish.
Orient looked to respond instantly, and might well have equalised if it wasn’t for a heroic O’Keeffe block. Dale ‘keeper Joel Coleman parried the ball to Harry Smith, who hit it first time, but the Rochdale defender got his body in the way.
The O’s continued to push and came close to a goal 18 minutes in. Dan Kemp’s cross into the area was met by Drinan, who thundered a header against the crossbar with Coleman rooted to the spot. The same duo would soon link up again, and this time they found the back of the net. Kemp picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park and delicately threaded the ball behind the Dale defence to Drinan, who made no mistake with the finish and hammered home his fifth goal in three matches.
On the half-hour mark the home support were left frustrated with the referee’s decision to book Shad Ogie, after a coming together with goal scorer Newby, which left the latter on the floor holding his face. The home side appealed the decision and subsequently, O’Keeffe joined Ogie in the book.
Both teams failed to create a golden chance in the remainder of the first-half, with Orient’s best opening falling to Hector Kyprianou, who fired wide from the edge of the area, after Kemp pulled the ball back to him.
HALF-TIME: Rochdale 1-1 Leyton Orient
Theo Archibald was the first O’s player to have a go following the restart – the wing-back caught Coleman off his line and looked to chip the ‘keeper, but the effort was comfortably stopped.
Rochdale invented a couple of chances of their own early in the second-half, with Odoh forcing Vigouroux into a save and Beesley firing into the side netting. Orient hit the woodwork again soon after, this time Harry Smith guided Tom James’ cross onto the cross bar, having leapt above everyone in the box.
65 minutes into the clash, the O’s took the lead. A long throw into the area was only partially cleared to the edge of the box where Craig Clay patiently waited for the ball to drop onto his right boot and smash his side in front.
Chances were hard to come by for both sides in the closing stages of the game, and both managers made substitutions in a bid to take control of the match. Darren Pratley and Ruel Sotiriou were both drafted in to help the O’s hang on to the win, but seconds from the end the home side scored a winner.
Kelly’s in-swinging corner was headed goalwards and kept out by Lawrence Vigouroux, however, the ball fell kindly for Newby – who had the simple task of hammering home on the goal line.
Full-time: Rochdale 2-2 Leyton Orient
Dale: Coleman, O’Keefe, O’Connell, Morley, Beesley, Newby, Dorsett, Keohane (Done 67’), Graham (Taylor 70’), Odoh (Andrews 67’), Kelly
Bench: Lynch, White, Taylor, Dooley, Grant
Goals: Newby 1’ 90’
Bookings: Graham 11’ O’Keeffe 31’ Coleman 90’
Orient: Vigouroux, James, Mitchell, Beckles, Ogie, Archibald, Kyprianou (Pratley 76’), Clay, Kemp, Drinan (Sotiriou 81’), Smith
Bench: Byrne, Wood, Happe, Thompson, Nkrumah
Goals: Drinan 21’ Clay 65’
Bookings: Kyprianou 15’ Ogie 30’ Kemp 69’ Smith 90’
Ref: Anthony Backhouse
Att: 2,751 (493 away fans)