O's fight back to grab deserved point
A second half penalty from Kevin Lisbie helped Orient salvage a much deserved point on a misty night at Meadow Lane.
In truth the O’s could have grabbed all three as they controlled long periods of the match especially in the first half but had to come from behind following a well finished goal from County skipper Neal Bishop on the half hour mark.
But despite trailing at the interval, the O’s stuck to their task and when Charlie MacDonald was hauled down by former O’s defender Dean Leacock, Lisbie coolly slotted the penalty past Bartosz Bialkowski to rescue a point.
With David Mooney suffering from a thigh problem and Kevin Lisbie still not fit enough to start, Slade reverted to a 4-5-1 formation with MacDonald leading the line up front.
In midfield Lloyd James dropped to the bench whilst Jimmy Smith and Martin Rowlands returned alongside Romain Vincelot in the middle.
It was a similar shape to the one played at Sheffield United last week and the outcome was similar too as Orient dominated the opening stages.
With ten minutes gone Orient thought they had gone in front. Martin Rowlands unleashed a shot from distance that was spilled by Bialkowski for MacDonald to bundle home the rebound. However the flag was up as the in-form striker was adjudged to have strayed offside.
Rowlands had his shooting boots on and forced another save from the keeper ten minutes later but despite controlling the game for long periods, Orient fell behind with 31 minutes gone.
Moses Odubajo surrendered possession on the halfway line and Bishop drove Notts County forward on the counter. After swapping passes with Zoko he bent a shot past Jamie Jones from the edge of the box to give the home side the lead with their first shot of note.
Orient responded brightly however and two minutes later Smith pounced on a long ball in the right channel and fired a shot that beat Bialkowski but thundered back off the bar meaning the O’s went in behind and wondering how.
The second half was a more open affair and the Magpies almost extended their lead with 56 minutes gone, Jeff Hughes carried the ball down the left flank and squared for Yoann Arquinn but despite having time on his side, he bent his shot straight at Jones.
The introduction of Lisbie just after the hour mark gave Orient more purpose going forwards as they switched to a 4-4-2 and having been on the park just four minutes, he flicked on a long Jones kick into the path of MacDonald who was subsequently fouled, leaving Lisbie to do the honours from the spot.
The change of formation opened the game up as the home side looked to counter and with 71 minutes played Jamal Campbell-Ryce crossed from the right and Arquin squandered another chance this time with his head.
Orient almost grabbed the lead five minutes later when Leon McSweeney went marauding down the left and picked out Vincelot with an inch-perfect cross but the Frenchman failed to find the target.
It was a frantic last ten minutes and County put the pressure on as first Andre Boucard went close from distance and then deep in to stoppage time Alan Judge whipped in a dangerous free-kick that bounced across the face of goal but evaded his teammates.
However the O’s remained resolute and will be pleased with their haul of five points from a very tough last three fixtures.
NOTTS COUNTY: Bialkowski; Sheehan, Leacock, Hollis, Bishop (c), Liddle, Judge, Campbell-Ryce, Boucaud, Zoko (Hughes - 46), Cofie (Arquin - 42)
SUBS: Speiss, Smith, Bencherif, Tempest, Blyth
BOOKINGS: Leacock (53)
ORIENT: Jones; McSweeney, Baudry, Clarke (c), Cuthbert; Cox, Smith (Lisbie - 61), Rowlands, Vincelot, Odubajo (Cook 61); MacDonald (Obafemi - 77)
SUBS: Grainger, Omozusi, James
BOOKINGS: Lisbie (63), Cox (64)
REFEREE: Jeremy Simpson
ATT: 4,004 (172 away)