All square in the north as O's dominate but fail to score in Gateshead
ORIENT were denied a win in their second friendly by same fine goalkeeping as they dominated possession in a 0-0 draw at Gateshead.
Shane Lowry made his first appearance for the O’s at centre back in a familiar looking Orient XI with other Adam Legzdins in goal and Bradley Pritchard on the right of midfield the only other new additions to start.
On the bench was a trialist by the name of Ayo Okusun and Barry Smith who was borrowed from nearby South Shields at the last minute to help bolster the numbers with Scott Kashket and Scott Cuthbert both pulling out through injury.
It was a quiet start as both sides took their time in possession but veteran striker Kevin Lisbie almost broke the deadlock with 10 minutes gone when he got above his man to meet a trademark Dean Cox cross from the left but the ball bounced narrowly wide.
The O’s were neat and tidy throughout with Lowry looking comfortable in the middle of the defence and Lloyd James looking to pull the strings in midfield whenever possible.
It was both goalkeepers though who were spectators for the majority of the half with Orient failing to turn their dominance into goals. Pritchard started to grow in influence with the half and he had the O’s best chance when a corner fell kindly for him but he sliced high and wide.
Lowry made way for O’s skipper Nathan Clarke towards the end of the half but the sizeable travelling fans saw the O’s head down the tunnel at half time level with the scores locked at 0-0.
Russell Slade rung the changes at half time with a new look XI taking the field with Lloyd James moving to right back and Shaun Batt entering the fray ahead of him on the right of midfield.
The fresh legs brought a fresh tempo and Cox came close to breaking the deadlock five minutes after the interval when he collected a loose ball and got a shot away that was well saved to the goalkeeper’s right.
The O’s were pressing high and winning possession in good areas and on the hour mark Elliot Omozusi almost broke the deadlock in style when he arrived to volley Mooney’s cross from the right but only a fine save from the goalkeeper denied him.
The outcome was the same just two minutes later when Batt curled a shot from distance that looked destined for the top corner.
The Gateshead ‘keeper Bartlett was suddenly the busiest man on the pitch when he then dived well low to beat away Chris Dagnall’s firm shot following a quickly taken free-kick from Mooney.
It was the Irishman who was at the heart of most of Orient’s good work, but it was a combination of Cox and Marvin Bartley that should have put the O’s in front. First Cox bent a free-kick against the post which dropped to Bartley who was denied by an excellent save from the goalkeeper Adam Bartlett.
Mooney almost got his goal five minutes later when he combined well with Dagnall but sliced his shot wide as he broke into the box.
It ended goalless though in what was a good work out for Russell Slade’s side.
Gateshead: Bartlett, Wilson, McDermott, Curtis, Clark, Turnbull, Shaw, Guy, Rodman, Baxter, Rankins
Subs: Jones, Ramshaw, Gurr, White, Kanda
ORIENT: Legzdins, Omozusi, Sawyer, Vincelot, Baudry, Cox (Smith 78), James, Lisbie, Mooney, Lowry (Clarke 43), Pritchard
Subs: Batt, Lee, Smith, Bartley, Dagnall, Woods, Ayo
Second half: Woods, James, Baudry, Clarke, Omozusi (Lee 71), Batt, Vincelot (Ayo 60), Bartley, Cox (Smith 78), Mooney, Dagnall