Simpson strikes again as Orient held at LutonJay Simpson netted for the fourth successive match as Leyton Orient drew 1-1 at Luton Town.
Jack Marriott had given Luton the lead in what was a closely-contested first half, but the O’s came flying out of the blocks after the restart and equalised on the 47th minute when Jay Simpson fired home from Sean Clohessy’s cross.
For the trip to Kenilworth Road the O’s made two changes, as Jack Payne and Ollie Palmer were rewarded for their impressive second half performances on the weekend as they replaced Dean Cox and Blair Turgott in the starting XI.
A tight opening 10 minutes saw chances restricted for both sides, but it was the hosts who nearly drew first blood when Craig Mackail-Smith broke away down the right before delivering a low ball into the box which Orient defender Sean Clohessy could only divert into the hands of goalkeeper Alex Cisak.
John Marquis was operating just behind Jay Simpson and Ollie Palmer, and with 16 minutes played the Millwall loanee had a wonderful opportunity to open his O’s account.
Brilliant work from Palmer saw the forward get the better of Scott Cuthbert to enter the penalty area and pull the ball back to Marquis on the penalty spot, though Hatters stopper Mark Tyler was equal to his effort, parrying it away to his left.
The O’s were enjoying plenty of possession as the half wore on but failing to create many openings, and it was former O’s defender Cuthbert who looked to have broken the deadlock when he rose well from a corner but Jack Payne was well placed at the back post to clear off the line.
Luton were not to be denied for much longer however as they took the lead with their next attack when Dan Potts’ cross from the left took a deflection to find its way towards the back post where Jack Marriott was on hand to fire home in the 33rd minute.
Marriott then nearly benefitted from another deflection moments later as Cameron McGeehan's shot came off the back of Clohessy to drop into his path, but instead of doubling his tally the forward placed his shot wide.
As half time approached Palmer and Simpson combined well on the edge of the area but the latter was unable to grab an equaliser as he fired straight at Tyler in what was to be the final chance of the opening 45 minutes.
Orient came out unchanged following the break but whatever Orient Head Coach Ian Hendon said to the players certainly had the desired effect, as within two minutes of the half the O’s were level.
Clohessy had been a constant threat down the right for the O’s and the full-back showed a neat bit of skill to get the better of Potts on the flank to deliver a ball into the box for no other than Simpson to sweep home his 11th of the season.
Following the goal it was the visitors who remained in the ascendancy and 10 minutes later Payne had a shot well blocked before Sammy Moore’s cross back into the box was headed wide by Simpson.
Cisak had rarely been troubled in the Orient goal throughout the second half, though with just over 20 minutes left to play the Australian was called into action to push away Cameron McGeehan’s shot from 20 yards.
Time was running out for either side to score a winner and a teasing cross from Moore into the box managed to find its way through to Bradley Pritchard at the back post but the midfielder could only poke the ball wide.
With six minutes remaining Luton’s Marriott spurned a chance when Luke Guttridge rolled a pass in behind the O’s backline but the striker was unable to capitalise as he dragged the shot wide of the far post.
Marriott’s effort proved to be the final opportunity as both sides were forced to settle for a point and Orient now turn their attention to Morecambe on Saturday.
LUTON: Tyler, Long, Cuthbert (C), Wilkinson, Potts, McGeehan, Lee (Doyle 57), McCourt (Guttridge 64), Smith, Mackail-Smith (McQuoid 76), Marriott
SUBS: Justham, Lawless, Mpanzu, O’Brien
GOALS: Marriott (33)
BOOKINGS: Wilkinson (39)
ORIENT: Cisak, Clohessy, Baudry (C), Essam, Chicksen, Pritchard, Payne, Moore, Marquis (James 88), Palmer (Cox 71), Simpson
SUBS: Grainger, Dunne, Shaw, Turgott, Kashket
GOALS: Simpson (47)
REFEREE: Tim Robinson
ATTENDANCE: 8,022 (638 Orient fans)