An eventful first half showing in Cumbria saw the O’s draw 2-2 at Barrow this afternoon.
David Mooney had given the O’s a 19th minute lead, though Bedsente Gomis levelled four minutes later before Craig Clay restored our lead in the 27th minute from close range.
Barrow then levelled for a second time through Jordan White five minutes before the interval, and despite a number of chances Orient were unable to claim all three points.
Head Coach Steve Davis made three changes for the trip to Holker Street, naming Jamie Sendles-White, Joe Widdowson and David Mooney in the starting XI as Orient operated in a 3-5-2 formation.
Matt Harrold was absent however, missing the game with a calf injury whilst Dan Happe and James Dayton dropped to the bench.
In wet and windy conditions, the O’s got off to a slow start as they adjusted to the new formation of a back three consisting of Mark Ellis, Jamie Sendles-White and Joe Widdowson with Jake Caprice and James Brophy as wing-backs.
Neither side had managed to register a chance throughout the opening 15 minutes, though it was the hosts who broke that trend on the 18th minute as Chris Clements dragged a low shot wide of Charlie Grainger’s goal.
One minute later the O’s made their first chance count however, as they notched the opener from a swift move.
A lovely pass down the left released Brophy on the flank, and the Swindon loanee expertly drilled a low ball into the box for skipper David Mooney to sweep home his third of the season.
Much like Wednesday night at Tranmere, the lead was to last for only a matter of minutes as Barrow equalised when Bedsente Gomis broke the offside trap and drilled a 23rd minute shot into the ground which bounced over Grainger and into the O’s net.
Byron Harrison then thought he had headed Barrow in front two minutes later, but despite directing Alex-Ray Harvey’s free-kick beyond Grainger the forward’s celebration was cut short as the flag was raised for offside.
The goals had certainly sparked the game into life, and there was to be a third in eight minutes as Orient restored our lead.
Jobi McAnuff’s free-kick caused panic in the Barrow penalty area, and despite the Joel Dixon producing a two fantastic saves from point-blank range, midfielder Craig Clay showed great determination to set himself and smash home.
Clay had been instrumental in driving Orient forward throughout the opening period, and the midfielder picked out the run of Macauley Bonne soon after but the O’s top scorer could only place his left-footed shot into the hands of Dixon.
Having seen a goal ruled out earlier in the game, Harrison was then left unmarked to meet another Harvey free-kick with just over 10 minutes of the first half remaining but his header flew wide of the post.
Despite the half drawing to a close both sides continued to push forward, and it was Clay who had a chance to register his second of the afternoon when he met Brophy’s corner, but the midfielder’s header was comfortably held by Dixon.
The miss was to prove costly, as seconds later Barrow bagged a 41st minute equaliser through striker Jordan White who pounced on Clements’ header back across goal to poke home and send the teams into the break level.
As the teams returned for the second half a terrific O’s following of 290 supporters was announced, and within two minutes of the restart they were almost celebrating a third goal as Mooney dragged a shot wide having played a one-two with Bonne inside the Barrow half.
The combination of Bonne and Mooney was proving to be a real handful for the hosts defence both were denied in as many minutes as their low shots were held by Dixon.
Unable to make the pressure count, Orient made their first change of the afternoon with just under 20 minutes remaining as Myles Judd came on for his first appearance of the season in place of Caprice, who had been forced off with a hamstring problem in the defeat at Tranmere on Wednesday night.
Seconds after the substitution the O’s had another great chance to take the lead, as the ball dropped into the path of Mooney inside the area but despite the forward controlling well, his shot was parried away.
Soon after Barrow had two great chances to edge in front, first seeing White denied by a goalline clearance from Widdowson before Harrison spurned a wonderful opportunity on the 78th minute as he poked wide from six-yards out.
With 10 minutes remaining Sendles-White was then withdrawn after taking a knock and subsequently replaced by Dan Happe who came on to play in the centre of the back three.
James Dayton was then introduced as the final substitution on the 86th minute in place of McAnuff, and with stoppage time approaching the O’s saw a penalty appeal waved away as Brophy went down in the box after beating several players on the left.
There was an extended amount of stoppage time due to Ellis suffering a head injury, though despite the match reaching the 98th minute neither side were able to snatch a winner.
BARROW: Dixon, Barthram, Thompson, Hughes, Diagne, Dunne, Harvey (C), Clements, Gomis (Bauress 70), White, Harrison
SUBS: Hall, Panayiotou, Bignot, Makoma
GOALS: Gomis (23), White (41)
BOOKED: Clements (45+1), Thompson (90+8)
ORIENT: Grainger, Caprice (Judd 72), Ellis, Sendles-White (Happe 80), Widdowson, Brophy, McAnuff (Dayton 86), Lawless, Clay, Mooney (C), Bonne
SUBS: Sargeant, Boco
GOALS: Mooney (19), Clay (27)
BOOKED: Bonne (90+8)
REFEREE: Andrew Miller
ATTENDANCE: 1,796 (290 Orient supporters)