Orient will host Dagenham & Redbridge in a Fourth Qualifying Round replay on Tuesday night after drawing 0-0 at Victoria Road.
The O’s made three changes to the side that drew at Barrow last weekend, as Dan Happe, Myles Judd and James Dayton came into the starting XI. The trio replaced the loan pairing of Mark Ellis and James Brophy who hadn’t been granted permission to play in the FA Cup by their parent teams, whilst Jobi McAnuff was rested.
It was Dagenham who got the game underway and following a cagey opening few minutes Orient goalkeeper Charlie Grainger was forced into his first save of the afternoon as he held onto a low strike from Morgan Ferrier.
Ferrier’s physical presence was a handful from the start and the forward then played a big role in the Daggers next opportunity as his low cross was deflected away by Joe Widdowson before dropping into the path of Charlee Adams who saw his shot blocked for a corner.
Widdowson was coming up against his former side for the first time since joining the O’s in the summer, and the Orient man was operating once again on the left side of a back three with Dan Happe in the centre and Jamie Sendles-White on the right.
Having held on during the opening 20 minutes which had seen the Daggers push forward for that opening goal, the O’s were left in their head in the hands wondering how they didn’t take the lead in the 24th minute.
Craig Clay’s cross was met well by Macauley Bonne who directed his header beyond the reach of Mark Cousins, only for his effort to bounce back off the crossbar and into the path of David Mooney who suffered a similar fate by being denied by the woodwork.
Three minutes later the hosts responded with a chance of their own as Ferrier bullied his way into the box and cut inside before seeing his shot strongly parried away by Grainger.
As the half wore on both sides saw chances limited in what proved to be a strong battle in the middle of the park, though with five minutes remaining Corey Whitely’s corner caused brief panic as it curled just wide of the far post with Grainger appealing for a foul.
After going into the interval goalless, both sides returned for the second half unchanged and it was Dagenham who had the first chance of the half when Elliott Romain headed wide from a Jake Howells free-kick.
Whitely then spurned a chance with a free-kick in a good position that he curled over the bar, before Grainger pulled off a good stop to push Romain’s header wide for a corner.
With just over an hour played Orient then had a great opportunity to break the deadlock, as Myles Judd brilliantly kept a move alive on the left before pulling it back to James Dayton who delivered a cross into the box which was headed over by Bonne.
Moments later Orient were forced into their first substitution, with midfielder Alex Lawless being forced off through injury and replaced by Romuald Boco on the 66th minute.
Both sides continued to push forward for that elusive first goal, and it was the Daggers who came the closest though Whitely as the midfielder fired wide on two separate occasions with efforts outside the box.
With two minutes remaining Zain Westbrooke was handed his debut when he replaced Jake Caprice for the final few minutes, and with stoppage time looming there was a second Orient debut as second-year scholar Ruel Sotiriou came on in place of Mooney for his professional debut.
Five minutes stoppage time was played but neither side was able to snatch a winner in stoppage time, meaning both sides will meet again on Tuesday night (October 17) for the Fourth Qualifying Round Replay.
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE: Cousins, Ling, Doe (C), Robson, Lokko, Howells, Boucaud, Adams, Whitely (Howell 90+3), Ferrier (Bloomfield 74), Romain
SUBS: Chapman, Nunn, Robinson, Okinabirhie, Ngala
ORIENT: Grainger, Caprice (Westbrooke 88), Sendles-White, Happe, Widdowson, Judd, Clay, Lawless (Boco 66), Dayton, Mooney (C) (Sotiriou 90), Bonne
SUBS: Sargeant, Clark, Ochieng, Dalby
BOOKED: Sendles-White (11), Lawless (49)
REFEREE: Thomas Bramall
ATTENDANCE: 2,529 (911)