Leyton Orient 0-0 Stevenage: Boro pick up first point but injury list grows again

Luis Fernandez of Stevenage during St Albans City vs Stevenage, Friendly Match Football at Clarence

Luis Fernandez of Stevenage during St Albans City vs Stevenage, Friendly Match Football at Clarence Park on 13th July 2019 - Credit: Danny Loo/TGS Photo

Stevenage picked up their first point of the new League Two season with a 0-0 draw against Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road on Saturday afternoon, but their injury crisis deepened once again as they lost two key defenders.

Both sides had chances to win the game, with Boro having a stonewall penalty turned down after a foul on Kurtis Guthrie.

Dino Maamria will be delighted with a first point of the season, but injuries to Scott Cuthbert and Terence Vancooten will be causing him a headache as they join an extensive casualty list at the Lamex.

Cuthbert was back at his old stomping ground and needed treatment early on, but the Hertfordshire club had another problem by the seventh minute when Vancooten had to be replaced.

Luis Fernandez replaced him and by this point both teams had enjoyed attacks with the away side forcing a free kick and corner early on before Orient counter-attacked and Lee Angol saw an effort deflected over by Cuthbert.

O's produced some superb football in the 10th minute with a free-flowing move seeing Widdowson picked out in space, but Conor Wilkinson could only head against one of Stevenage's centre backs.

The ball was kept alive by Embleton's team, though, and James Brophy was played in down the right and cut inside before lashing wide from a tight angle.

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It had been an excellent start by the hosts' and it was exactly what was required after a disappointing couple of results in the week.

Boro manager Maamria expressed his frustration with 17 on the clock after Guthrie appeared to be fouled by Dan Happe, but referee Lee Swabey waved away the appeals.

Orient looked to be firmly in their stride now with Wilkinson having a few more shots and Josh Wright also opening the scoring in the 21st minute.

Brophy and Ling combined with the wing-back perfectly picking out Wright inside the area, but his low effort was superbly tipped wide by Farman.

Ling almost tested him again two minutes later, but his effort was deflected behind for a corner after more good play by Brophy.

Stevenage then enjoyed a foray forward and thought they had won a penalty with 26 on the clock, especially after referee Swabey initially pointed to the spot.

Guthrie latched onto the loose ball, after Coulson's well-timed challenge, and Happe slide in and seemed to catch the forward inside the area.

Referee Swabey pointed to the penalty spot, but the linesman came onto the pitch and after the pair had spoken, the decision was reversed to a corner.

Stevenage were incensed and had to make another substitution with nine minutes of the half left when Cuthbert's race was run and he eventually conceded he could no longer continue after suffering an injury in the opening exchanges.

O's were not letting it affect them, however, and remained committed to passing the ball around and creating chances.

The odd dribble helped, usually from Brophy and he left Paul Taylor in his shadow with 40 played, but the end product was lacking and his cross evaded everyone in the area and flew out of play for a throw.

Wilkinson and Angol were looking lively and nearly combined soon after, but a shot by the former was blocked.

Maamria's team then reminded Orient of their quality when Chris Stokes free kick landed on the roof of Dean Brill's net after another smart break.

Stevenage were a threat on the counter-attack and although eight minutes of stoppage time was added on - largely due to the visitors' injury problems - no goals occurred and it stayed all square and goalless at the break.

Embleton would have been pleased with various elements of Orient's play and yet it had no produced a goal as of yet.

Wright tried to change that in the 48th minute after playing a one-two with Wilkinson, but his effort was blocked. O's went even closer three minutes later and Farman had to be at his best to keep the scores level.

Forward Wilkinson dribbled into the area and worked some space, but saw his fierce strike saved by Stevenage's number one. Angol was first to the loose ball and fired at goal, but again there was Farman to save.

It was not one-way traffic though, with Taylor drilling wide from 25-yards soon after and it gave the noisy 442 travelling supporters something else to shout about.

They had made a terrific amount of noise in east London, but were nearly silenced on the hour mark when Brophy went on another mazy run and found Wilkinson and yet his effort was blocked.

Orient produced more quality in the 64th minute when Ling's outstanding cross found Wilkinson, but he failed to poke towards goal and Farman beat Angol to the loose ball and took a whack to the head for his troubles.

Stevenage failed to make the most of a good opening moments later when Stokes' cross found Taylor in the area, yet he could only fire into the ground.

Louis Dennis was the next player to come on for Orient, taking the place of Wilkinson who had threatened, but failed to make the decisive different in the final third.

Chances were still frequent for Orient and Gorman tried his luck from 25-yards, which caught out Farman and he fumbled the effort.

Ling was first to the loose ball and whipped a ball across the face of goal, but at the back post Dennis was unable to get the required touch and Stevenage's supporters' continued to enjoy their visit to the capital.

Maamria replaced Taylor with Jason Cowley on the stroke of full time and then four minutes were added on.

While O's continued to keep possession and had Borough pinned in at times, it was the visitors who almost stole the points.

Danny Newton fired towards goal with virtually the last kick of the game, but Brill got down low and saved impressively as the spoils were shared.