Report: Leyton Orient 0 Stevenage 0
Boro stay seventh after goalless draw at Orient
Leyton Orient 0 Stevenage 0
npower League 1
Stevenage moved to within one point of the npower League 1 play-off places with a hard-fought goalless draw at the Matchroom Stadium.
Joel Byrom went closest for Boro when he hit the foot of Ben Alnwick’s post in the second half while Phil Edwards forced a good save from the Orient goalkeeper, but this was a match of few clear-cut chances and the result fairly reflected the action.
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The headline news for Stevenage was a starting place for Luke Freeman who signed on loan from Arsenal late last week.
Naturally a striker, the teenager began the game on the left of midfield with Darius Charles returning after a knee injury to lead the line with Robin Shroot tucked in just behind him.
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With John Mousinho set to be out until after Christmas after picking up a foot injury Phil Edwards also started, and the midfielder was probably the star turn for Boro as he mixed a defensive nous with well-timed forward runs in support of a front line which struggled to break down a stubborn Orient defence.
Charles seemed eager in the early stages as he looked to involve his team-mates but a Michael Bostwick shot aside Stevenage failed to test Alnwick in the opening half hour.
Dave Mooney twice went close for the home side, firstly sliding just inches short of George Porter’s low pass across Chris Day’s goal before curling a shot wide of Day’s far post, something Kevin Lisbie repeated six minutes later from almost exactly the same angle.
By the half-hour mark the home side were making inroads and Lisbie again got behind the Stevenage back line only to squander a decent chance with a poor shot.
By this time Freeman, who had shown glimpses of his talent, had moved up front alongside Charles while Shroot, having had an ineffectual half, was taken off for Byrom at half time.
Chris Beardsley followed Byrom onto the pitch in place of Charles on 54 minutes and the striker headed over from 18 yards with almost his first touch of the match.
It was another 10 minutes before any action of note took place, this time Porter striking low at Day’s goal from distance which the goalkeeper got behind.
As the seconds ticked down Boro pushed on with Beardsley leading the line well, and the visitors went close on 65 minutes only for Alnwick to push Edwards’ long effort out for a corner.
Lawrie Wilson had pinched the ball on the halfway line and skipping past an attempted trip he crossed the ball from the right to Freeman whose shot was spilled by Alnwick. Orient, however, tried to hurry their clearance and when Stevenage recovered the ball Edwards hit a sweet strike from 20 yards forcing Alnwick to save well to his right.
By this time Stevenage were looking dangerous, and with 20 minutes to go Byrom and Beardsley combined well before the former moved the ball from his left foot to his right and struck the foot of Alnwick’s left post. Edwards, in close proximity, then hit the rebound over.
Freeman shot straight at Alnwick before Stacy Long replaced Boro’s latest acquisition and himself shot over with his first touch of the game.
As has been the case in recent weeks Stevenage were creating plenty of second half chances but not taking them, and they almost came to regret their wastefulness in the dying moments.
Orient winger Porter, who had been the best player on the pitch, picked the ball up on the right before passing inside to Lisbie who was 40 yards from the Stevenage goal.
With one flick of the outside of his left boot the striker took Mark Roberts out of the game before running into the box only to be denied by a superb late challenge from Ashton who slid in to knock the ball out in what was the last action of the match.
Leyton Orient (4-1-4-1): Alnwick 8, Smith 7, Daniels 6, Cuthbert 7, Forbes 6, Porter 8, Mooney 6 (Cureton 73), Dawson 6, Spring 7, Clarke 6, Lisbie 7. Subs: Butcher, Laird, Cestor, Odubajo.
Stevenage (4-4-1-1): Day 7, Henry 6, Laird 6, Roberts 6, Ashton 7, Wilson 6, Freeman 6 (Long 85), Edwards 8, Bostwick 7, Shroot 5 (Byrom 46, 7), Charles 6 (Beardsley 54, 7). Subs: Julian, Harrison.
Attendance: 4,862 (1,028)
Referee: Carl Berry.