Written by Gary Skinner @GaryS1906
Oldham Athletic and Leyton Orient fought out a 1-1 draw at Boundary Park on Saturday. Latics gave a starting spot to experienced midfielder David Jones in central midfield alongside another former Burnley man Chris McCann, while Scott Wilson earned a recall up front in a two pronged attack with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
The home side got off to the perfect start after just two minutes when winger Jonny Smith latched onto a misplaced defensive header just inside the Orient half and outpaced the full back before advancing into the penalty area and slipping the ball past Sargeant in the Orient goal and into the bottom corner.
Both sides then shared possession without creating goal scoring opportunities but a poor clearance from Stott found Maguire-Drew who took the ball to the edge of the Oldham penalty area before firing a low left foot shot that de la Paz saved comfortably.
The O’s didn’t have to wait long for their equaliser though, after Iacovitti lost possession of the ball on a forward run, Latics were left short of cover at the back and Lee Angol was able to deliver a ball across the face of the Oldham goal that found the onrushing Maguire-Drew who was able to force the ball home after his first attempt was partially blocked by the keeper.
Clear cut chances were difficult to come by for both sides, Zak Mills saw his shot from distance go just wide of the post, and Stott’s effort also from distance forced Sargeant into a good save low to his right, but the first half ended all square.
Former Oldham loanee Conor Wilkinson almost gave Orient the lead in the 50th minute but his shot was deflected just wide by a last gasp tackle. The resulting corner saw de la Paz spill the ball sparking a goalmouth scramble, Angol had his close range shot blocked before the goalkeeper was eventually able to reclaim the ball.
Angol came close to scoring on the hour mark when the Oldham defence allowed him to latch onto a long clearance from Sargeant but de la Paz got down smartly to save his shot from the edge of the area. At the other end Jones scuffed his shot at goal when he really should have done better.
Dino Maamria made his first substitution in the 66th minute bringing on Maouche for the largely ineffective Wilson, and two minutes later he replaced Iacovitti with Morais in an attempt to break the deadlock.
Morais produced a good run inside before curling a right footed shot just wide of the far post. Latics made their final change in the 79th minute with Azankpo replacing Akpa Akpro.
The winner almost came in the 87th minute when Mills was pulled back just outside the Orient penalty area. Jones took the free kick hitting a cracking left foot effort that rattled the post with Sargeant well beaten.
In the end the spoils were shared though and Leyton Orient will no doubt welcome the away point after 3 successive league defeats.
Latics unbeaten in 5 games
For the Latics it’s 5 league games unbeaten but goals are proving hard to come by and for the manager the January transfer window can’t come soon enough. The forward line must surely be a priority for Dino Maamria if Latics are to climb the table in the second half of the season.
Pictures by Eddie Garvey