Leyton Orient 0 Walsall 0 - Report

Walsall’s season of draws continued with another stalemate as they drew 0-0 with Leyton Orient.

Despite the home side’s impressive form before kick-off, and after they spurned an early opportunity, it was Walsall that imposed themselves more in the opening 15 minutes.

A handful of opportunities came and went with Emmanuel Osadebe blazing the best opportunity over the bar when he found himself free in the box on the half-volley.

The game entered a dull period as the first half closed out, however, and it never recovered in the second half. Half-chances came and went for both sides but nothing clear-cut was created.

After surviving some late Orient pressure Walsall left the Breyer Group Stadium with a point.

Brian Dutton made two changes to his side and stuck with the 4-4-2 formation.

Jack Rose got his first appearance under the new head coach as he replaced Liam Roberts in goal.

Hayden White made his return from suspension and came straight into the starting XI, as Alfie Bates dropped out of the squad altogether. Liam Kinsella then moved back into midfield.

Stuart Sinclair, Callum Cockerill-Mollett and Jack Nolan were also not involved, while academy midfielder Joe Willis travelled but did not make the squad. Dan Scarr missed out due to injury.

Leyton Orient interim boss Jobi McAnuff made one change as he started with a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The player-manager dropped himself to the bench as Conor Wilkinson moved into the starting XI.

In-line with the form table it was the hosts that made a quick start and almost took the lead in the opening minutes. Wilkinson first had an effort saved by Rose before the follow-up shot from Sam Ling was blocked by James Clarke.

Walsall responded fairly quickly, however, as Josh Gordon had a shot saved before Mat Sadler blazed over when he met a corner at the near post. The defender was a free runner and should have done better with his shot.

A flowing Saddlers move then ended with Tyreik Wright lifting the ball into the box to find Osadebe, who was unmarked, but the midfielder’s first-time effort cleared the bar.

Walsall’s good work was almost undone when Rose fumbled a James Brophy long-ball. He managed to reclaim the ball before he was fouled by Danny Johnson, with the striker almost taking the loose ball and capitalising on the mistake.

Despite there being a fast start in which both teams had chances the game hit a lull after 30- minutes. Neither team was able to get the ball down and string passes together and in-turn opportunities on goal were limited.

Orient were able to mount a sustained period of pressure as the game creeped towards half-time but the Saddlers stood firm defensively as the hosts struggled to create a chance of any note.

On the stroke of half-time Caolan Lavery was forced off with injury and replaced by Rory Holden. The attacking midfielder moved into the space behind Gordon as Walsall changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The teams then entered the break drawing 0-0.

As the second half got underway a dangerous cross from Brophy was inches away from meeting Wilkinson as the ball came through the Walsall box just needing a final touch from an Orient man.

Holden almost created the chance Walsall needed when his cross was missed by Tunji Akinola and with Wright expecting the defender to clear it he ball harmlessly bounced off his chest when he had a shooting opportunity in the box.

As the game passed the hour mark neither side had created anything meaningful. A handful of tame efforts from outside the box trickled wide as the lull from the first half carried into the second.

Orient should have scored when Dan Kemp arrived, unmarked, on the edge of the box but his free shot was blocked by his own player as Johnson got in the way. Moments later Kemp went down in the box under a challenge by Osadebe and referee Paul Howard was unmoved.

Interim boss McAnuff then brought himself off the bench, replacing Craig Clay, as Orient attempted to get a foothold in the final third.

Gordon cut a frustrated figure up front for Walsall as he failed to win the majority of the 50-50 decisions, with the referee often siding with Orient. The striker was becoming more isolated as the game progressed and chances continued to be limited.

Max Melbourne almost fired the game into life, however, when he faked to cross and ran into the box on the left. He then drilled a low ball across which was close to finding Gordon and eventually cleared for a corner, which came to nothing after an over-hit Osadebe delivery.

A Holden cross from the left then almost found Wright as both teams looked for that winning strike.

Derick Osei Yaw was thrown on in the closing minutes of the game as Walsall searched desperately for a goal.

The striker almost provided it, too, as he was inches away from connecting with a Holden cross.

In added time Wilkinson went down in the box under a challenge from Melbourne and the referee adjudged that the forward had dived and booked him for simulation.

In the end the game ended in a draw as Walsall picked up their fourth consecutive draw and the second 0-0 in four days. It takes their tally to 19 draws this season as they attempt to stave off any relegation trouble.

Teams

Walsall: Rose, White, Clarke, Sadler, Melbourne, Wright, Kinsella, Perry, Osadebe, Gordon (Osei Yaw, 88), Lavery (Holden, 45).

Subs not used: Roberts, Norman, Leak, Vincent, McDonald.

Leyton Orient: Vigouroux, Ling, Akinola, Turley, Widdowson (Dennis, 63), Clay (McAnuff, 72), Cisse (Kyprianou, 45), Kemp, Wilkinson, Brophy, Johnson.

Subs not used: Sergeant, Dayton, Judd, Abrahams.

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