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Leyton Orient 0 Walsall 0 - Report

Walsall came away with an excellent point from a tough assignment at Leyton Orient, but had justifiable claims to have deserved all three after producing some dangerous spells of attacking football without finding a finishing touch.


Orient have lost only one at home in the league so far this season, and the Saddlers are still to win on their travels, but those statistics bore no relevance on the action as Matt Taylor’s side combined a solid defensive display with some impressive momentum further forward.

Rollin Menayese headed over in the first half but it was in the second where Walsall produced several spells of dominance, lacking only that final precision to more regularly test the Orient keeper.

Crosses flashed across the Orient box and Walsall enjoyed some flowing football on the break but Lawrence Vigouroux was only seriously called into action to take those crosses or beat away a shot from Conor Wilkinson.

Stephen Ward and Ruel Sotiriou.

The hosts did have their moments at the Breyer Group Stadium, Harry Smith not far off target with an overhead kick and then being denied by a goalsaving challenge from Tyrese Shade in the second half.

But Walsall were more than good value for the result following a promising performance which means they have now lost just two in ten in all competitions.


Walsall made just one change to the team which had topped and tailed their performance perfectly against Salford to secure a 2-1 win the previous weekend.

Goalkeeper Carl Rushworth, who had missed that game due to being on England Under-21 duty, was recalled between the sticks with Jack Rose returning to the bench.

Former Orient frontman Conor Wilkinson, the Saddlers’ matchwinner off the bench against Salford, was again named among the substitutes as he continued his return to full fitness following a hamstring injury.

Orient made two changes to their line-up following a draw at Barrow.

Tom James and Ruel Sotiriou were named in the starting line-up with Craig Clay and Aaron Drinan dropping to the bench.

.Joss Labadie and Tom James.

George Miller did well to win an early free kick out on the right hand side in a promising position but Jack Earing’s delivery was comfortably cleared.

But at the other end a short goal kick from Rushworth was easily snaffled by Orient to launch an attack and at the end of it Hector Kyprianou’s first time effort was comfortably wide.

And then a long free kick taken by keeper Lawrence Vigouroux perfectly picked out wing back Tom James but his first time effort was gathered cleanly by Rushworth.

It had been a frantic opening to the game and Orient’s Theo Archibald won a challenge with Jack Earing on the touchline before a tame cross and then, seven minutes in, another long throw led to another opening for the hosts.

The ball was flicked on and striker Harry Smith executed a more than decent overhead kick which the backtracking Rushworth was ultimately able to watch over the bar.

Referee Ollie Yates was willing to let plenty go in the early stages, to the annoyance of the home fans after a couple of challenges, but it was Walsall then left wondering after Emmanuel Osadebe was clearly tugged back by Omar Beckles outside the box.

Walsall kept the move going and Hayden White’s deep cross was met by a looping header from Miller which was collected comfortably by Vigouroux.

White then made a superb driving run down the right shortly afterwards before sending in another decent cross which made Vigouroux think as he claimed it just ahead of the arriving Miller.

Having weathered an Orient storm it was Walsall now producing some decent momentum midway through the half with a couple of teasing set pieces from Earing.

George Miller and Omar Beckles.

A free kick was headed behind by Smith for a corner from which another promising delivery was headed over by Rollin Menayese.

It was probably the best chance of the game so far for either side as Menayese did well to find space inside the box but there was too much on his effort which cleared the crossbar.

Next up Osadebe and Stephen Ward linked well to then set Brendan Kiernan away down the left and his cross was taken by Vigouroux with Miller again in attendance.

Kieran Phillips was next to enjoy what was providing a happy hunting ground down the Saddlers right but after breaking powerfully to go past one defender he was blocked off by the second just outside the area.

Orient had been struggling to produce any decent moments after Walsall had grown into the game but in the 42nd minute, out of nowhere, they went close.

Theo Archibald found himself in space some 25 yards out and tried his luck with a low left foot drive which had Rushworth diving across his goal but the keeper had got his angles right and the ball flew past the post.

That was the last meaningful action of a first half in which Walsall had recovered well from conceding some early pressure to enjoy plenty of possession and positive moments going forward.

A sign that home boss Kenny Jackett wasn’t best pleased with how the game was progressing came in the form of two second half substitutions with Clay and Paul Smyth replacing Wood and Sotiriou.

It also saw the hosts switch from a 3-4-3 formation in the first half to a 4-3-3, and they made a bright start to the half with a couple of forays into the Saddlers area which were cleared.

Then Kiernan responded for Walsall with a driving run which needed a couple of defenders to bring it to an end.

Hector Kyprianou and Emmanuel Osadebe.

Just eight minutes into the half some lovely football from Walsall created a quickfire double chance.

Osadebe played a perfect pass in for Kiernan down the left and he cleverly picked out Miller who turned onto his right foot and saw his shot blocked.

Labadie followed up and caught his first time effort well but Orient defender Shad Ogie got his head to the goalbound effort to divert it over.

Osadebe then produced a neat backheel to send White away and the full back burst inside before delivering a driven cross which unfortunately evaded everyone inside the box.

Walsall’s number 10 was then involved again with another promising burst into the area but still the Saddlers just couldn’t find the finishing touch.

Matt Taylor made his first change of the afternoon just before the hour mark with Phillips making way for Tyrese Shade.

Very shortly afterwards Wilkinson was also sent on from the bench, receiving a mixture of applause and boos from the Orient fans as he replaced Kiernan.

Still the Saddlers were playing the better football producing another excellent move just without being able to provide the finish.

Osadebe was involved again, finding Labadie who played Wilkinson in down the right and his low centre would have been gobbled up by Miller but for some excellent goalkeeping from Vigouroux.

Yet in the 70th minute, again out of the blue, Orient had a great chance to go in front.

Half time substitute Smyth produced some great work to evade a couple of challenges and play Smith through on goal only for Shade to fly in with a superb tackle to avert the danger.

Play switched straight back to the other end in what was becoming a rip-roaring encounter as Wilkinson’s powerful effort drew a fine save from Vigouroux.

It was still a hugely open contest heading into the last five minutes as Shade did really well down the left and sent over a cross which had just too much power for Wilkinson to meet with his head.

Orient then won a free kick in a dangerous position out wide as the game moved into added time but there was just too much on James’ inswinger and the ball drifted out for a goal kick.

That was pretty much the last action of the game leaving Walsall making the journey back to the Midlands with their second clean sheet of the season and a point which was the least they deserved.


Leyton Orient (3-4-3 ): Vigoroux; Mitchell, Beckles, Ogie; James, Pratley, Clay, Wood; Archibald (Kemp 71), Smith, Sotoriou (Smyth 45)

Subs not used: Byrne (gk), Happe, Drinan, Omotoye.

Walsall (4-2-3-1): Rushworth; White, Menayese, Monthe, Ward; Labadie, Earing; Phillips (Shade 59), Osadebe, Kiernan (Wilkinson 63); Miller.

Subs not used: Rose (gk), Leak, Sadler, Bates, Perry.

Attendance: 5,826 (458 from Walsall)

Referee: Ollie Yates.

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