CAV­ALRY SAVE O’S BLUSHES

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By An­drew Brook

THREE sub­sti­tutes com­bined to snatch a point for Ley­ton Ori­ent against fel­low pro­mo­tion chasers Ox­ford, and O’s boss Ian Hen­don be­lieves the come­back could be a turn­ing point for his side.

Ox­ford surged into a two-goal, half-time lead, but sub­sti­tutes Jack Payne and Ol­lie Palmer cre­ated Jay Simp­son’s goal and fel­low sub Scott Kashket slot­ted in an in­jury-time equaliser.

Hen­don said: “I’m re­ally pleased with the at­ti­tude of the play­ers in the sec­ond half, es­pe­cially the subs that came on. Payne was ex­cel­lent. He con­trolled the game. Palmer, the big man, did what he’s up there to do.

“That could be a piv­otal one. We’ve come back from the dead. No-one was ex­pect­ing that. We de­served the few boos we got at half-time, but sec­ond-half they were on their feet cheer­ing.

“Ob­vi­ously we want to win games, but we were as dis­ap­pointed as the fans at half-time and as elated as them when we came off.”

Ori­ent went be­hind af­ter deal­ing poorly with Jor­dan Gra­ham’s cross. Hav­ing cleared a cor­ner back to Gra­ham, its taker, Mathieu Baudry messed up the sec­ond cross to present an un­miss­able, three-yard tap-in to Ke­mar Roofe.

The score was dou­bled when the tire­less Liam Ser­combe stole pos­ses­sion and fed John Lund­stram, whose shot was de­flected over Alex Cisak.

The sec­ond goal was un­for­tu­nate for Ori­ent, but the half-time score­line was not, as Ox­ford’s youth­ful front six zipped around Ori­ent’s defence with Gra­ham, Ser­combe and Roofe es­pe­cially im­pres­sive.

A dou­ble half-time switch ini­tially bore lit­tle fruit for Ori­ent, but Palmer headed a long ball from Payne into Simp­son’s path and League Two’s top scorer poked it home via Sam Slo­combe’s weak hand.

The goal was sim­ple in its con­cep­tion, su­perb in its ex­e­cu­tion and game-chang­ing in its im­pact.

Three min­utes later Gra­ham was booked for kick­ing the ball away, soon af­ter his first yel­low. The ta­lented Wolves loa­nee has a bright fu­ture, but his dis­missal was brain­less.

Kashket, the third sub­sti­tute, grabbed a point with his first se­nior goal that Gra­ham’s team­mates lit­tle de­served, his 20-yard, 91st-minute strike slip­ping in via the post.

Ox­ford man­ager Michael Ap­ple­ton said:“You don’t get your three points fin­ishes.

“With the sub­sti­tutes they made at half-time we knew they’d get a lot of balls into the box and we knew we’d have to de­fend well.

“What we didn’t read in the script was be­ing down to ten men. Gra­ham’s a young player and young play­ers are go­ing to be im­ma­ture at times and they don’t have the ex­pe­ri­ence to deal with cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.

“I felt we’d weath­ered the storm

un­til the game and then they got their first goal.

“The cen­tre-backs will be beat­ing them­selves up about that one. We’d con­ceded the joint-low­est num­ber of goals be­fore to­day and I don’t see us go­ing and con­ced­ing a load of goals.”

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