Leyton Orient maintained their seven-point lead at the top of League Two after a hard-fought match against nearest rivals Stevenage ended goalless.
In an attempt to extend their advantage at the top to double figures, Orient ignored Stevenage’s early pressure to close in through forwards Charlie Kellman and Paul Smith.
Stevenage had their best moment early in the second half through a header from Carl Bergiani and Jordan Roberts had a fine save by Lawrence Vigouroux.
The O’s captain Darren Pratley and Daniel Happi turned down excellent chances to find a winner for the hosts but, in truth, neither side managed to pull off that vital moment of quality.
The tie ended Orient’s four-game winning streak, but it’s now just one defeat in their last 11 league games for Ritchie Wellens’ side, while Steve Evans’ men extended their unbeaten run to seven.
On a chilly east London afternoon, this eagerly awaited meeting between the two top teams took a quarter of an hour to warm up, but after an awkward opening, it was Orient who found their rhythm first.
Key to this was the freeing of fast forwards Smith and Kellman, and the two produced sensational runs that almost broke the deadlock.
First, Kellman sprinted from the halfway point to the edge of the penalty area before seeing his low, swerving drive kick wide with a Ty Ashby Hammond foot. Smith then made his way almost the length of the field, skipping three challenges but hitting his 18-yard shot just inches wide.
In between, Jordan Roberts swept Stevenage’s best chance into the straight at Vigouroux from Danny Rose’s surprising cross.
Bergiani’s looping header from 12 yards and Roberts, sharply curling a sharp shot just across the corner from a quick, clever free-kick that Vigouroux beat at his near post, helped the visitors get back into the game in the second half.
Their rebound never threatened to conjure up a game-winning goal, though the O, the free-flowing first-half, relied more on their threat from set-pieces in the second-half.
He should have given them all three points too, only for Pratley and Hope to send free headers from close range straight at Ashby Hammond with the goal at their mercy.
formation – formation 4-3-3
- 12brouwnreplaced withChasein a 88 ‘Session minutes
- 18BratleyBooked at 51 minutes
- 14Moncorreplaced withSotiriouin a 63′Session minutes
- 15El MizouniBooked at 21 minutes
- 23Kellmanreplaced withDrennanin a 63′Session minutes
- 7smithreplaced withclayin a 88 ‘Session minutes
- 40Duke McKenna
formation – formation 5-3-2
- 12Ashby Hammond
- 2WildBooked in 45 minutesreplaced withSmithin a 80 ‘Session minutes
- 9Norrisreplaced withreedin a 81 ‘Session minutes
- 32Has risenBooked in 50 minutesreplaced withTaylorin a 81 ‘Session minutes
- to rule:
- Charles Breakspeare
The match is over, Leyton Orient 0, Stevenage 0.
The second half ends, Leyton Orient 0, Stevenage 0.
Foul by Omar Pickles (Leyton Orient).
Jake Reeves (Stevenage) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Darren Pratley (Leyton Orient) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jordan Roberts (Stevenage).
Tom James (Leyton Orient) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jamie Reid (Stevenage).
Substitution, Leyton Orient. Rob Hunt replaces Jordan Brown.
Substitution, Leyton Orient. Craig Clay replaces Paul Smith.
missed attempt. Driss El Maisonni (Leyton Orient) right footed shot from outside the penalty area is high and wide to the right. With the assistance of Paul Smith.
missed attempt. Alex Gilbey (Stevenage)’s header from outside the penalty area is too high after a corner.
Corner, Stevenage. against Paul Smith.
Theo Archibald (Leyton Orient) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Alex Gilbey (Stevenage).
Offside, Stevenage. Terence Vancooten attempts a through ball, but Saxon Early is caught offside.
missed attempt. Alex Gilbey (Stevenage) right footed shot from the right side of the penalty area, too high. With assistance from Jordan Roberts.
Attempt is prohibited. Jake Taylor (Stevenage) is blocked with his left foot from the center of the box. With assistance from Jordan Roberts.
Substitution, Stevenage. Jake Taylor replaces Danny Rose.
Substitution, Stevenage. Jamie Reed replaces Luke Norris.
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