Bristol Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 21 October 2003

Caretaker boss Martin Ling staked out his claim for the Leyton Orient manager's job as they came from behind for a spirited 1-1 draw at ten man Bristol Rovers.

They have now taken ten points from the last five games and Ling's inspired second half changes came close to winning him all three points.

A thundering equaliser from his first substitute Jabo Ibehre wiped out Rovers' lead and, in the final minutes, Dave Hunt crashed a free kick against the bar and an Alan McCormack header flew just wide.

For all but ten minutes of the second half, Leyton were facing ten men after home defender Ijah Anderson had been sent off for two bookings inside three minutes.

They were on players Ling has borrowed, Shaun Cooper (Portsmouth) and Dean Hammond (Brighton); the first card unlucky, the second inevitable for a tackle from behind.

The point did little to ease the pressure on Rovers' manager Ray Graydon. Eighteen months into a five year contract he knows his directors would not stand in the way of a resignation.

However, chairman Geoff Dunford said on the club's website the board are in no position to buy out the contract.

Orient, carrying on from their win at Southend on Saturday, tested Rovers' fragile confidence in the first half with the accuracy and pace of their passing game.

Rovers, who had changed both their full-backs, bringing in Sonny Parker and Kevin Austin, rode out a shaky spell though to grab the lead after 34 minutes.

Parker, spotting the gap opening up before his run down the right, sped through to finish with a hard low drive.

Lee Harrison in Leyton's goal failed to hold it and it bounced away to leave Paul Tait a tap in for his seventh goal of the season.

The goal galvanised Rovers' attitude and suddenly they were swarming all over the London club looking for a second.

Within two minutes, centre-back Adam Barrett, was hustling through to force a corner and 18-year old Lewis Haldane began to worry the visitors’ captain and centre-back Dave McGhee.

The youngster hit a shot on the turn, Hammond was booked and with the game flowing Rovers' way Haldane hit the bottom of a post.

McGhee joined Hammond in the book for up-ending Haldane and Anderson's free kick rose over the bar.

It was the high point of Rovers night, and after Anderson had been dismissed they were scrambling all the way to save a point.

Bristol Rovers Match Reports

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