Aldershot Town suprised the form-book with a well-earned and well deserved point away to league leaders Leyton Orient.
The Shots battled through two first half injuries to Adam May and Matt McClure and almost won it late on when Adam McDonnell had an effort cleared off the line. Jobi McAnuff had the O’s best effort when he struck the crossbar from a free-kick.
Shots boss Gary Waddock made five changes to the side that lost 2-0 at home to Barrow on the weekend with McDonnell returning from suspension and May, Luke Howell, Dominic Bernard and Reece Grant all coming into the starting eleven.
Despite their improved second half performance, the O’s had their best chance just 17 minutes in when their captain McAnuff saw his free-kick cannon off the crossbar and out with Will Mannion a spectator in the Shots goal.
Aldershot went close in the first half through McClure who saw his 30-yard strike sail just over the bar, McDonnell also placed a low free kick straight at Dean Brill.
The hosts showed a lot more attacking intent in the second half and went close twice early on through James Dayton squaring to Dale Gorman, Mannion was alert enough both times to hold.
It was actually the Shots who had the best chances in the second half. McDonnell had a free kick tipped over the bar by Brill from a tight angle.
The O’s introduction of James Alabi gave them a different dynamic up top. He firstly set up an effort for fellow substitute James Brophy only for the winger to smash it into the side-netting from close range.
Gorman went close again from a free-kick before Alabi managed to turn his man and race through on goal, only to be denied by the leg of Mannion on 80 minutes.
It was almost a smash and grab victory for the Shots on 83 minutes. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong shrugged off Myles Judd to race into the box and cross for McDonnell, his header beat Brill but the O’s defence were aware of the danger with one of three defenders on the line clearing the Irish midfielders header.
Orient were buoyed by two late goals at Wrexham on the weekend and gave the Shots a scare when Marvin Ekpiteta headed wide in injury time from a corner, but the Shots held out and grabbed a deserved point in East London.
The Shots are next in action when we host Garry Hill’s Ebbsfleet United at the EBB Stadium on Saturday. 3PM Kick Off.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Mannion, McCoy, Bernard, Osho, Kinsella, Howell, Gallagher, May (Fenelon 15), McDonnell, McClure (Barrett 30), Grant (Berkeley-Agyepong 68).
Subs not used: Cole, Wanadio.
By Chris Woods