FC Halifax Town 1 Leyton Orient 1: '˜Tough to take' says Nathan Clarke after Shaymen are denied victory

A DRAMATIC stoppage-time equaliser denied FC Halifax Town victory as they drew 1-1 with Leyton Orient at The Shay.

Dayle Southwell scores from the spot for Town against Leyton orient at The Shay. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald

Dayle Southwell’s penalty, the first goal the visitors had conceded in five-and-a-half hours, looked to have inflicted Leyton Orient’s first defeat of the season, but substitute James Alabi scrambled in a late leveller - the sixth time they have scored in the last five minutes this term.

Speaking afterwards, Town’s Nathan Clarke – who played 113 games for Orient between 2012 and 2015 – said: “Tt was a hard one to take and as a team we defended really well.

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“In the first half we were under a lot of pressure. Going into half time at 0-0 we hoped to switch it round and put them under pressure.

“Overall, though, we are playing really well. We just need to take more care in the final third.”

Josh Koroma brought a couple of regulation saves out of Sam Johnson in a bright start from the visitors, who played like a team yet to lose this season.

The pressure from the away side built as the first-half wore on, and should have resulted in Macauley Bonne putting them in-front when Dayton found him unmarked near the penalty spot after a quick break, but the striker blazed over.

Orient spurned another big chance to take the lead when Bonne’s low cross found Koroma but he hit the outside of the post from the corner of the six-yard box.

Jamie Fullarton gets his instructions across on the touchline on Saturday. Picture: Bruce Fitzgerald

By the time Southwell blasted Town into the lead from the spot, after Kosylo had been fouled, Town had improved since the interval, competing better, offering more urgency and defending with real doggedness.

But Alabi preserved Orient’s unbeaten start with a low finish after some pinball in the Halifax box.

There was still time for Kosylo to go close with a rasping free-kick before Nathan Clarke had a chance to win it against his old club with a header from the resulting corner.

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Clarke, Brown, Kosylo, Southwell (Maher 83), Edwards, Lenighan, Berrett, Preston (Odelusi 89), Skarz, Hanson. Unused substitutes: Rowley, Sellers, King.

Leyton Orient: Brill, Judd, Coulson, Ekpiteta, Widdowson, Dayton (Alabi 81), Lee, Clay (Harrold 75), McAnuff, Koroma, Bonne. Unused substitutes: Sargeant, Lawless, Happe.

Referee: Simon Mather (Manchester).