League Two: Luton Town 1 Leyton Orient 1
Luton Town’s stuttering home form continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Leyton Orient this evening.
Although a point against the promotion-chasing O’s can’t be seen as a bad result on paper, the manner in which it was achieved, Luton struggling to regularly test a visiting keeper once more, left the Kenilworth Road faithful audibly frustrated at full time.
With Hatters free-scoring on their travels this term, Jack Marriott’s first half strike was all they could muster, meaning John Still’s side have netted a mere eight goals at home in seven league games.
Town’s inability to create opportunities was highlighted in stoppage time as rather than going all-out for a winner, they were reduced to passing ponderously around in defence as time ticked down.
The boss made one change to the side that lost 2-1 to Crawley on Saturday, Paddy McCourt in for Nathan Doyle.
Setting up in a diamond formation, Hatters were slow out of the blocks yet again though.
They did break with pace on 11 minutes, as McCourt flicked on for Craig Mackail-Smith and he burst away on the wing before crossing for Marriott, whose prod was well handled by Alex Cisak.
However, Luton didn’t apply enough pressure on their visitors when in possession as John Marquis eased past Scott Cuthbert and pulled the ball back for Jack Payne, his side-footer drawing an excellent save from Mark Tyler.
Precious little happened from there, with home fans growing restless as the hosts appeared restricted in their formation, with both full backs coming under increasing pressure from their Orient counterparts.
Cuthbert saw his header cleared off the line as Town started to build up the slightest head of steam and were somehow in front after 34 minutes.
Jonathan Smith teed up Dan Potts and his hopeful cross shot took a deflection that wrong-footed all but the ever-alert Marriott at the far post who beat Cisak.
That saw Hatters finally throw off some of their shackles and on another foray forward, McGeehan tried his luck from distance, his shot blocked into the path of Marriott who with time on his side, hammered wide.
Orient upped the pressure for the remainder of the half though with a number of deliveries whistling across the box, forcing Luton into some last-ditch challenges, while Ollie Palmer fired straight at Tyler.
Hatters looked to have made bright start after the interval, McGeehan inches away from a cross and then Smith firing over the top.
However, Orient were level on 47 minutes as Potts sold himself far too easily, as Clohessy skipped away to cross for Jay Simpson to convert from close range.
The game then became increasingly stretched, with Orient always looking the more likely as Hatters were left clinging on at times
Marriott almost had an opening, spinning in the area only for Adam Chicksen’s intervention, as Luton finally started to get something resembling a foothold in the game.
Too often there wasn’t enough support when Hatters broke though, as McGeehan had to shoot from range, awkwardly parried by Cisak.
Still Orient pressed when they could, allowed far too much space in which to do so at times, Bradley Pritchard close to poking in at the back post, while Sammy Moore’s volley was blocked by Tyler.
Luton then had a magnificent chance with six minutes to go as Luke Guttridge sent Marriott away and with just Cisak to beat, he dragged past the post.
That sucked any life out of Hatters’ hopes to grab a winner and they will need to try and rectify their home form on Saturday, entertaining leaders Plymouth Argyle.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Sean Long, Dan Potts, Scott Cuthbert (C), Luke Wilkinson, Jonathan Smith, Olly Lee (Nathan Doyle 57), Paddy McCourt (Luke Guttridge 63), Cameron McGeehan, Jack Marriott, Craig Mackail-Smith (Josh McQuoid 76).
Subs not used: Elliot Justham, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Alex Lawless, Mark O’Brien.
Orient: Alex Cisak, Sean Clohessy, Connor Essam, Mathieu Baudry, Ollie Palmer (Dean Cox 71), Jack Payne, Sammy Moore, Bradley Pritchard, Adam Chicksen, Jay Simpson, John Marquis (Lloyd James 88).
Subs not used: Frazer Shaw, Alan Dunne, Blair Turgott, Scott Kashket, Charlie Grainger.
Attendance: 8,022 (638 Orient).
Booked: Wilkinson 38.
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Star man: Jack Marriott. Could have had a hat-trick but effort was commendable and is always in the area looking for a goal