Chester FC will feel this is two points dropped after they failed to make the extra man count in a 2-2 draw at Leyton Orient.

The injury-ravaged Blues played for the entire second half with the extra man and had the lead at the break, but they were pegged back in the capital as Jobi McAnuff slammed home on the hour to bag the O’s a deserved point.

And Ross Hannah’s penalty miss on the stroke of half time proved costly.

Macauley Bonne handed Orient a sixth-minute lead before a bizarre goal from an Andy Halls cross was adjudged to have been over the line, with the final touch going to James Akintunde.

Then Chester had the lead as Hannah curled home a pearler of a free kick from 20 yards on 40 minutes.

Orient were down to 10-men on 44 minutes when Jamie Sendles-White pulled down Nyal Bell when he had the goal at his mercy, but Hannah missed the resulting spot kick.

And McAnuff was on hand in the second half to rifle home from distance to bag a share of the spoils.

Blues boss Marcus Bignot was down to the barest of bones for the trip to Brisbane Road, with Ryan Astles and Jordan Archer failing to recover in time while Paul Turnbull was an absentee after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Bromley on Saturday.

Bignot moved to add Goole AFC striker Jorome Slew to his ranks earlier in the day, and the former Sheffield United youngster was in the squad for the trip to London, taking his place on a youthful bench that also included teenagers James Jones and Lloyd Marsh-Hughes.

With Turnbull absent and Harry White another injury casualty from the weekend, Bignot turned to Wolves loanee Ryan Rainey, handing the 21-year-old Irishman his Chester debut.

As for managerless Orient, who had parted company with head coach Steve Davis seven days previous, they were in reasonably buoyant mood coming into the game having earned a good point at home to National League leaders Dover Athletic on Saturday under the guidance of interim bosses Ross Embleton and Dean Brill.

Chester needed a good start - they got anything but.

Straight from kick off the O’s came at the Blues, forcing a succession of corners, with the third finding the head of Joe Widdowson who nodded over when well placed 10-yards out.

That didn’t act as a wake-up call for Chester and they were behind on six minutes.

James Dayton played a short corner to Jobi McAnuff who whipped in a dangerous ball that found the head of O’s leading scorer Macauley Bonne who steered a looping header over Alex Lynch from 12 yards for his ninth goal of the season.

Orient had their tails up and were seeing plenty of the ball in the opening stages, although the Blues began to settle slightly after a fraught opening.

And they were level on 15 minutes in bizarre circumstances.

Andy Halls whipped in a cross from the right touchline that deflected off the head of Widdowson and into the path of Akintunde who appeared the faintest of touches before the ball caught out Sam Sargeant in the Orient goal before being seemingly hacked to safety.

But the linesman flagged and signalled a goal, much to the chagrin of the home fans and delight of the travelling Blues supporters. It looked from the press bench like Widdowson had got the final touch, though.

Orient looked to hit back quickly and Lynch had to be alert to push away a Dayton effort from just inside the area before Craig Clay saw his close range header deflect over from eight yards as the home side looked to regain the advantage.

The hosts were seeing plenty of the ball but the space that they were finding out wide early on was starting to be less available as Chester struck on a more solid shape.

But it was to be the visitors who would strike next.

James Akintunde was adjudged to have been hauled down just outside the box, much to the annoyance of the home crowd.

But while there was some confusion over who got the final touch on the equaliser, there was no such problem here as Hannah curled a fine effort beyond Sargeant and into the bottom corner of the Orient net.

Referee Alan Dale was public enemy no.1 inside Brisbane Road - and it was only to get more feisty.

A minute before the break saw Bell chase onto a ball forward and he beat Sargeant to the ball and had an empty net to run at, but as he went to pull the trigger inside the box he was brought down by an already booked Jamie Sendles-White who was then shown his marching orders for a professional foul.

Up stepped Hannah but his fairly tame spot kick was saved by Sargeant to a roar from the home fans.

But there was one more incident to fan the flames as interim O’s boss Embleton was sent to the stands for remonstrating with Dale while some home fans vented their anger at Blues boss Bignot.


Ten-man Orient made two changes at the break, opting to bring on Matt Harrold and Zain Westbrooke in place of Craig Clay and Alex Lawless.

Chester had the first effort of the second half when Rainey rifled over from 20 yards after some neat build up from the Blues.

But Orient were feeling hard done by and looking to strike back and Jobi McAnuff was unlucky to see his 25 yard deflected effort whisp inches past Lynch’s post.

Dayton then tried to fashion a response as he cut in from the right hand side but, unable to get a clear sight of goal, he dragged his 20 yard effort well wide.

Despite being a man down it was Orient who were looking like they had the extra body as the probed for an opening.

And with an hour on the clock it came.

There seemed little danger when the ball fell to the feet of McAnuff 30 yard out, but he drove forward before thumping a low effort well beyond Lynch and into the back of the net to restore parity. It was no less than they deserved, in truth.

Chester continued to be profligate in possession time and time again and Orient were growing in confidence and finding space with ease, pulling the Blues apart.

Despite their numerical disadvantage it was hard to see beyond the O’s if there was to be a winner.

Bignot threw on Myles Anderson for his Chester debut in place of Lathaniel Rowe-Turner in a bid to get Jordan Gough further up the pitch in the final 15 minutes.

But the Blues still couldn’t make their extra man tell as Orient hustled and harried to stifle the visitors.

In a rare second half effort, Kingsley James did at least bring a save out of Sargeant when he fired straight at his midriff from 20 yards.

However, the Blues were let off the hook with four minutes of normal time remaining when substitute David Mooney volleyed inches wide from 15 yards when unmarked. He really should have hit the target.

At the other end Jordan Gough could have done better when he found himself in space on the edge of the area, but he decided to shoot straight at Sargeant when he had Bell screaming for the ball in the box.

But there were to be no further goals as the O’s held out. A point on the road but a chance spurned to pick up valuable points.


Leyton Orient: Sargeant, Caprice, Widdowson, Lawless (Westbrooke 46), Sendles-White, McAnuff, Bonne, Clay (Harrold 46), Happe, Brophy, Dayton. Subs not used: Brill, Mooney, Ellis.

Bookings: Sendles-White, Clay, Bonne.

Sent off: Sendles-White.

Goals: Bonne 6, McAnuff 60.

Chester: Lynch, Halls, McCombe, Rowe-Turner (Anderson 76), Rainey (Slew 80), Gough, James, Dawson, Akintunde, Hannah, Bell. Subs not used: Vaughan, Jones, Marsh-Hughes.

Bookings: Bell, James.

Goals: Akintunde 15, Hannah 40.

Referee: Alan Dale.

Attendance: 3,352 (173 from Chester).

Star man: Jordan Gough.