O's the better side in goalless draw, writes MICHAEL McCANN
Barnsley’s six-game winning run ended as they shared a 0-0 draw at Leyton Orient, who remain inside the League One relegation zone and three points shy of safety.
The O’s were largely the better side and created multiple good opportunities, with visiting goalkeeper Adam Davies in excellent form to keep his clean sheet.
An excellent free-kick from Conor Hourihane was the only real chance for Barnsley, whose performance was below what one would expect of a 6th-placed side.
Orient had made two changes, as Mathieu Baudry and Marvin Bartley missed out through injury, with Nathan Clarke returning as captain and Bradley Pritchard moved into central midfield.
The first chance came early on when Jobi McAnuff struck powerfully over from just outside the box, though the game quickly settled into a tight and cagey affair.
Orient were marginally the better side, reflected when from a cross Darius Henderson provided a header on for fellow striker Chris Dagnall, who could only head wide.
A teasing free-kick from Josh Wright was left unfinished, while a powerful drive from McAnuff forced a sharp save from Davies as Barnsley looked the stronger side.
Following the interval the game improved in tempo and quality, though the balance of play remained relatively similar.
Orient continued to create the better chances, as Hedges forced another save from Davies after good work from Dagnall.
Barnsley responded almost immediately with their only significant opportunity, as a Hourihane free-kick appeared destined for the top corner, only to be well stopped by Alex Cisak.
The O’s then missed a good chance, as neat work from Ryan Hedges created a shooting opportunity, before only firing disappointingly wide.
The confidence gained from having the better of the game was evident as Orient looked increasingly in control as the game continued.
This was clearly seen from the move of the match, as Hedges played a pass for ex-Reading winder McAnuff, who put Pritchard through on goal. The midfielder produced a stinging strike which was pushed assertively over the bar by the confident, and superb, Davies.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Andrea Dossena curled a free-kick narrowly wide, though pressure from the home side reduced significantly when Dean Cox came on for McAnuff.
The midfielder had shown the kind of talent that saw him play in the Premier League not long ago and his withdrawal led to a disruption of the O’s attacking rhythm.
The only significant action in the final 10 minutes came when a late challenge on O’s captain Clarke led substitute Milan Lalkovic receiving a deserved straight red card.
From play alone the home side appeared to be the one chasing promotion and Barnsley the one seeking to avoid relegation, though both lacked the required quality and composure in the final third.
On this performance the O’s, only three points adrift with eight games left are capable of survival, while Barnsley have the excellent Davies to thank for gaining their point.