If chairman barry hearn possesses half as much fight as his players then leyton orient should consider moving to madison square garden rather than the olympic stadium.
But, despite their opponents’ stoic resistance, for the second time in less than a week sheffield united conspired to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory after manoeuvring themselves in to a winning position.
Leading courtesy of chris porter’s late strike and with orient reduced to 10 men following charlie daniels’ foul on substitute lee williamson, a combination of poor decision-making and indecisive defence gifted kevin lisbie an equaliser with almost the final kick of the game.
There were ugly scenes at the final whistle when united’s matt phillips, having earlier made way for his stricken teammate, became embroiled in a row with a home supporter who, manager danny wilson claimed afterwards, had spat in the on-loan winger’s face.
And, as porter later revealed, words were also exchanged in the away dressing room during a no-holds-barred post-match inquest.
“There were arguments after the game,” he said. “Nothing major. We weren’t at each others throats.
“But there was a lot of constructive criticism where everyone had their say about what happened.
“I think it was important to do that because we should have seen that game out. No question about it.
“We’ve got lots of experienced players here and to do what we did just isn’t good enough.
“We’ve drawn but it feels like a defeat.”
Steve simonsen’s role in the comedy of errors which cost wilson’s side two precious league one points will inevitably be scrutinised.
The united goalkeeper must shoulder most of the blame, having failed to deal decisively with dean cox’s centre.
Wilson is telling the former england under-21 international to “be brave” in the face of growing criticism.
Worryingly for united’s coaching staff, lisbie’s effort bore uncanny similarities to gary madine’s decisive intervention during the steel city derby six days earlier.
“Everyone is to blame,” porter said. “As a team we should have done much better at the end.
“Collectively it was very poor. We’re not blaming anyone in particular and that would be wrong.
“Everyone has got a part to play.
Nevertheless, despite wilson’s obvious annoyance as to how it was achieved, orient deserved their share of the spoils.
Shackling the explosive phillips - one of the architects of
United’s midweek triumph at preston north end - to such an extent that he was withdrawn midway through the second half, orient toiled so well that russell slade, wilson’s counterpart at brisbane road, was prompted to declare: “they gave me everything i asked for. And more.”
When porter pounced less than a quarter of an hour after daniel’s dismissal, fifth-placed united appeared on course for only their second success at this stadium since 1977.
But orient’s persistence reaped its reward in the sixth minute of stoppage time - much of which can be attributed to the treatment williamson required before he hobbled gingerly off the pitch - when lisbie pounced and ensured they climbed out of the relegation zone.
“The boys squeezed out every last ounce of effort they had,” said slade. “I’m proud of them.”
Wilson insisted the visitors had enjoyed the better chances of a fractious match.
Although centre-half harry maguire and billy clarke were both guilty of missing opportunities, orient’s david mooney spurned two of his own.
Porter, whose burgeoning partnership with blly clarke once again persuaded wilson to leave the prolific ched evans out of his starting 11, prodded home when orient struggled to clear another stephen quinn centre.
But orient, who thought their moment had gone when marc laird headed wide after ghosting between maguire and neill collins, climbed to 19th when simonsen’s weak punch fell perfectly for lisbie.