Leyton Orient couldn’t return to winning ways this afternoon after they were held to a 1-1 draw with Ebbsfleet United at Brisbane Road.

Cory Whitely’s strike was cancelled out by an own goal from Kenny Clark fifteen minutes before half-time, to secure the O’s a deserved point, in what proved to be a tight affair in the National League.

Head Coach Justin Edinburgh made four changes to the side which lost to Gateshead in the FA Trophy in mid-week. In defence, there was a welcome return for George Elokobi, who replaced Dan Happe after missing the last four matches due to a hamstring injury. Sam Ling came in for Joe Widdowson at left-back, while Craig Clay replaced Lamar Reynolds, after missing the mid-week game through illness. Dan Holman was also given the nod upfront instead of David Mooney who dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile, former Orient midfielder Daryl McMahon named an unchanged Ebbsfleet side, as they looked to extend their unbeaten league run to five games.

It was a relatively quiet opening few minutes at Brisbane Road, although Dean Brill almost had a moment to forget when his goal-kick smashed straight into Ebbsfleet’s Danny Kedwell, but fortunately for Orient, the ball went comfortably wide.

Moments later and the O’s had the first shot on target, as Josh Koroma’s free kick from 25-yards forced a comfortable save from Nathan Ashmore after Clay had been brought down.

Justin Edinburgh’s men slowly grew in confidence and they were inches away from taking the lead in the 13th minute. Good play from Brophy released Koroma inside the area and his low effort was inches away from being tapped home by Bonne, before the ball was put behind for a corner.

That miss proved to be costly for the O’s as no less than a minute later and Ebbsfleet had the lead thanks to Cory Whitely, who finished low past Brill after being released in behind Orient’s defence.

A lot of the O’s best passages of play were going through Koroma in the early stages and the young winger had another effort just before the 20 minute mark, as his strike with the outside of the boot went wide of the post.

Orient’s defence had started nervously and that was summed up when Ebbsfleet’s Luke Coulson was allowed to run at least 30-yards unchallenged, before beating Ling with ease and sending a powerful effort inches wide of Brill’s left hand post just before the 25 minute mark.

After a slow start, the game had started to open up after Whitely’s strike and this time it was Orient’s Ebou Adams’ turn to have a strike on goal, but his volleyed effort from the edge of the box flew wide of Ashmore’s post.

That effort was to be a sign of things to come as just after the half-hour mark, the O’s got back on level terms. Ling picked up the ball mid-way inside Ebbsfleet’s half before playing an incisive pass to release Brophy in the penalty area and his powerful effort from an angle was diverted past Ashmore by the unfortunate Clark to level the scores up.

But the O’s almost undone their good work as Ebbsfleet came close to re-taking the lead on the stroke of half-time as despite Orient’s appeals, Kedwell beat the offside trap and he ambitiously tried to lob the onrushing Brill, but his effort fortunately went just wide of the post.

After a half-time team talk from Justin Edinburgh, the O’s started the second half brightly with Ling and Brophy superbly combining down the left-flank once again, but the former Swindon Town man’s teasing low cross couldn’t be poked home by either Bonne or Holman. Seconds later and the O’s were inches away from taking the lead for the first time in the game, as Koroma’s free-kick from 25-yards went just wide of Ashmore’s right post, after Clay was bundled over.

Edinburgh made his first change just after the hour mark with David Mooney, fresh from scoring against Gateshead in mid-week, coming on in place of Holman up front. Meanwhile Ebbsfleet made three changes in quick succession with Jack Powell, Sean Shields and Chris Bush coming on for Sam Magri, Luke Coulson and Andy Drury.

Daryl McMahon’s men registered their first chance of the second half with 20 minutes to play, with Whitely meeting Connors’ cross with a glancing header which went wide of Brill’s right-hand post.

Lamar Reynolds was introduced with 15 minutes to play, replacing Koroma and the substitute almost made a telling contribution right at the death, as he laid the ball off to Brophy whose low strike from 20 yards went wide of the post.

But despite enjoying plenty of possession in the second half, the O’s struggled to create many clear cut opportunities and in the end, they had to be satisfied with a point.

Leyton Orient: Brill (GK), Caprice, Coulson ©, Elokobi, Ling, Koroma (Reynolds, 75), Clay, Adams, Brophy, Bonne, Holman (Mooney, 62).

Subs (Not Used) – Grainger, Ekpiteta, Harrold.

Ebbslfeet – Ashmore (GK), Magri (Bush, 60), Winfield ©, Clark, Connors, Coulson (Powell, 67), Payne, Rance, Drury (Shields, 54), Whitley, Kedwell.

Subs: Miles (GK), Wabo.

Referee – Christopher Pollard.

Attendance: 4,127 (546 Ebbsfleet fans)