Colchester United fought back from two goals down to claim a point against Leyton Orient with both goals coming just moments from the full time whistle.
Goals from George Moncur and Ruel Sotiriou blasted the O’s into a two goal advantage – a lead that they would hold until almost the last kick of the game.
Connor Hall got his head to the ball at the near post for the first of two quick-fire goals as he coolly nodded past Vigouroux with eighty-nine on the clock.
And Noah Chilvers needed no invitation for the second, blasting in from all of twenty-five yards in stoppage time as the U’s claimed a point against Orient.
Ben Garner named a side with two changes from last weekend’s home defeat to Stockport County, with Connor Wood and Matt Jay missing from the starting eleven.
Wood was unable to play being on loan from Orient, while Jay dropped to the bench; Al-Amin Kazeem and Samson Tovide came in for their places.
Lining up in a more traditional flat back four, Kazeem and Chambers flanked the central defenders of Kelleher and Hall. Ossama Ashley was sitting just in front of the defenders, with an attacking three of Chilvers, Newby and Tchamadeu assisting the strike force of Tovide and Hopper.
A rainy East London saw a slow start to the game between the O’s and the U’s as both teams tried to adapt to the sodden playing conditions at Brisbane Road.
And the slippery surface didn’t help with a couple of early sliding challenges from either side. A hard challenge from Jayden Sweeney on Ossama Ashley riled up Luke Chambers to speak to the referee, but no foul was given.
But just a couple of minutes later, Tom Hopper was issued a yellow card for a very similar challenge on the touchline for a foul on Tom James, much to the displeasure of the U’s players.
On the half hour mark, the hosts were given a gilt-edged opportunity to take the lead after the officials deemed Fiacre Kelleher’s challenge on Paul Smyth a foul in the eighteen-yard box. Former Colchester midfielder George Moncur converted as Junior Tchamadeu was issued the second booking of the afternoon in protest to the penalty.
Shortly after, Ben Garner was also shown a yellow card after venting his frustrations at the officials throughout the first forty minutes.
Nevertheless, the U’s continued in the attempts to get back on level terms and were denied a penalty of their own after Samson Tovide was bundled over in the eighteen-yard box. The U’s man also took a boot to the head for his troubles as the officials waved play on, until they realised he was in a degree of pain from the kick.
A couple of half-chances preceded the end of the first forty-five, with the U’s hoping to come up with something in the second half against the league leaders.
Ben Garner made one change at half time with Kelleher replaced by Will Greenidge for the U’s with the hosts unchanged.
The U’s looked to hit back quickly as Ed Turns was booked shortly after half time for a foul on Samson Tovide. Alex Newby’s free kick was comfortably saved by Vigouroux, but it was an early sign of intent from the visitors.
Colchester soon created their best passing move of the afternoon. Junior Tchamadeu released Alex Newby in a three on two counter for the U’s, but Newby’s cross wasn’t powerful enough to reach an unmarked Tom Hopper at the back post.
Another change followed quickly with Al-Amin Kazeem withdrawn for Jayden Fevreir in an attacking move by Ben Garner for the final thirty minutes of play.
Matt Jay was introduced for Alex Newby five minutes later, but as soon as the U’s had made the change, they were chasing a two-goal deficit. Ruel Sotiriou got the second of the afternoon for the O’s driving into the penalty area before shooting low past O’Hara with just over twenty minutes to play.
Orient followed up with a trio of changes as Smyth, Moncur and El Mizouni were all replaced by Thompson, Clay and Sadlier, while the U’s made two further changes of their own with Hopper and Tovide off for Sears and Akinde.
Lawrence Vigouroux was booked with ten minutes to go for time wasting, but it was comfortable for the league leaders who made their final change of the afternoon moments later with the scorer of the second goal, Ruel Sotiriou replaced by Charlie Kelman.
But with just a minute of normal time to play, Ben Garner’s side bagged the first of two quick-fire strikes with Connor Hall looping a header over Lawrence Vigouroux from a corner.
It gave the U’s confidence to find another with Noah Chilvers taking aim from twenty-five yards, firing into the top corner of the net to bag an unlikely equaliser for his side in stoppage time.
The raucous U’s fans almost had another to celebrate with Matt Jay’s bobbling effort saved by Vigouroux on the line, with Connor Hall also needing to clear off the line before the full time whistle blew.
But Ben Garner got his first point as U’s manager courtesy of the late comeback, moving them to thirty-six for the season from thirty-seven games. Colchester now sit twenty-first in the standings with Tranmere Rovers up next at the JobServe Community Stadium in seven days’ time.
Leyton Orient starting XI: Vigouroux, James, Smyth (Thompson 71’), Sotiriou (Kelman 80’), Moncur (Sadlier 75’), El Mizouni (Clay 75’), Drinan, Pratley, Beckles, Sweeney, Turns.
Substitutes: Byrne, Ogie, Thompson, Clay, Brown, Kelman, Sadlier.
Colchester United starting XI: O’Hara, Chambers, Chilvers, Kelleher (Greenidge 46’), Ashley, Newby (Jay 67’), Tchamadeu, Hopper (Akinde 76’), Hall, Kazeem (Fevrier 63’), Tovide (Sears 76’).
Substitutes: Smith, Greenidge, Sears, Jay, Akinde, Marshall Miranda, Fevrier.