Reece Burke opened the scoring with his first goal in a black and amber shirt since joining the Club from West Ham United last summer, but the lead proved to be short-lived as Dale Gorman’s stunning free-kick ensured it was honours even at the break.
Keane Lewis-Potter deservedly restored the Tigers’ lead after a strong start to the second period only for Orient to level the scores once again through Josh Coulson’s emphatic close-range header.
First Half Line-Up: Ingram, McKenzie, Kingsley, Burke, Trialist, Ritson, Sheaf, Irvine (c), Bowen, Hamilton, Dicko.
The Tigers made a strong start and won an early corner as Jarrod Bowen’s shot was deflected behind, but a short routine failed to catch out the Orient defence.
Bowen was involved again as the Tigers threatened down the right twice in quick succession. The winger showed good strength to work his way into the box only to see his attempted pull-back go straight into the hands of Arthur Janata before seeing another effort after cutting inside deflected by the Orient defence.
McCann’s side continued to press and following neat link-up play involving Robbie McKenzie, Bowen and Tyler Hamilton, the latter saw a well-struck effort from outside the box gathered by Janata with nine minutes on the clock.
Orient’s first sight of goal came just a minute later as Ruel Sotiriou rifled a decent shot on target from distance but Matt Ingram was perfectly placed to make a comfortable save.
The O’s continued to assert themselves in the final third immediately afterwards with Conor Wilkinson seeing a well-executed chip from 20 yards well claimed by Ingram before McKenzie was called upon to block a fierce drive from Orient skipper Craig Clay.
But it was the Tigers who should have been ahead on 17 minutes. Stephen Kingsley’s free-kick from the left was cleared only as far as Jackson Irvine – who was wearing the captain’s armband in the first 45 – but the Australian was left frustrated as he sent his volley wide of the target when well-placed.
Another opportunity followed soon after for the skipper as he burst through the midfield but – with Nouha Dicko in support – Irvine opted to try and find the bottom corner with a low curler which was gathered in comfortable fashion by Janata.
After a glut of chances, the deadlock was finally broken on 24 minutes. Jarrod Bowen’s corner dropped invitingly for Reece Burke and the centre-back produced a fine finish on the turn to find the back of the net.
And it was almost 2-0 a minute later as Irvine showed great composure to slot the ball past Janata after being played in by Bowen’s superb through ball, but the Australian’s celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.
And it proved to be a key moment as the visitors were back on level terms just before the half-hour mark. Hamilton was adjudged to have fouled James Brophy 25 yards from goal and Dale Gorman found the top corner with a stunning strike the gave Ingram no chance whatsoever.
The Tigers reacted well to the disappointment of conceding with Kingsley and Irvine linking up well down the left flank. The Australian did well to drill a low cross into the box only to see his centre blocked by an outstretched leg before Dicko could pounce inside the six-yard box.
Ingram had to be alert to prevent Orient from taking a 39th-minute lead, producing a fine stop to keep out James Alabi’s low strike from ten yards.
In what was the final action of the opening 45 minutes, Dicko went to ground inside the box looking for a penalty after being shoved to the floor by Marvin Ekpiteta, only for the referee to be left unimpressed by the claims as the two teams went in level at the break.
Second Half Line-Up: Long, Lichaj (c), Fleming, Greaves, de Wijs, Stewart, Batty, Chadwick, Salam, Milinkovic, Lewis-Potter.
It took just three minutes for the Tigers to create the first opening after the restart. Ahmed Salam’s superb defence-splitting pass released fellow Academy graduate Keane Lewis-Potter, who was unlucky to see his effort deflected wide of the target after rounding the keeper.
Although the resulting corner was cleared by Orient, Batty immediately sent a delightful cross back into the danger zone which was met by the head of Jordy de Wijs – but the Dutchman could only guide his effort wide of the target.
McCann’s side continued to apply the early pressure in the second half and came close to retaking the lead on 52 minutes. Eric Lichaj’s low centre picked out an unmarked Salam, who was unfortunate to see his first-time effort saved by Sam Sargeant.
Salam – looking lively in a wide right role – fired a half volley wide from distance before the Tigers did manage to regain the lead two minutes before the hour mark. And it was a goal made and finished by Academy products as Brandon Fleming’s cross from the left was neatly finished by Lewis-Potter from close-range.
The visitors immediately carved out on opening following the restart as they went in search of an equaliser with Lee Angol found all alone in space inside the box. However, George Long came to the rescue with an outstanding save to preserve the Tigers’ lead – even though it wouldn’t have counted had it gone with the assistant’s flag raised for offside against the Orient man.
The equaliser wasn’t long in coming though as Josh Coulson powered home an emphatic header from Jordan Maguire-Drew’s corner kick from the Orient right on 68 minutes.
A scrappy period followed with neither side creating any real openings until Fleming produced a timely block twelve minutes from time to prevent Sotiriou’s effort – after the Orient man had shown quick feet to work his way into the Tigers’ box – from testing Long.
David Milinkovic shot high and wide before more Tigers pressure saw McCann’s men threaten to grab a third goal. Milinkovic saw his effort from inside the box blocked with the loose ball falling to Stewart, who showed a neat touch before drilling a low shot – which almost turned into the perfect pass for Salam – wide of Sargeant’s goal.
Batty was off target with a low drive as the friendly fixture entered its final five minutes with what proved to be the final opportunity for either side with the scoreline ending all square.