Leyton Orient 0-0 Hartlepool United: Pools battle for point in feisty affair against ten-man Orient
Hartlepool United claimed a well-earned point courtesy of a resilient display at much-fancied Leyton Orient.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in a heated encounter in which the main talking point was the dismissal of Leyton Orient's Joe Widdowson for a reckless challenge on Michael Woods.
Despite being a man lighter, Orient still looked the more likely to score and Pools were ultimately thankful to Scott Loach for several fine saves to secure them a point.
Matthew Bates named an unchanged side from that which beat Boreham Wood, while there was a return to the bench for Conor Newton.
Pools started brightly and the first chance of the game fell to Niko Muir, who fired narrowly over from 20 yards after finding some space on the edge of the area.
But the hosts - who had lost only once all season - grew into the game and started to dominate, although they failed to test Scott Loach in the opening 45 minutes.
The lively James Dayton twice tried his luck from distance to no avail before top scorer Macauley Bonne drilled wide after being played into the area.
And it was Orient who had the best chance of the first half when James Brophy nipped in to to steal the ball from Peter Kioso and surged forward before finding Bonne - the striker then teeing up Craig Clay whose curled shot was narrowly too high.
The O's continued to push forward after the break, with James Alabi inches away from connecting with a Brophy centre - but then came the game's big turning point.
In a moment of sheer stupidity, Widdowson lunged into a late tackle on Pools midfielder Woods and was rightfully given his marching orders.
And Pools came close to making their man advantage count moments later, when Carl Magnay nodded a corner across goal with neither Kioso nor Andrew Davies able to hook it home.
Orient, though, were still creating with the evergreen Jobi McAnuff curling a free-kick just wide of the post before Alabi sprung the offside trap and forced Loach into a fine stop.
Loach had to be alert again in the dying stages - first ensuring a Brophy shot went wide of the near post before then somehow denying Alabi from point blank range.
And after dealing with the pressure, Pools could have snatched the win in injury time - substitute Marcus Dinanga seeing a long-range effort parried before Conor Netwon struck the post from a tight angle.
But a point was sufficient for Pools, who more than matched one of the division's title favourites.
Pools XI: Loach; Magnay, Kioso, Davies; Kitching, Noble (Newton 88), Featherstone, Woods (Hawkes 81), Donaldson; Muir James (Dinanga 83)
Subs: Hawkins, Richardson
Yellow: Kioso 25, Woods 63, Davies 75
Leyton Orient: Dean Brill, Myles Judd (Sam Ling 72), Josh Coulson, Marvin Ekpiteta, Joe Widdowson, Jobi McAnuff, Craig Clag, James Brophy (Josh Koroma 72), James Dayton (Matt Harrold 80), Macauley Bonne, James Alabi
Subs: Sam Sargeant, Alex Lawless
Yellow: Judd 50, Dayton 57, McAnuff 65
Red: Widdowson 58
Referee: Adrian Quelch - Didn't let much go in the early stages and inconsistent throughout. Got the red card decision spot on but failed to cope when the game got heated. Far from the worst in the league, but left much to be desired...4
Attendance: 6877 (594 away)