Leyton Orient U18 4 – 3 Milton Keynes Dons U18
FL Youth Alliance SE Conference
ORIENT ended the first phase of their league season with a bang, coming back from 3-0 down to defeat MK Dons 4-3 on Saturday.
Andy Edwards’ team now head into a month of cup action and they have plenty to take from their first seven games of the campaign as the three points gained against the Dons took them back to the head of the table.
It didn’t look as though it would end up that way when the Dons swept into a three-goal lead inside 35 minutes, but Rob Nash’s penalty on the stroke of half time got the fightback started and Orient took over in the second period.
Orient were the first to threaten when Josh Uzun nicked the ball off a defender and made his way towards goal, with his shot striking the post and bouncing to safety.
Joe Foley also went close with a shot into the side netting, but Milton Keynes began to edge on to the front foot as Orient struggled to cope with their fluid system.
The first goal came with 25 minutes on the clock, and the addition of two more within the next ten minutes very quickly put them in a commanding position.
The hosts could easily have folded, but instead their resolve was strengthened and a foul on Andis Nikolaou from a Harry Lee corner led to the spot kick which got them going.
Nash converted his second penalty of the season and Orient emerged for the second half re-energised.
Andy Edwards’ side were playing at a higher tempo, winning the ball back higher up the pitch and pressing the Dons well.
It was 3-2 just four minutes after the restart when they won a free kick near the corner flag, and Lee delivered for Lawson Okimeji to power a header home.
Ten minutes later it was back level when the ball was played into Sinclaire Sandy on the edge of the box. He set it off to the side for Nash, and his finish was unerring.
The goal rush continued with Orient moving in front with 65 minutes played. Uzun provided the cross, Joe Foley chested down and fired into the bottom corner with his left foot to complete a remarkable comeback.
The only surprise was that, with 25 minutes left to play, there were no further goals – although it wasn’t for the lack of trying as Nash was denied his hat trick by a good save, while O’s keeper Luke Bartlett was also called into action to preserve the advantage.
Edwards said: “It was a good way to end the first section of the league season. Their position in the league is great credit to the boys.
“We’ve played good football at times and displayed excellent application with a never-say-die attitude which has been clear in the games we have come from behind in.
“It’s given us a platform to build on and that’s what we’ll be looking to do in the coming months.”
Orient: Luke Bartlett; De’Reece Vanderhyde, Sean Grace, Andis Nikolaou, Kevin Kwarteng; Josh Uzun, Rob Nash, Harry Lee, Lawson Okimeji, Joe Foley; Sinclaire Sandy