Youth Alliance Cup
Northampton Town U18 1 – 1 Leyton Orient U18
Leyton Orient U18’s earned a creditable 1-1 draw at Northampton Town in their opening Football League Youth Alliance Cup fixture. Christian Owusu hit a superb equaliser on the stroke of half time to cancel out Ryan Cooke’s opener for the home side and ensured Orient opened their campaign in the competition with a point.
The O’s were quick to assert themselves against their opponents as they looked to demonstrate the same amount of commitment shown in their previous game against Colchester United. Orient were also able to welcome back Alex Finney from injury, and he was up to task when called upon along with the remainder of the defence early on.
With a third of the game gone the visitors continued to enjoy good possession, with only the final ball lacking. But with 40 minutes on the clock Northampton took the lead from one of their few attacks during the opening half. Kieran Fitzgerald did well to control a long ball played up to him before finding Cooke, and the midfielder was able to nip the ball ahead of Sam Ling before bearing down on goal and firing past Charlie Grainger.
Yet Orient’s response was not long in waiting, as just three minutes later they were on level terms through the impressive Owusu. After the striker was picked out on the edge of the area by Freddy Moncur he wonderfully conjured something from nothing, first working the ball onto his right foot before dispatching an unstoppable 20-yard shot past Ben Heath.
The opening ten minutes of the second half saw both sides push forward. A good period of passing for Orient resulted in Lawson Okameji shooting from range, but his shot failed to test Heath. Moments later Cooke again surged forward from midfield, but his rising shot was easily gathered by Grainger in goal.
As the game progressed the O’s looked the more likely scorers, with Ling calling Heath into action during the 78th minute after more sustained passing from Orient. And with just five minutes left Elyon Egbeku showed good power and strength to escape from Sam Warburton on the right before pulling the ball back for an on-rushing Moncur, but the midfielder’s shot lacked sufficient power, making it a comfortable save for Heath.
There was still one more chance for Orient in stoppage time when Jack Humphrey rose highest to meet Moncur’s corner, but he was unable to direct his header on target as the O’s were forced to settle for a point.
Defender Humphrey was upbeat in his thoughts after the conclusion of the game.
“We were very organised today, and it was encouraging to get a positive result,” he noted. “I think that now we have got a good result we can go on a good run.”
Orient’s next game in the Cup sees them play host to Luton Town on September 28.
Orient: Charlie Grainger (C), Sam Ling, Kevin Kwarteng (Kane Adams – 79), Alex Finney, Jack Humphrey, Lawson Okameji, Sinclaire Sandy (Bradwin Kobi – 67), Freddy Moncur, Elyon Egbeku, Christian Owusu, Shola Oladipo (Robert Mehsah – 55). Subs not used: Ben Bridle-Card
Goal: Owusu (43)
Northampton Town: Ben Heath, Tyler Reeve, Sam Warburton, Richard Parker, Ben Jackson, Connor Roberts (C), Ryan Cooke, Danny Clifton, Kieran Fitzgerald, Dodzi Agbenu, Merdy Maki. Subs not used: Ryan Marsden, Brendan Brown, Tom Carroll, Jack Dowle, Matty Foster
Goal: Cooke (40)