A double from Josh Uzun helped Leyton Orient U18’s record a 3-1 home victory over Luton Town in their Youth Alliance Cup tie. Uzun’s display caught the eye as he struck in either half to add to an Elyon Egbeku penalty as Orient recorded their second successive win.
The O’s were looking to avenge their 3-1 league defeat from when the sides had last met and were presented with a golden opportunity as early as the eighth minute after referee John Nazari awarded them a penalty. Striker Egbeku’s run into the box had been ended prematurely by Luton defender Ben Crilley after the defender tripped his opponent, and the same player remained composed to send Craig King the wrong way and give Orient the lead with his fourth goal of the season.
The hosts continued with their superiority as Alex Finney forced King into action with his header from Uzun’s corner moments later.
The early pressure from Orient was rewarded further in the 17th minute as Uzun doubled their advantage after a flowing team move. Montel Ageymang’s searching pass found Sinclaire Sandy, who then skipped past Lucas Perry before picking out the late run of Uzun, who slotted his shot past King to give the O’s a 2-0 lead their early performance more than merited.
The trio of Egbeku, Sandy and Uzun continued to cause problems for Luton, though the visitors nearly halved the defecit before half time after Daril Ngwala took advantage of some hesitancy from Finney, but his attempted lob could only land on the roof of the net.
The resumption of play after the half time interval saw the home side make a sluggish start as they conceded a goal just five minutes in. Orient’s defence failed to clear their lines and they were punished when Ngwala crossed for Jemale McKenzie-Lowe, and the striker directed his shot past Charlie Grianger.
Yet it didn’t take long for the O’s to restore their two-goal advantage, as just nine minutes later Uzun was again on target to make it 3-1. The midfielder reacted well after Ageymang’s shot had been blocked to round goalkeeper King and fire into an empty net.
The Hatters pushed forward in search of a route back into the game and McKenzie-Lowe forced Grainger into a wonderful instinctive save in the 65th minute. Orient continued to look dangerous in attack, with Andis Nikolau firing over from close range as another set-piece caused problems for Luton.
There was still one more opportunity for the O’s to give the score line a more emphatic look after Egbeku surged into the box after another mazy run, but he was unable to get the better of King who saved well to deny the Orient attacker, though Orient did not have to wait much longer before their victory was confirmed.
“We carried on today with the level of performance we showed last week against Wimbledon,” said midfielder Ageymang after the game. “To beat a side today that we lost to earlier in the season definitely shows the recent improvement within the team.”
Orient: Charlie Grainger (C), Sam Ling, Alex Finney, Andis Nikolau, Jack Humphrey (Kane Adams – 77), Lawson Okameji, Montel Ageymang, Freddy Moncur (Shola Oladipo – 75), Josh Uzun (Christian Owusu – 75), Sinclaire Sandy, Elyon Egbeku. Subs not used: Robert Mensah
Goals: Egbeku (8’ Pen), Uzun (17, 59)
Luton Town: Craig King, Ben Crilley, Lucas Perry, Ian Rees, Tinashe Chabata, Harry Tampling, Arel Amu, Charlie Smith (C) (Sam Alderson – 45), Jemale McKenzie-Lowe, Dairl Ngwala, Osamu Allman (Tuki Tayal – 81). Subs not used: Ekene Amadi, Lee Hawkes, Ben Barnes
Goal: McKenzie-Lowe (50)