Leyton Orient U18’s were able to fend off a late fightback from Dagenham and Redbridge to prevail 3-2 winners at Spurs Lodge. An own goal from Daniel Rumens and fellow strikes from Jerome Martelli and Elyon Egbeku helped secure a derby victory for the O’s.
Manager Andy Edwards was forced into a number of changes from the team that beat Luton Town in their previous game, and he would have been encouraged to see his side settle early. The visitors created their opening chance in the ninth minute when a Josh Uzun free kick dropped into the path of Shola Oladipo, but his volley flashed wide of the target.
However, Dagenham did not heed the early warning from Orient, as just four minutes later the O’s found themselves in front. Sinclaire Sandy escaped the clutches of Omari Walker as he drove to the by-line, and his dangerous low cross was diverted into his own net by Rumens.
Orient were watched on by first-team assistant manager Kevin Nugent, and the move that accompanied the away side’s second goal on 29 minutes will more than likely have left him impressed. Winger Sandy showed good awareness to pick out the overlapping run of Uzun, and his cross was met by Martelli, who rose highest to dispatch a thumping header past Gines Guzman and double Orient’s lead.
The O’s appeared comfortable at this moment in time, but they were entitled to feel aggrieved in the 34th minute. Despite defender Andis Nikolau down with injury, play was waived on and Dagenham took full advantage. Harrison Tweddell fed Jon Nouble, and the striker remained composed to round Ben Bridle-Card and slot home, as the hosts halved the deficit going into half time.
Orient remained disciplined as they withstood some pressure from Dagenham at the restart, as the defence dealt well with Nouble’s inviting cross, while Nathan Ferguson’s 55th minute free kick flew inches wide of the target.
The O’s continued to look dangerous in their own right, as first Nikolau came close from Uzun’s free kick, and then the latter linked well with Egbeku before sending a superb cross into the box that cried for an Orient player to make contact with.
With 12 minutes remaining Orient appeared to make the game safe, as they went 3-1 up. A surging run and shot from Martelli forced Guzman to concede a corner, and from the resulting set-piece Egbeku produced a nonchalant flick with his right boot to beat the Dagenham keeper at his near post for his third goal in as many games.
Yet in the 89th minute the Daggers gave themselves some hope when a looping ball appeared to be making its way through to Bridle-Card, but a mix-up between the Orient stopper and Sam Ling allowed Jordan Sidhu to rob the ball and finish into an empty net to make it 3-2 and provide a grandstand finish.
But with little time left the O’s were able to see the game out as they recorded a third successive win.
“I’m very pleased with result today, especially our performance in the first half,” noted Edwards after the game. “We perhaps didn’t play to our full potential during the second half as we took our foot off the gas a little, but we showed character to see out the result.”
Orient: Ben Bridle-Card, Josh Uzun, Sam Ling, Andis Nikolau, Kane Adams, Lawson Okameji (C), Montel Ageymang (Nick Brown, 80), Sinclaire Sandy, Shola Oladipo (Freddy Moncur, 58), Jerome Martelli (Christian Owusu, 80), Elyon Egbeku. Subs not used: Myles Judd
Goals: Rumens OG (13), Martelli (29), Egbeku (78)
Dagenham & Redbridge: Gines Guzman, Charlie Yexley, Omari Walker, Kurtis Pykes (C) (Tyler Bolton, 76), Montana Stewart, Daniel Rumens, Jordan Sidhu, Nathan Ferguson, Jon Nouble, Lee Hursit (Ayo Olukoga, 52), Harrison Tweddell (Mason Bloomfield, 63). Subs not used: Tristan Martinsen, Lewis Clark
Goals: Nouble (34), Sidhu (89)