Leyton Orient U18 4-2 Gillingham U18 1.3.14
Scott Kashkett caught the eye for Leyton Orient as his two goals helped secure a 4-2 victory over Gillingham in a lively encounter.
A frantic opening half that included two goals in a minute saw both sides share four goals before the O’s went on to secure a well-fought victory.
Orient attempted to take the game to their opponents from the offset, and with just three minutes gone they went ahead through Kashkett. Sam Ling moved forward before playing the ball back to Freddy Moncur, who sent in a great cross that Kashkett met with his head to direct past Tom Hadler.
However, before the home team could settle following taking the lead they were immediately pegged back, as Charlie Webster got away from Jack Humphrey in the area before jinking past Andys Nikolau and curling his left-footed effort beyond the reach of Ben Bridle-Card.
The O’s could conceivably have been 3-1 up with only a quarter of the game gone, as first Sinclaire Sandy could not find the target when well placed in the box, and then a wonderful move from Orient involving Jack Humphrey and Josh Uzun provided Kashkett with a glorious chance that was well saved by the feet of Hadler.
But from potentially being 3-1 ahead the hosts then found themselves behind on 18 minutes. Mitchell Dickinson found space in the middle of the park to play a cross-field pass to Michael Freiter on the right, who then nipped the ball round Nikolau and fired a dipping volley over Bridle-Card to make it 2-1.
Both sides then had good chances in quick succession from corners, with Nikolau initially heading Uzun’s delivery wide, while Bridle-Card then did well to hold onto Freiter’s flick at the near post.
Orient continued to attack with purpose, and they came extremely close to an equaliser on 35 minutes. Kashkett evaded a couple of challenges on the right before sending in a low cross that Uzun was inches away from connecting with.
But just three minutes later referee Wally James was pointing to the penalty spot in favour of the O’s when defender Dan Bent was adjudged to have pushed Sandy in the area. Uzun duly stepped up to send Hadler the wrong way, making it 2-2 and capping an exciting 45 minutes, as both teams entered the break on level terms.
Orient were somewhat slow in regrouping after half time and were nearly caught cold by a Gillingham break led by Mahlon Romeo on 49 minutes, who moved forward at pace before his cross-shot flashed across Bridle-Card’s goal.
Not long after they were again counting their luck, as Josh Staunton connected with Sam Muggleton’s corner, only to see his header bounce off the post.
The latest encounter seemed to act as a wake-up call to the home side, as with 53 minutes on the clock they went ahead for the second time in the match. Uzun’s floated corner screamed for an Orient player to meet it, and Ling duly obliged by emphatically heading his side into a 3-2 lead.
Orient’s defence still had to be wary when defending heading into the final 20 minutes, with Jack Sellens able to wriggle between Alex Finney and Humphrey, though his resulting shot was well saved by Bridle-Card.
But as the Gills pushed forward continually during injury time the O’s took advantage of the space afforded to them on the counter-attack to make the game safe. Substitute Jerome Martelli played in Kashkett down the right, and despite the temptation to wind down time the striker cut in onto his stronger left foot before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the far corner, sealing victory for Orient.
“Everyone really wanted to win today,” stated two-goal hero Kashkett after the game.
“Although we went behind in the match turning the result round showed good determination and hard work from the squad.
“I always aim to work hard and chase down loose balls, but it was nice to help the team’s cause with two goals.”
Orient: Ben Bridle-Card, Sam Ling, Jack Humphrey, Lawson Okameji, Alex Finney (C), Andis Nikolau (Kane Adams, 46), Freddy Moncur, Montel Ageymang, Sinclaire Sandy (Jerome Martelli, 83), Scott Kashkett, Josh Uzun. Subs not used: Nick Brown, Shola Oladipo
Goals: Kashkett (3, 90+4), Uzun (Pen 38), Ling (53)
Gillingham: Tom Hadler, Callum Emptage, Sam Muggleton, Josh Staunton (C), Dan Bent (Daniel Leonard, 60), Mitchell Dickinson, Mahlon Romeo, Aiden Blanchard, Jack Sellens (Sam Stewart, 75), Michael Freiter, Charlie Webster. Subs not used: Chris Hague, Jake O’Brien
Goals: Webster (4), Freiter (18)
Referee: Wally James